Articulation / Tonguing Help Needed

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by misty.sj, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. misty.sj

    misty.sj Forte User

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    Brisbane, Australia
    I'm reading Jean Pocius' Trumpeting By Nature, as some will remember. It is bringing up all kinds of things for me to work on. The one I am concerned with right now is tonguing. I've never been happy with it, but nobody really showed me much about it.

    So when I tongue, I use the 'ta' sound against that ridge where my hard palate ends. My tongue has to go a long way to get back down where it's not blocking the air anymore, and for that reason (I am realizing) I can't tongue very fast. Also it almost always has a sloppy sound.

    So I am trying to adopt the 'between the teeth' tonguing style of using the 'th' sound. I seem to have the motion down OK, until I put the horn to my face. Then it's really hard to do it this way! My tongue just doesn't have a clear idea where to go!

    Also I have been playing around with having the tip of the tongue resting on the back of the bottom lip, ostensibly for support. It just seems to get in the way!

    I'm beginning to suspect that this is not something to undertake without the guidance of a teacher. Finding a teacher in the very rural area where I am is a problem. I don't want to do this incorrectly though.

    So I'm here for advice!


    Sincefsdf
     
  2. Firestas'1

    Firestas'1 Piano User

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    Dec 21, 2006
    New Jersey
    Misty,
    when I tongue, I find that my tounge touches the ridge you refer to but not the tip of my tongue, rather about 1/4 back from the tip while the tip of my tongue kind of "floats" just behind my bottom teeth.
    I think some people call this K-tongue modified".
    Look up Eric Bolvin's website, ::: Eric Bolvin Music Studios - Music and Trumpet Stuff::: , he has an online lesson regarding this.
    Keep trying, and good luck.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2008
  3. misty.sj

    misty.sj Forte User

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    I watched his video. I understand the K-tonguing but he presents it as only an exercise. Then he starts talking about K-tongue modified, and I don't get it. Is it just that he uses the arch of his tongue instead of the tip? I need to watch it again with horn in hand, I think. Or can I do this with the mpc too? He seems to be saying "Don't use the K-tongue in real life because it sounds bad".
     
  4. Firestas'1

    Firestas'1 Piano User

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    Dec 21, 2006
    New Jersey
    That is kind of what he says but I think he means it sounds bad until you get the hang of it.
    Anyway, the way I do it is kind of arch my tongue while the tip floats behind my bottom teeth, I get a pretty clear tu (tooh) sound. Try to keep it light, if you really try to hit it like a ton of bricks it won't work.
     
  5. oldlips48

    oldlips48 Piano User

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    Mar 1, 2007
    Hi Misty,

    I go along with Firestas'1. Lower register notes I'll tongue with the tip of my tongue touching the roof of my mouth (as you explained in an earlier post). As I move up in the register and the tip of my tongue is touching my lower teeth and supporting my lower lip, I'll arch the middle of my tongue to the roof of my mouth.

    I'm not a real big fan of the "th" style of tonguing, putting the tongue between the lips. It's too easy to hit it hard and get that "blat" sound.

    Think about tonguing as simply interrupting the flow of air. You don't want to "stick your finger in the water hose", but rather "pass you finger through the flow of water."

    Wow, that last part sounds like an old episode of "Kung Fu". :D
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Before I start my students on articulation, I make sure that the air is flowing properly! The tongue is generally instant death to airflow if the rest is not together. Once my circle of breath works, we add only enough tongue to interrupt the airflow. I have never spent any time on where the tongue lands as I believe that many ways work equally well. Once the most natural way is working properly, then we can experiment with alternative articulation. Just as in speech, we need many variations to become "articulate". No baby starts with thinking about what vowels are necessary, they start with imitation - and what comes naturally.

    Get your air together, then add your present tonguing as lightly as possible. Make that a habit (that means stick with it for a LONG while). Then add variations.

    My 10 cents!
     
  7. misty.sj

    misty.sj Forte User

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    Wow 10 cents, must be inlation!

    So what is this 'circle of breath' of which you speak? What is a good way to know if my breathing is 'together'? I believe that I understand proper breathing, from my days playing French horn (which takes a lot of air), but I have been wrong before. I have good posture when I play, and I never feel lie I run out of air too early.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Misty,
    here is my take on breathing!

    come back player problems - TrumpetMaster

    If you use the search function here and enter circle and look for ROWUK, you will find additional details. I am a great advocate of the KISS principle. That means automate the easy stuff so we don't waste intellect on non-musical things!
     
  9. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Levittown , NY
    I keep my tongue flat on the bottom of my mouth and think of flicking the tip against the back of my top teeth and use the tongue as a valve which release`s the air or note instead trying to strike the note this use`s less tongue movement with more speed .
     
  10. trumpetlore

    trumpetlore Pianissimo User

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    Misty,
    I've struggled with this a lot as well. In my lessons with Thompson, he broke it down to engineering design.

    to design a valve where the tongue moves from the bottom of the mouth, to the ridge of the hard palate (or where the gums meet the teeth) uses more energy to interrupt the airflow than necessary. An engineer designing a system like this would design the valve(tongue) to interrupt the flow as little as necessary. this would be the "th" technique between the teeth. This keeps as little of the tongue interrupting the airflow as possible.
    This said, I also agree with rowuk. Find out what works naturally for you, and if it works well...(aka, if it ain't broke, don't fix it)

    .2 cents from me, 1.8 from Thompson.
     

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