September 22, 2011 2:32:33 PM EDT
Tonguing refers to the way the saxophonist articulates particular notes and rhythms. The tongue can produce light staccato, heavy marcato, long legato, emphasized accents, and many more sounds. The more variety of music played, the more types of articulation encountered. In general, the saxophonist creates the syllable to be produced with the tongue before sounding the note. Use the syllables "doo," "dah," or "dee" for a lighter tongue, "tah" or "tee" for a heavier tongue. The tip is arched forward and, as the syllable is produced, the part of the tongue slightly above its tip contacts the tip of the reed, momentarily blocks the air, and causes the note to be rearticulated when released. The air stream remains steady, without stopping. Problems with tonguing arise if too much of the surface of the tongue touches the reed; a slapping, thuddy sound results.
Tonguing should be practiced with scales (tongue Example 1 scales) and motives (see Example 3 below). Often, the hardest part of perfecting a technical tonguing passage is coordinating the tongue with the fingers. The speed of the tongue can be developed by doing exercises to strengthen it (see Example 4 below).
When doing any exercise for speed, use a metronome to avoid rushing or dragging. Make sure the articulation is clear and correct every time. When setting a tempo, determine at what speed a passage can be cleanly tongued; then slowly increase the speed of the metronome. Practice tonguing in each register of the instrument, as each range will vary in response time.
Accents are played just like normal notes except that an extra push of air is added to emphasize the note. Use caution to avoid exploding attacks.
This post was edited by Melvin Llord (Admin) at September 23, 2011 9:49:11 AM EDT