Tutorials

attack

thehunt

Member
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797
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Studham Bedfordshire
I posted in another thread about recording yourself, i have been doing this so that i could better my playing.
What has become apparent is that my initial notes, seem to be too harsh, even when i conciously try to start gently. ( the piece dictates how i need to start of course )
My point is what exercises can i do to try and soften up my tonguing? I am reading about soft legato etc, any tips greatly appreciated.
Generally i am not too unhappy with my progress but am now too aware of my shortcomings.
Anybody hit this type of block before. I have been playing for 18 months. Thanks Phil:(
 

Young Col

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Phil
This one came up this morning during my fortnightly hour with my teacher (who is very good on technique). I was having the same trouble of attacking too hard on a piece that has pairs of legato upward triads but the first note of each pair is staccato. Similarly the coda has a sforzando that drops immediately to a p . The temptation is to hit it hard using the tongue and breath.

The answer to all this, I was told, is that it is the column of air that needs to be speeded up or slowed down for volume and the tongue is simply there as a valve. That is, the column of air is mantained all the time and pushed from the diaphragm. It doesn't matter whether you're staccato, legato or ordinary tongueing. You can envision it as like a water tap with the constant pressure behind it but just controlled by opening and closing the tap.

This one has taken me while to get hold of and I have to keep thinking about it. One way to try to get it is to play a scale legato then do it again maintaining the same pressure but using your tongue to do staccato, legato etc. In staccato tongueing your tongue should always return to the reed at the end of the note.

Don't know if that helps, from a relative beginner, but it's what I learnt today (and every couple of weeks!).
Colin
 

Young Col

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How do you do forked tongueing, Bill? Or should I not hold my breath? ;}

JonF, I was at a football club dance at a nice hotel in Streatham back in the 70's when someone at the back did start a full scale riot. The police had to be called. For some reason we weren't welcomed back at that venue again....
 

Young Col

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Probably.
Why don't we meet at Just Flutes and I'll watch while you ask for some proper flute reeds?

BTW are there any other serious responses to Phil's question, before it gets submerged in a sea of inanity?
 
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thehunt

thehunt

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797
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Studham Bedfordshire
Thanks Young Col, you can always be assured that as soon as you ask one sensible question you get half a dozen replies that are always on another planet. i wish i could take some of that which you guys are on!!
By the way thanks for the info YC, much appreciated.
By the way do we allow flutes on a sax forum? >:)
 

Young Col

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Coulsdon, London/Surrey
Phil, I think the only thing we are on, sadly, is Camp coffee!
Well we've had trombones, and flutes are a bit closer to saxes. Bill is allowed a flute as it's the only thing his serfs in Castle Croydon will put up with!
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
It was Boehm's improvement on the simple system fingering of the flute that Sax adopted and made his woodwind invention possible.
Also, on this problem of attack, why do some teachers, possibly Miss Whiplash included, discourage starting the odd note purely by increasing wind pressure or ending the note by lowering the pressure without using the tongue in either case? If it is for timing purposes, surely practising this technique would provide sufficient accuracy.
 

jonf

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Betelgeuse
Jon,
Colin might be partially oxidised, but he is not a moron. The Oxford Concise Dictionary 2011 Edition, will define that as "An adult with a mental age of about 8-12".
I wondered how long it would take you to respond....
 

Young Col

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Coulsdon, London/Surrey
Thank you Bill. I am glad to find that I don't fit that definition. As to oxidising, well I am always up for that. Errazuriz Cabernet Sauvignon is on special offer at Waitrose this week.

Actually Jon it was the Leigham Court Hotel, which was quite nice back then. However the last time we came through Streatham, only a few weeks ago, we did not feel inclined to linger.

I wasn't suggesting you should always tongue notes. Obviously not if you are playing legato. And perhaps I was being too simplistic about constant pressure; again obviously not in crescendo and diminuendo. But Phil's point was about tongued notes and if notes are intended to be tongued then there's ways to to do it correctly. Of course, if you're Ben Webster, you can make a virtue out of starting off without tongueing, but then he was a master!
 
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