Tongue position

How and what to teach and learn.
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lauriet
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 9:30 pm
Location: Melbourne Australia

Tongue position

Post by lauriet » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:24 pm

Hi,
I've been playing tbone for about 6 months now, and used to play the trumpet when I was 12 (48 years ago).
I'm finding it a bit confusing as to where my tongue should be to start the note. At the moment my tongue hits the back of my top teeth and I've heard it described as "spitting pips". When I use "Dah" my tongue still does this. This seems to be natural for me. I am getting a raspy attach to the note. Today I tried to get my tongue to start at the roof of my mouth just behind the top teeth. It felt like I had to curl the tip of my tongue up. This is really hard for me to do and I have to focus a lot and force it, but it does sound more like a horn (release the hounds). I also find that I have to push more air with this method, and I get a smoother transition between notes (legatto ?). I have had a few lessons but not really addressing this. The teacher didn't really commit as to this question.
So can you tell me if I need to practice the second tongue position.....I get the feeling I should be.....I'm not proficient enough to use many different positions for different styles of music, so at this point I want to practice and ingrain the fundemental one and get a good tone to start with.

Thanks
Laurie
Doug Elliott
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:12 pm

Re: Tongue position

Post by Doug Elliott » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:09 pm

Yes, work on that curled up tip that gets a better release and sound quality. In time you will get used to it, or fine-tune it as you become more aware of your best sound and what it feels like to get it.

That pretty much describes my own sensation for tonguing. It doesn't feel "natural" at all but it gets the best results.
lauriet
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 9:30 pm
Location: Melbourne Australia

Re: Tongue position

Post by lauriet » Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:48 pm

I can do this easily in free air, I can do it easily on the MP, but as soon as try it on the horn my tongue doesn't cooperate ?
Strange, but if I use the word "Far" in free air my tongue does absolutely nothing, but when I try this on the horn my tongue gets involved and is a lot closer to the roof of my mouth than my front teeth.

Having done a bit of a web search some people DO suggest that the tongue starts at the back of the top teeth, so I'm
still unsure of what to work on. :idk:

regards
Laurie
Doug Elliott
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:12 pm

Re: Tongue position

Post by Doug Elliott » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:07 am

"Far" does not involve the tip of the tongue at all, it more resembles a breath attack starting with just air.

You should experiment but realize that "what works" may very well change as you develop.

If you want something specific to work on, articulate legato using the tip on the bump that's in the top of your mouth about a centimeter behind your top teeth. That's probably not very comfortable but work on it and use it as a starting point. I like to stay away from the teeth.
Pre59
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Tongue position

Post by Pre59 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:48 am

lauriet wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:24 pm
When I use "Dah" my tongue still does this. This seems to be natural for me. I am getting a raspy attach to the note.
Laurie
Bear in mind that when coming from the trumpet to the tbn, that the "blow" is easier, and that you may simply be using more air than your current embouchure can take.

Air notes and long tones are the fix, IMO.
Namibiantrombone
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:24 pm

Re: Tongue position

Post by Namibiantrombone » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:54 am

Though I am an amateur, I relied quite heavily on the tah (unknowingly) while some suggest dah for legato until I recorded myself whilst playing with others. On the older trombone both these don't differ much and the attack is quite strong. I heard one professional saying she uses lah instead. Sound strange maybe one thinks of the note more as such, but I think it works, alternatively if I can get away without using the tongue I sometimes do (if the conductor will not notice). However not using the tongue it seems is risky as the sound can be a bit late, though I try to control this with no tongue practice of 12 count whole notes on all 7 positions (straight tenor) from above bass clef bflat to low e.
lauriet
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 9:30 pm
Location: Melbourne Australia

Re: Tongue position

Post by lauriet » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:43 am

So, I've been practising this for a while. Its really difficult for me to do. My sound is crap.
I had a lesson, and the teacher told me her tongue was in this position, so I practised it more.
My sound was crap.
I was ready to give up and just go back to my natural tonguing....and I finally discovered that if I
keep my cheeks glued to my teeth, the tongue can't go anywhere else except where it should.
This was one of those eureke moments, when you realise something that improves your sound
and makes you think...."I might be a trombone player after all"
But it does raise the issue......the teacher didn't say "hey if you do this,...this will happen".
I guess it means its a long haul that requires a lot of learning/experimenting/practicing.
Good job I enjoy the journey.
Basbasun
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:03 am

Re: Tongue position

Post by Basbasun » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:56 am

https://www.melbourne-musicteachers.com/james-macaulay/

It is only fair to tell you that there no universal "right placement" of the tongue". Behind the top teeth is very common. That is not to say that it is best for you. Our tongues are very different in size.
AndrewMeronek
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:09 pm
Location: Detroit area
Contact:

Re: Tongue position

Post by AndrewMeronek » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:02 am

Teaching tonguing can be surprisingly tricky because it's hard to really know what's going on inside the mouth by feel, and because when someone says to use 'lah' or 'tee' it may mean something different from what the student thinks due to vowel differences between native languages.

I have 4 tongue styles I like to tell my students to try out for legato attacks: 'la', 'da', 'sa', and 'za'. Those last two can be useful for students who just have a super hard time dialing back the harshness of an attack; for others, those last two may actually result in no articulation at all. It's all about getting control over the spectrum of attacks while playing, so going from super-harsh to nothing is a pretty good goal. IMHO.
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
imsevimse
Posts: 181
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:43 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Tongue position

Post by imsevimse » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:12 pm

lauriet wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:24 pm
Today I tried to get my tongue to start at the roof of my mouth just behind the top teeth. It felt like I had to curl the tip of my tongue up.
On legato I slightly curl the tip of the tongue and I place it somewhere between the teeth and the middle of the roof.

/Tom
"Do your best and then do better" ttf_watermailonman
Doug Elliott
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:12 pm

Re: Tongue position

Post by Doug Elliott » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:31 pm

Several separate considerations:
Where you articulate
Where the tip is when you're holding a note

Whether either one changes depending on range
The shape if the rest of your tongue, and how it changes depending on range

Some of these you can feel and control voluntarily, others are better thought of in different terms like pronunciation of consonants or vowels. In different languages...
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