Trumpet Discussion Discuss tounging in the General forums; So I was practicing today (as one does with the trumpet). When I realized that my tounge was not specifically ...
Mezzo Piano User
So I was practicing today (as one does with the trumpet). When I realized that my tounge was not specifically being used in one place.
I am embarassed to ask this because it is such a juvinile question that it makes me sick. But when you tounge, where does your tounge normally fall? (Putting aside playing with different styles). Generally where does it hit? I noticed that my tounge is beginning to hit my lips!! Should it not hit my teeth? Could I be in the midst of a bad habbit?
Practice is like filling a leaky bucket
Bb: Paul Mauriat, Yamaha
Flugel: Hub Van Laar ACK
Mouthpieces: monette, yamaha
Irrespective to whether you tongue in the traditional way or "anchor" tongue (as described by H.L. Clarke in the "Characteristic Studies" book) the release point is in the same place: where a person would say "tooh" or the number "two". Don't worry about where precisely the tounge operates. Concern yourself with the simple command of the word you use: Two, Tu, or Tooh. They should all sound the same (spare me the French lessons, francofiles, I'm making a larger point).
The key is consistency, however, as you've noticed today. For a consistent sound you need a consistent approach, it's that simple.
Mezzo Forte User
Dont be embaressed about asking any question here. We all have playing issues and weaknesses and part of the purpose of this forum is to help each other improve.
I agree with what Manny said. Personally I anchor tongue, but dont teach kids that way. I just sorta stumbled onto it naturally and it seems to work best for me.
As Manny said, Work on consistancy, but dont worry about what you are physically doing too much. I find when I do worry about a problem too much I wind up with what Messers Herseth and Jacobs refer to as "Paralysis by analysis." and all tied up in knots.
Really listen to your playing maybe even tape it and listen for every note to sound the same the attack the same regardless of the syllable you use. I use and teach tu or too. Also make sure that the air doesnt stop while tonguing the air keeps moving the tongues just interrupts the air for a micro-second for the attack.
Hope this helps
Speaking of tongues
This brings up a very interesting point that I have pondered many times. How much does your "native tongue" have to do with how you play? OK - most of us are Americans and the days of distinct ethnic groups living in certain pockets of the country is also a thing of the past since we seem to be such a transient society now. However, when you think of trumpeters from all over the world and how they play, have you ever thought of how much their native tongue has to do with the type of sound and style they produce? To me it is glaring and fascinating. I, for one, never had a problem with anything technical or anything requiring fast tonguing. I truly believe growing up in a place where we spoke very quickly and tossed around a lot of Italian and Spanish had an influence on that.
(for the sake of all readers and time constraints, I will be making generalizations here, so please, no flaming...I know there are exceptions to everything. I mean no offense to any one group of people.)
I will begin with a startling difference - Asian dialects. Their language is so different from the ones where brass playing originated, so they therefore have a very unique style. They are not accustomed to the hard syllables we use to articulate because it is not naturally a part of their "oral muscle memory". I taught at a Korean music academy and it was quite the eye-opener. There was also a trumpeter from China in Belgium for part of the time I was there. I watched him struggle for a long time with articulation, sound, etc. He emerged triumphant, but I know it was very difficult for him because of the language.
The differences between American/British/Canadian English are evident as well. I truly think that has something to do with the subtle differences between those three and the players that come from those places. We are the only language that uses the "th" sound as well. This is kind of important because I purposely use "thuga thuga" when tonguing rapidly and low. Well, you can't teach that to anyone outside of the English language because they are just not comfortable (and in lots of cases just not able) to produce this shape with their oral cavity or tongue. Therefore, you have to teach that technique with a syllable in their language....or at least something close.
A Russian player - we can hear one a mile away stylistically...why? I bet it has something to do with his culture and his language.
Germans - they speak from a "hardy" place from the middle to the back of their mouths and have a "hardy" approach to articulation and style. That falls in line with their language and culture.
The French - their language is very pointed, precise and full of sounds that would tie our American mouths and tongues into knots and they tend to speak more from the front of their oral cavity - as is evident in the "brightness" of the French style.
Latin - technique for days, unique inherent vibrato and passionate sound production. They can roll their "Rs" naturally which comes in handy, wouldn't you say? Try to get one of the Germans to do that.....LOL. It is much more work for them.
Dutch - I bring this language up because I actually learned it and was amazed at some of the "shapes" I had to make with my lips, my tongue and my oral cavity to produce the correct sounds when speaking. I guess that was one of those epiphanal moments for me. There is much more "pucker" - as in the sound 'ooooooo' (like in "boo") but executed more like "ewe", then there is the ever famous "g" sound which most English speaking folks cannot produce correctly (like our "th" which everyone else finds extremely difficult), and there are diphthongs for days that tire out your tongue in no time. Yes, Dutch is a "Germanic" language, but it has much Scandinavian influence as well. The Dutch spoken in Belgium (Flemish) is very different sounding than that spoken in the Netherlands. The Belgians have a Spanish influence on their pronunciation, as well as mixing in French when it suits them (since half of their already small country is French-speaking......the Walloons). When I travel to the Netherlands and am brave enough to speak Dutch, I am regularly told that I have a "Belgian" dialect. Since that is where I lived and learned the language for three years, it would make sense. By the end, I could tell the difference as well. I found it all fascinating when thinking of the oral cavity and our ears.
This is something I wanted to throw out there just as food for thought. I truly believe there is some validity to it. IMHO.
Fascinatingly wonderful post, Alex (but then, I'm not surprised).
I think that language as a means of expression has much to do with the inherent personality of a player. Yes, you can teach almost anyone to do almost anything but the part of expression that is personal comes form within and those inner parts of the personality will always come through vis-a-vis inherent speech patterns.
You've said it well... can't improve on it much.
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