Triple tonguing

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by superwan, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. superwan

    superwan Member

    Hi all,

    I've been working with a brass teacher since October and right from the off he said he'd get me to be able to double and triple tongue. He said it's best to learn to triple tongue first and the first step was being able to say da da ga repeatedly. I've now moved on to transferring this to the cornet with the exercise da da ga da da ga - da, da da ga da da ga - da, da - da da ga, da - da da ga da da ga da da ga - da which I've got up to 150 on the metronome (one beat for every group of da da ga's if that makes sense). He says it usually takes a year or two to work this up to a decent speed so I would be interested in general how long it has taken people learn to triple tongue well enough to actually use in a piece of music. Also once it's been learnt how much practice needs to be done to maintain it?

    Thanks in advance
  2. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    One of my favourite things to teach.

    I have found that some people (sickening people that they are) pick this up almost immediately and some others take quite a bit longer. Personally I was taught it rather badly when I was younger (basically "go tutuku as fast as you can"), it then took three years of university (and an amazing teacher) to get rid of bad habits and replace them with better ones (which make more sense and work much better).
    I find I still need to work on it at least a couple of times each week to maintain it (so at least two sessions of about 15-20 minutes), more if I am performing something which requires it as a prominent feature.
    An exercise I use a great deal (for myself and especially in my teaching) is to disregard the front of the tongue (tu or du) completely and do EVERYTHING on the back syllable (ku or gu). When the back of the tongue attack equals the front attack then when you put them together they should sound the same rather than having a strong and weak syllable audible to the audience (record yourself and see if you can tell the difference). The challenge at university was to do everything on the back syllable for an entire week - if anyone complained about your attack not being as good as normal then you failed the challenge and had to repeat it.

    Another exercise I strongly suggest is to work on your multiple tonguing in every combination you can think of.
    Once your front and back syllables are equal try the following (T referring to tu or du, whilst K refers to ku or gu):
    Anything you can think of.
    The last of these is using a double tongue pattern but thinking in triplets - it was apparently the favoured pattern of Rafael Mendez and can certainly be put to good use in many triple tongue variations.

    I strongly urge you to record your efforts as you go. Not only will you be able to check on the similarity between the two syllables but you will also (hopefully) be able to record your progress.

    Good luck
  3. superwan

    superwan Member

    Thanks for taking the time to respond you've given me lots to think about there :)

    Whilst I'm first learning how long would you recommend to spend on this daily? Also can you recommend any recording apps?
  4. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    It is a subject that I can waffle on about for hours - having been taught very unsuccessfully the first time and then had to spend the rest of my time getting out of bad habits I am always willing to help people avoid my own bad habits of the past (and present, if I don't keep up the work).

    To start with I wouldn't spend more than about 5-10 minutes per day. That will be quite enough to frustrate you, lol
    As you do longer exercises extend the time spent on this aspect of playing.
    How long you spend on each aspect of your playing will very much depend on your own strengths and weaknesses. Personally I very rarely work on my range (it is more than adequate for everything I need to do) but multiple tonguing and flexibility are practised on a daily basis.

    No idea - I just use the recording stuff on my phone - nothing special. You don't need it to be great quality, just adequate to hear the differences (or lack thereof).
  5. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Tonguing Practice

    Just a few thoughts:
    • When you're double-tonguing, don't think of the 't' and 'k' as individual one-syllable words - rather, think of the sound 'tk' as a two-syllable word.
    • Keep the breath going the whole time and make the actual tongue movement to produce the 't' or 'k' articulation as rapid as you can. Think 'snake tongue'.
    • Make sure when you do a long run of double or triple tonguing that your 't' always lands at the same place behind your top teeth. There's often a tendency for the landing site to drift backwards and 't' to turn into 'd'.
    • Be encouraged because lots of your sound gets transmitted to your ears via your skull, so the sound you can hear in your head is rather worse than what other people in the room can hear. Which is why recording is valuable.
    • Always think about what you're doing. When it works and when it doesn't work, stop and analyse what's going on, and commit to memory for the next time...
  6. superwan

    superwan Member

    Thanks trumpetmike and briant that information is very helpful. I'll keep at it. I've been working on my range too and that's coming along nicely my top G's and A's are less screechy. I'm learning stuff that I should have done the first time really but I don't mind as I'm enjoying the process :)