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Don't Tongue Notation

Tenor Viol

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Sorry - I hadn't fully appreciated the reference was to the first note in a group, rather than the rest of a group.

My assumption had been that we were referring to a group of notes which would not be individually articulated, i.e. sitting under (or over) a slur marking. On a bowed stringed instrument this means play the indicated notes all in one bow (some composers are ridiculously optimistic about how many you can accommodate). You can give individual notes within the slurred group more or less emphasis by change of bow pressure or bow speed.

The other option with strings when notes aren't specifically slurred is a bowing instruction of 'legato'. This requires a smooth bow turnaround so that the move from one note to the next is seamless with no apparent or discernible gap or change of sound other than pitch. I assume the equivalent on sax would be soft tonguing?

I agree with @jbtsax that with a bow you can get a note to start with very little 'edge' or front to it, which is achieved by having the bow already moving above the string and brought into contact with the string. so that the note glides in, rather than starting with a static bow as that requires more force to initiate the note speaking.
 
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Veggie Dave

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<whisper>Do we have a consensus for how to write that an individual note should not be tongued?</whisper>
 

jbtsax

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The question posed in this thread really intrigued me. Throughout college when the band director specified a "breath entrance" or in a solo where starting a phrase without tonguing I just penciled in "don't tongue" or "no tongue" over the first note. I just spent a great deal of time researching online to try to find an articulation mark or sign directing a "breath attack" (I hate that word.) or "breath entrance". Finding none, I came up with my own as shown below. It is simple and intuitive and quite easily entered in a notation program.

1589143106621.jpeg
 

Pete Effamy

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The question posed in this thread really intrigued me. Throughout college when the band director specified a "breath entrance" or in a solo where starting a phrase without tonguing I just penciled in "don't tongue" or "no tongue" over the first note. I just spent a great deal of time researching online to try to find an articulation mark or sign directing a "breath attack" (I hate that word.) or "breath entrance". Finding none, I came up with my own as shown below. It is simple and intuitive and quite easily entered in a notation program.

View attachment 14560
It’s certainly a gap in notated direction
 

Dibbs

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The question posed in this thread really intrigued me. Throughout college when the band director specified a "breath entrance" or in a solo where starting a phrase without tonguing I just penciled in "don't tongue" or "no tongue" over the first note. I just spent a great deal of time researching online to try to find an articulation mark or sign directing a "breath attack" (I hate that word.) or "breath entrance". Finding none, I came up with my own as shown below. It is simple and intuitive and quite easily entered in a notation program.

View attachment 14560
That works very well. You probably only need to add the text the first time it appears. The slur/tie from a rest would be enough after that.
 
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Veggie Dave

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I think we have a perfect solution. :)

Calling the Italians, how do you say to tongue?
 

Pete Thomas

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That works very well. You probably only need to add the text the first time it appears. The slur/tie from a rest would be enough after that.
The slur would make me think it's a scoop. This whole thing is such a rare occurrence. The words no tongue ought to suffice if for some reason that really is a meaningful direction. In 40 years of playing professionally I can honestly say I've never been given that instruction. Doing any kind of unconvenetional articulation is fine, but it's normally as a soloist making their own decision.

If there is no tongue, the note will have an imprecise start so I don't see how it is useful for ensemble playing without some further direction about how to make "no tongue" more precise and meaningful.

If a composer or arranger wants me to use no tongue, I would then need to ask them "so what kind of other articulation do you want? Please explain how you want the note to start? A slow, medium or a fast fade in? Some other kind of attack?"

In other words this is all down to a soloist's expression, and generally why, as a soloist, should the arranger tell them tiny nuances of their style?
 
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Veggie Dave

Veggie Dave

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I'm writing parts for a song where I don't want to hear any hint of tonguing. Basically, I don't want any of the notes to have any discernable attack. I was originally thinking of using a crescendo on the first note and then slur over the rest but I didn't think that really represented the sound I was after so I wondered if there was some notation that represented this approach that I didn't know about.
 

Pete Effamy

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Two thoughts: agree with Pete, though classical players do use “breath” entries. Having said that, and in answer to Dave’s post, the whole idea of soft articulation is that you don’t hear it. Audible tonguing is usually caused by too much tongue in contact with too much reed, and/or ‘pushing further into the reed’ before releasing, rather than just removing the tongue.
 

Pete Effamy

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Plus, unless playing on your own the lack of articulation wouldn’t be heard anyway - the point I guess, but legato tonguing articulation isn’t supposed to be heard. Think of singing Laaa as opposed to Taaa. The Laaa sound has an effect of separating the notes but you don’t hear it.
 

jbtsax

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In 40 years of playing professionally I can honestly say I've never been given that instruction. Doing any kind of unconvenetional articulation is fine, but it's normally as a soloist making their own decision. . . If there is no tongue, the note will have an imprecise start so I don't see how it is useful for ensemble playing without some further direction about how to make "no tongue" more precise and meaningful.
In the area of symphonic band or wind ensemble playing, William Revelli had a great influence on conducting styles and interpretation. Listening to recordings of his groups the wind ensemble sounds very much like a string orchestra in slower, more melodic pieces. The director of band I played in for 4 years at the university I attended would sometimes call for a breath entrance to "taper" the beginning of the phrase as is often done at the end of a phrase. For an ensemble to do this together requires a conductor. For me a breath entrance is done with a "hoo" rather than a "doo" or "loo" where the tongue touches the reed and it requires excellent breath support. Legato on flute is even easier. All one has to do is touch back farther the roof of the mouth rather than the back of the top teeth with a "loo" syllable or even more gently with a "roo" syllable where the tone simply gets in the way of the airstream without touching anything.

This is an example of the legato style Revelli was able to achieve with wind instruments.

 
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Veggie Dave

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In the area of symphonic band or wind ensemble playing, William Revelli had a great influence on conducting styles and interpretation. Listening to recordings of his groups the wind ensemble sounds very much like a string orchestra in slower, more melodic pieces.
This is exactly the sound I'm going for. I know I can just tell the other musicians to play this way but experience has shown that having precisely what is to be played written on the page saves a lot of time in the long run.
 
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