Double Tounging - I've been trying for years.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JoSkelker, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. JoSkelker

    JoSkelker New Friend

    Mar 26, 2012
    Hi All,

    I was wondering if anyone here had any ideas.
    For the last ten years I've been trying to sort out my double (and triple) tonguing. Every day I practise various exercises in the Arban book and Groth's book.

    I've tried just practising the ka/ga, playing scales on it, exercises and various other things. I can go ta-ka-ta-ka without the trumpet for hours on end.

    I can just about double tongue on a single note for a bar or two, if I try changing note it all goes horribly wrong. Sometimes it feels like the ka is blocking the air too much so I try blowing through it more, however, it hasn't really helped at all. It seems to have stumped my teacher as well.

    I'm at a stage now where it is a real problem for my playing, excerpts such as the opening to Mahler 5 or Ravel's Piano Concerto are simply impossible.

    Any ideas anyone?

  2. LH123

    LH123 Piano User

    May 14, 2010
    I would suggest working on the 'k' articulation separately. K-tongue on a single note, scales, Clarke studies, etc. Having a developed 'k' articulation will make multiple tonguing far easier.
  3. JoSkelker

    JoSkelker New Friend

    Mar 26, 2012
    Thanks for the reply. I've tried that, I often play the opening exercises in Arban, and occasionally some of the Clarke with just K. Of course I'll keep trying!
  4. dangeorges

    dangeorges Pianissimo User

    Oct 20, 2010
    Here's what I try to convey to my students:

    Try to "fall through" the "ta-ka-ta-ka" phrases. In other words, keep the air moving - don't treat each syllable separately. Push through the phrase.
    Start with short (four-note) phrases, and work on adding more until you can do it for as many notes as you need.

    If you treat each syllable on its own, you'll never make it. You must really push the air through (constant air, that is).

    Try it and let me know how it goes.

  5. JoSkelker

    JoSkelker New Friend

    Mar 26, 2012
    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the tip, that's generally how I try and think about it, in terms of phrases rather than individual notes. I'll try doing it more consciously and see if it helps.

  6. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    After playing more than 40 years a health condition forced me to re-learn how to double-tongue. Quite simply, my tongue just couldn't move like it used to. I had always used the ta-ka syllables, and that just wasn't working. After realizing that Arban actually taught tu-ku I tried it--and it worked. It's not as crisp as it once was and never will be again, but it works--and I can get through the stuff I have to as long as I don't fall back into the ta-ka pattern. (Old habits die hard.) Synchronizing your tongue and your fingers is tough, I regularly play scales slowly double and triple tonguing gradually getting faster and faster--seems to help keeping everything working together.
  7. JoSkelker

    JoSkelker New Friend

    Mar 26, 2012
    Yeah, I've noticed that I use a very different part of my tongue to produce 'ku' instead of 'ka', I was eventually aiming to have both at my disposal as obviously they produce different articulations. However, I'm prepared to focus on 'ku' for a bit if it will help get things started!

  8. krmanning

    krmanning Pianissimo User

    Apr 18, 2009
    Fayetteville, NC
    I am just getting to the point where I am not afraid of double tonguing, but it has been a difficult trick for me, too. I can sit in the car with no mouthpiece going tu-ku-tu-ku...all day long. But try doing it with real music is another matter all together.

    The two points which seem to get me in trouble are lack of air flow and coordinating my fingers and tongue. My friend/teacher/guru notices that when I struggle, I seem to choke off the air, particularly on the -ku- syllable. It is important to keep the air flow up to help initiate the next note on time.

    Coordination for me has been a matter of working with a metronome over and over on the same trouble spots. Start slowly, repeat until I master it, then take it up a notch. Eventually I can get almost anything reasonable up to speed. Usually...not always.

    Oh, bother.
  9. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    Try not to spit the notes out. I get my best results when I use a sort of hardened duh-guh. It seems to come out cleaner and crisper than anything starting with a "t". Also, you can soften the duh-guh to a legato double- and triple-tongue. I did learn long ago, however, that one's tongue can be really different from someone else's, so what works for one may be a hindrance to another. I had a teacher who insisted that I use the very tip of my tongue so that my tongueing would be as crisp as his, but all I ever produced was fuzzy attacks with that technique. On the suggestion of a friend of mine, I changed to a different part of my tongue, a little bit further back. At my next lesson, my teacher complimented me on finally mastering his technique. When I told him how I achieved my success, he sort of frowned. That was my last lesson with him; he dropped me as a student. He apparently suffered from NIH (Not Invented Here).
  10. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    Sometimes playing legatto helps ... it helps with keeping the air flowing and not choking off the note. Once you get the knack you can put some more edge on it. It also helps keep the tension down so you don't get tongue tied.

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