Articulation (tonguing)

edited February 2012 in Woodwinds Posts: 67
Hi could anyone give me some tips on tonguing for jazz clarinet as I'm just starting out and finding that materials for beginners are heavily biased towards classical style and I don't want to go too far down a dead end out of ignorance. Anyone got any ideas?


  • Ken BloomKen Bloom Pilot Mountain, North CarolinaNew
    Posts: 164
    The classical approach is a good place to start. I think most of the clarinet players I know started there. My teacher was a jazz guy so he helpedf me a lot. It's all about degrees of separation. Most swing players tend to play pretty legato so gentle tounguing is mostly what you hear. I play a fair bit of klezmer as well so I do more stacatto for that. It keeps my tounguing up to snuff. If you're a beginner, it's going to be more of a battle getting your toungueing and breath control working together. One of the things my teacher taught me to do was to gently tounge a series of eighth notes and then emphasize the second and fourth notes of each group with my breath. Not really a swing technique but it will teach you a lot. Give it a try.
    Ken Bloom
  • Several different ways to tongue as well.

    places to tongue - tip of reed (end), just underneath tip of reed and flat underside of reed

    parts of tongue tip of tongue,top of tip of tongue and flat of tongue

    each of these will give different attack characterstics

    The end tip of tongue on the end of the reed gives a nice stacatto attack. Practice a scale with 4 16ths per note each one tongued and keep it really slow so you get a clean attack and release. Take your time building up speed

    One double tonguing technique I use is ...... top of tip to reed tip on the first note and slap the flat of my tongue on the bottom of the reed for the second I go down about 1/2 " or near 1cm if you are metricized. Makes for a sound kinda like saying " tuh the " which on swung eigths adds a nice lope to the sound.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 67
    Hey thanks a lot for your advice - sorry I thought I had replied already. Appreciate it.
  • Graham

    I jsut learned another great tonguing exercise. Its a 2 bar job starting on say C

    Tongueing gently trying to get just a whisper of a start no explosions :D tongue 4 - 16th notes on C followed by a C 1/4 note (beats 1 and 2) repeat for the second half of bar 1. Bar 2 in 16ths C C# D D# then E quarter note then 16ths E, D# D C# then Quarter note on C. Move up a semi tone and repeat the pattern. 5 minutes of this and ones tongue is feeling it. REcord yourself on day 1 and then again after a week or two of daily 5 minutes. Good for fingering good for tongue.

    Start at a speed slow enough to do it cleanly and focussing on a clean gentle tongue movement and gentle attack. Build up speed to the point where you cant tongue any faster. Then start thinking about double tonguing exercises.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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