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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Roy, May 26, 2008.
Any thoughts on improving the speed of single tonguing?
A chance to bring back my old tonguing speed thread!
It is limitless.
In the 30's Louis Armstrong was timed (with the old fashioned method) at the speed of 13.4 single tongues per second. (STPS). He was timed at the then amazing speed of 22.2 double tongues per second. (DTPS)
As time and tenchiniques progressed, so to speed increased. By 1941 Harry James had improved upon the speed to 15.1 STPS and 23.9 DTSP respectively.
In the fifties Rafael Mendez set a record which stood for quite a long time.
Although some people thought he should not have been allowed to hold the record due to the unfair advantage of speaking a very fast paced language,(Mexican Spanish) he was finally allowed to offcially hold the record of 18.3 STPS and the then thought of impossible to reach 26 DTPS. (Most knowlegable people thought the 25 DTPS barrier would be impossible to break.
This record was unbroken until the early 1990's when Wyton Marsalis shattered both ends of the record.
At a special session just for the purpose of breaking the record Wynton played his way ito the history books. He single tongued has an amazing speed of 22 STPS!!! His double tongue speed was recorded at 27.4 DTPS!!!.
At the awards banquet 3 days later Wynton expressed relief that the elusive records were finally his and that he could get back to his number one love of "Just making beautiful music on the world's greatest trumpet".
He confessed that he did spend a lot of time working on his patented "Tongue in Cheek" method in which in between tongue attacks the back section of the tongue would hit the sides of hid cheeks setting up sympathetic vibrations in the oral cavity which would send another blast of air toward the lips. This would increase the speed of the tongue and give it a much faster response time. Somewhat like having a car drafting you in a race which would increase your speed.
As players become bigger and better in shape, expect even Wynton's records to fall eventually. The techniques out there are just to good to have records stay for any great length of time again. Wyton will not pursue the record again. "I have nothing to prove to anyone" he is quoted as saying. "There will always be some tongue fighter looking to make a reputation, let him make it somewhere else, I'm done with this" Marsalis added, still tongue tied after three days of rest.
Look for the record to be bested... but not anytime soon.
As a side note, some mouthpiece manufactuers are developing equipment to help in the need for speed.
The Callet company is doing R&D to see if his double cup mouthpieces will increase the speed. The thinking is that by employing the through the teeth and lips method, in a double cup, you will actually hit both cups with one stroke, thereby actually doubling the speed. The Rules and Records Commitee is looking into this, but will most likely rule against the use of double cup mouthpieces as a legal way of setting a record.
Aside from that interesting tangent...
I'd recommend a metronome and clarke exercises. Start with being able to completely control it (find the fasted tempo you can) and bring up the metronome tick by tick.
I'd be curious to hear the recording of these... records...
I think if you're looking for a tried and true approach, see the forward in Gekker's Articulation Studies book. I could elaborate, but no need to paraphrase. As for my two sense, I think maintaining the same sound quality that you have in a comfortable tempo throughout the increase of speed is the key. We can try really hard to tongue faster, but the truth is, everything works the most efficiently when it's relaxed. Pushing the tempo too much will create excess tension in the tongue and thus mess with the air-stream, which we are trying to do as little as possible when tonguing quickly.
Taught to me by Jeff Luke of the Utah Symphony -
your tongue is a muscle that simply gets tired. Most of us can single tongue a few notes very fast, but then we slow down, so it's simply a matter of building endurance. I thought I was the recipient of bad genes and my single tongue was simply meant to be slow my entire life, until I tried this easy fix:
take 5 minutes a day on a middle G. Single tongue at YOUR fastest speed for 30 counts. This may even be MM = 84 (like it was for me). Remember - for 30 counts. Repeat this once or twice that day, and then continue this process over the next days and weeks.
You should notice improvement almost within a week. Keep going, gradually increasing the speed ONLY when you can keep it going for 30 counts.
I did this and got past 120, which was a fine benchmark, knowing that above that, I always had double-tongue to cover faster stuff.
I know this is an older post but I was looking at single tounging posts and I thought your post was interesting my qubestion is when you say 30 times do you mean 5 -16th notes. ? or play 30 16th notes with a metronome counting off 84 bpm. Thank you Anthony
Just let me know when you can play Entry of the Gladiators by Julius Fucik as is the clown entry theme at the Ringling Brothers - Barnum and Bailey Circus. I played it first on trumpet in high school and have since played it on multi-brass in my comeback.
It is impossible to recommend a method without knowing how a player currently plays. How they twist their face, tongue, body all affect WHAT and IF anything is possible. Just picking a method and running with it is pretty futile most of the time.
I start beginners with double tonguing in the 3rd or 4th lesson. That gets the tongue loose and helps prevent bad embouchure/oral technique for playing higher notes. Then single tonguing becomes very easy.