I wonder if any of you, including Greg, have a solution for over-tonguing. I want to lighten my tonguing because it is a little heavy, too noticeable most of the time. I want clean note starts and stops without any noise as distinct from slurring.
(I have played for a long time, but am using the M2M books to improve my playing, especially in the upper register by opening things up. It is working well, but this problem has arisen as things have opened up. I have some difficulty with the concept of keeping the tongue behind the bottom teeth and tonguing with the arch. Perhaps this is the problem, but I need some way to correct it. It just will not stay there — too many years playing elsewhere. )
I have just the opposite problem and I work hard to tongue more distinctly and clearly concentrating on pitch. It might help you to practice legato without breaking the tone and keeping the breath even for awhile. I don’t know if anyone else uses this approach, but when I discover a tendency I don’t care for, I sometimes try something exactly opposite and on occasion it works. In the case of changing the tongue, I’m paying a little more attention to a sharp attack since my tendency is legato or slur (i.e.I find it easier) – it seems to help me sometimes, ha. I absolutely think worrying about where the tongue is (position) when playing is useless unless you contact the lip and change pitch as long as it doesn’t interfere with other aspects, let it loose.
Thanks Rod. It is certainly worth a try. I don’t worry about the tongue ordinarily, but the book talks about this, so I brought it up. I will try some legato stuff. That is probably a great way to get a feel for what is bothering me about my tonguing.
By “contact the lip and change pitch” do you mean the tongue comes in contact with the lips and changes the pitch? I find that hard to visualize. How would touching the lips with the tongue change the pitch?
By changing (dampening) the rate of vibration. Sometimes when I get sloppy or tired I will get the tongue thru the teeth on occasion and I can hear the slightest flattening of the tone. My goal is to have the notes sound like a bell rung with a mallet, same tone with only slight interruption. Kind of like when Greg does the tube and balloon thing and the same sound just stops and starts. Its a very small thing in the big picture, just one I work on. If you’ve heard someone play whos having trouble with attack and you hear a Twaa Twaa sound instead of the Taa Taa, just trying to be sure I taa taa.
Thanks Greg for the video (glad to see you are using Vimeo, excellent service). This information is in the MTM book in slightly different form, but this makes it a lot clearer. I hope you will leave it up here. I am going to have to watch it several times to copy all of this.
I struggle with this as well…the act of releasing the air…as opposed to pushing it out seems for me at least, to initiate momentum and relaxation that results in a much more musical result..and speed as well…Jim
Hi Cal, once you have the concept of an unforced release covered, I’ll get you to consider 2 things:
1. A breath attack, no tongue at all
2. A yaya note.
The strength of the articulation is dependent on the degree of pressure build up behind the tongue.
Clearly simply saying yaya will not encourage an audible articulation, however when yaya approaches zsha zsha and tya tya the degree of air pressure build up behind the tongue increases and at some point a light, subtle and super fast articulation will happen.
This is along the line of simply flicking the air as mentioned beautifully above. I recommend experimenting with varying degrees of pressure behind the tongue but be sure that doesn’t encourage a kick from the body, it is all tongue controlled using passive reduction.
A GREAT EXERCISE FOR ALL (The Alphabet video is coming)
With your eyes closed and some relaxed spare time, go through your alphabet really, really, really, really, super slowly. With EYES CLOSED and MEGA SLOW, discover how your mouth SHAPE changes – lips, tongue etc – to create the sounds we recognise as vowels and consonants.
An awareness of:
1. The ease of doing this physically
2. The anatomical movements involved in creating different timbres will further encourage your efficiency and respect for the importance of SHAPE.
TAKE YOUR TIME – EYES CLOSED (just in case I forgot to mention this) 😂