Posts tagged “articulation”

May 7, 2018

Saxophone low notes

The saxophone's lowest notes can be notoriously unresponsive. For the best chance at successful low notes, here's what you will need.

March 17, 2018

Avoiding clarinet undertones: published techniques

Clarinet "undertones" or "grunts" are the unpleasant low sounds that happen usually at the beginning of tongued upper-clarion-register notes (about written G to C, above the staff). My sense is that there isn't a lot of consensus or clarity among clarinetists about how exactly to prevent this.

July 20, 2017

Aspects of articulation

The concept of “articulation” in woodwind playing is really a bunch of concepts mashed together. Suppose one of my students comes in for a lesson and I tell them their “articulation” needs work. Do I mean they should:

October 13, 2016

Accents and the tongue (or not)

As a follow-up to my previous post on the role of the tongue in articulation, I would like to address the problem of accents. When I hear my students playing heavy, thumpy accents, I ask them how they are playing the accents. The answer is usually the same: “tongue harder?” But when the tongue is properly ...

October 11, 2016

“Starting” notes with the tongue

There's a common misconception about woodwind articulation, that notes somehow "start" with the tongue. So, how do you start notes with your tongue? Does your tongue somehow strike the reed, making it vibrate?

June 24, 2016

Tonguing and language sounds

Be wary of pedagogical approaches to woodwind articulation that depend on analogies to speech sounds. The most common, at least in the English-speaking world, is the idea that tonguing is like saying “too” or “doo.” And certainly there are significant mechanical similarities, especially with “too.” “Doo” doesn’t work as well because it is a voiced consonant, ...

February 16, 2014

Maintaining direction in staccato passages

To make a legato phrase sound like a unified idea, all I have to do as a minimum is make sure my air doesn't stop: my fingers and tongue delineate individual notes, but the sound is continuous. But with a staccato phrase, the sound stops. Make the notes sound like they belong together, without eliminating the space between them.

February 15, 2014

Sometimes staccato is neither “short” nor “separated”

A wind instrument doesn't resonate in the same way as, say, a violin: when the wind player stops blowing, the sound stops immediately. But since our modern wind technique borrows so heavily from the bowed string tradition, in many cases it is necessary to imitate this resonance to achieve the desired effect.

May 8, 2013

The magical properties of air

Good breath support, besides helping tone production in obvious ways, can have a surprising (and positive) impact on other aspects of woodwind playing.

March 8, 2013

“Tip of the tongue” mythology and the flute

As woodwind players we are often taught that articulation requires the use of the tip of the tongue and no more—to use more than the tip would just be wrong! For reed instruments, I think this is essentially true, but I don’t think it works that way on the flute. Try this: Using a reed ...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!