Posts tagged “articulation”

July 20, 2017

Aspects of articulation

photo, Zachary SumnersThe 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, ...

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 ...
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