Re: Multiple Tonguing

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Posted by Klaus on February 09, 2003 at 00:25:26:

In Reply to: Multiple Tonguing posted by TTK on February 08, 2003 at 23:24:13:

Following the Arban progression many, if not most, students are taught triple tonguing before double tonguing. A teacher of mine took it the other way round: get your "K" cleaned up in a perfect double tonguing, before you attempt the triple tonguing. I have found that a productive approach in my own teaching as well.

However there is one main approach to all technical problems, that never should be overlooked: always start the study of any new problem in a tempo, that is so slow, that you can execute the main issue cleanly.

When studying triple tonguing, triple tonguing is the main issue! Clean attacks, intonation, sound all are vital aspects of that packet, whereas dynamic are not, and you are allowed to take 10+ times as many breaths as supposed in the final result to get through a given number of bars.

When your attacks are clean with precise intonation and good sound, but "suffer" from a monotonous mf and a slow tempo, then you can start working the exercise/solo/whatever up in speed. And I will not deny, that part of the clarity in the final performance is to emphasise the important notes a bit more, than one would do in a more flowing/legato playing.

It will not, and should not, give you piece of mind, but: You are not alone!

The Tivoli Gardens of Copenhagen have a great tradition of light music being played very well by competent musicians in the concert hall as well as from two pavilions. I often went there, when I was younger and more mobile.

But one certain performance of a then nationally famous polka for two trumpets bothered me. It was all wrong, but what was wrong? I went on and on "singing" that performance in my mind, until I had the answer.

The two trumpeters of the day had played perfectly clean triple tonguing. Only the rhythm was not tripled. It was more like a subdivision in seven. After each group of triple sixteenths a rest worth something like a thirty-second (1/32) was entered. In other words the triplets were compressed, so that open space was left between each group of triplets. Which left me very as a very uneasy listener.

That problem could have been solved by the conductor taking the tempo down at a rehearsal. But ensembles recycling a certain book of repertory several times through the summer don't rehearse that much, no matter how many subs there will be wandering trough an ensemble, that has a thirty performances a week schedule through a 4 or 5 month season.


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