Lighter Articulation?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Meldog, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. Meldog

    Meldog Pianissimo User

    Nov 24, 2004
    Blaine, ME
    I have been doing a ton of recording of myself for personal gain and have notice my otnguing is very heavy even though I am trying to keep it light. I have a complete aural concept of how I would like it to sound but I'm having trouble obtaining it. It is just very heavy and thumpy, if that's even a I'm doing the Haydn this fall with an orchestra and I want the articulations real light with a nice ping ont he front of each note, that needs it. I'm just wondering what are osme things I can do to achieve this. It occurs on all of my tonguing, single, double, triple so I know the root of my problem is the single tonguing. I'm sure once I can fix that the other tonguings will begin to clean up also. I've also been playing a lot of cornet solos and just on everyhting it is so heavy. Thanks for any advice!!

    Adam W. Metzler
  2. butxifxnot

    butxifxnot Pianissimo User

    Jul 10, 2004
    I wouldn't've responded but for the "Thanks for any advice" invitation, so here's my take:

    I consider my tonguing to be fairly relaxed in general (ie light as well), otherwise I would've waited for other people to answer before opening my mouth. :D

    The worst thing you can do when tonguing when you want to play light is to tongue in the middle of the teeth (the opening). The "too" tonguing will be very heavy. When I tongue (I don't think about it too much, but) I think "tew tew" in the traditional fashion of Arban. :-) It might feel in your mind like you are saying "tah" or "tee" depending on what various instructors may have instilled in your mind as being preferred, but the syllable is "tew". For me, the tongue hits [edit]I shouldn't say 'hit' as much as it is a disturbance in the airflow which happens at the point of contact or near-contact, whichever the case may be[/edit] the roof of the mouth just before the upper teeth. As for the double tonguing etc, the syllables are "tee kee" like a flute player would do. The front tonguing should be (nearly) the same, and the "kee" should already be pretty light.

    Hope this helps, though you might also want to hear some older ;-) advice as well.
  3. butxifxnot

    butxifxnot Pianissimo User

    Jul 10, 2004
    Fine. Be that way. :lol:
  4. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    I attended a class with Jim West at the ITG Conference in Denver two summers ago. His ideas about articulation may be helpful to you.

    Articulation Concepts

    This was the highlight of the session for me. Mr. West gave a great description of his concepts and I have found a great improvement in my own playing after considering these ideas.

    Articulation is an interruption of the air stream. Consider a free flowing stream of water coming from a faucet. Passing your hand quickly through the water interrupts the stream. However, this movement is very large and inefficient. By lightly touching the side of the stream of water with the side of one finger, similar results are produced, but for much less effort. This is an illustration that I had heard about before, but not the idea about using only the side of one finger (that paints a strong mental image for me).

    Now he applied this concept to a tangible example that really worked for me. When articulating half notes at a slow tempo (say quarter equals 60 BPM), consider how much movement you are currently using. Is it similar to your entire hand passing through the stream of water? Try to minimize this movement to get the same sound, but with significantly reduced effort (the side of the finger brushing against the stream of water). This shorter stroke distance is more efficient which is highly repeatable. By focusing on minimizing movement, and increased repeatability, you are actually working on increased tonguing velocity.

    When I applied this to my own practice, I very quickly broke through a plateau that I have not been able to move through with my single tonguing speed. I like it when I get immediate results from a very simple concept!

    In response to my summary of his presentation, Jim West commented with this message:
    Good luck!
  5. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN

    My current instructor was a student of both James Stamp and Mario Guarnerri. They were both big on articulation, as well as the concept of sound in general. (I'm being "granfathered in," boo-yah) I'm currently working on the Goedicke Concert Etude as part of an audition tape, and this piece is big on light articulation. In fact, the articulation is what makes this piece. So, I'm also working on improving my light articulations.

    Turn on your water faucet. Full blast. Now, move your hand through it. The water is interrupted a bit, but the water continually flows. Think of your air and tongue like this. The tongue should not get into the way, be set too high when you play.

    Okay, first thing first. Play though a piece you notice you sound "TUBBY" playing. Stop after you start getting FUDGY and MUDDY, and go back. Now, slur the piece to that point. Any repeated notes, play as one continuous note. You will notice you try and manipulate the air at some points with your throat, or you may make other mistakes. Make a note of this, go back, and do it again until this is perfect.

    When we rely on the tongue to do too much, we also start relying on the throat to help squeeze for us. Your problem with tubby articulation is your tongue being placed to high to start, the throat forcing the air out to make the tongue react. You're blowing at the tongue, not through the horn.


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