Legato tongue

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AndrewMeronek
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Legato tongue

Post by AndrewMeronek » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:00 pm

I've been tromboning for 3 decades now and still I find deficiencies in my legato tongue, alas.

Which brings up a question: it's a super-fine line between a tongue that allows portamentos and a tongue that is too harsh in terms of an air 'thunk' in the sound. But, where is that line??? It seems to be a moving target. Although, some of that 'moving target' has to do with how far the slide has to move, and the relative laziness of my slide motion in terms of snappiness.

Just curious about thoughts others have along these lines.
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
Doubler
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Re: Legato tongue

Post by Doubler » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:59 pm

I spend most of my practice time focusing on the least of my abilities (much to my wife's irritation; she hears the worst of my playing). If I'm a little weak in legato tonguing and slide precision, guess what I'll be working on? The actual effect of slow slide movement is a delay in getting on pitch - not a pleasant sound. I don't see a connection between legato tonguing and slide motion.

Your comment on a moving target is correct. many things affect our playing, including frame of mind, amount of sleep, hydration, fitness, food intake, salt intake, and medications, to name a few. A former teacher of mine said: "Every morning when I pick up my horn, I say 'Let's see how I'm going to play today.'" Each day brings new challenges. Nature of the beast called life.
Current instruments:
Olds Studio trombone, 3 trumpets, 1 flugelhorn, 1 cornet, 1 shofar, 1 keyboard

Previous trombones:
Selmer Bundy, Marceau
Doug Elliott
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Re: Legato tongue

Post by Doug Elliott » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:12 am

Smooth legato is mostly influenced by two things that nearly everybody has trouble with.

Synchronization - a little too hard or too soft an articulation is hardly noticeable if it's synchronized well with the slide motion.

Continuous and smooth air - with no "bump," usually a slight crescendo right before the change. You don't need to add air to change notes within scale-wise or small intervals, but many players do that and cause a "dwah-dwah" sound in legato.
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greenbean
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Re: Legato tongue

Post by greenbean » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:26 am

And quick and accurate slide movement.
Doug Elliott
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Re: Legato tongue

Post by Doug Elliott » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:13 am

Too often, "quick slide movement" ends up being jerky slide movement that also jerks the body and disturbs the embouchure. Put a priority on "smooth" slide technique instead of "quick."
imsevimse
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Re: Legato tongue

Post by imsevimse » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:04 am

Good advice so far :good:

Check out the webpage of Jay Freeman. He has written good texts about how to approach legato. I read them and that's one thing that helped me.

The other thing that helped was to put up a few recordings and get advice on legato from here. I got some good advice that I decided to address and the whole situation made me work on the issues a lot and have continued to do for several years. and I still try to improve in the direction of the advice, something I hadn't done for many years. Some day I will put new examples of my playing (legato) here for criticism.

I do think such work in detail could be interesting to follow also for the rest of the forum who gets a chance to participate in the ongoing procress. Personally I like to follow such threads and see if advice and teaching do any good, unfortunately the threads that ask for criticism are rare, maybe it's because you need to be prepared to get your playing split down into atoms if you do and by people from all over the world. You need to prepare your self to get both good and bad advice. Don't put something out here to show off. It has nothing to do with this.

I think you also need to be at a fair high level to be successful with this to be able to understand what to ignore and what to incorporate from the advice you get, what you should do and what you should not do, and it could absolutely be a good thing to discuss what you hear here with your teacher or with another musician, but everybody's opinion here about the examples you provide is valuable because everybody has ears. It is rare you get such honest and unfiltered criticism elsewhere.

You also need a little bit of luck to get attention and have people tell you what they really think you need to do. There is some risk what you put here will be left without much notice too or you do not get much out of it.

Keep in mind you do not want people here tell you how good you are. If that is what you want you miss the whole point. You miss what's most important which is to learn something.

/Tom
"Do your best and then do better" ttf_watermailonman
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AndrewMeronek
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Re: Legato tongue

Post by AndrewMeronek » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:11 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:12 am
Smooth legato is mostly influenced by two things that nearly everybody has trouble with.

Synchronization - a little too hard or too soft an articulation is hardly noticeable if it's synchronized well with the slide motion.

Continuous and smooth air - with no "bump," usually a slight crescendo right before the change. You don't need to add air to change notes within scale-wise or small intervals, but many players do that and cause a "dwah-dwah" sound in legato.
Yeah, I've noticed this issue with a lot of people 'bumping' legato with the air, too. Helps to kind of hide other problems - for example slight synchronization problems or lipping through extra partials and things like that, but hiding one problem with another isn't great.
Doug Elliott wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:13 am
Too often, "quick slide movement" ends up being jerky slide movement that also jerks the body and disturbs the embouchure. Put a priority on "smooth" slide technique instead of "quick."
Yes, but I think much like the tongue, there is a fine line between jerking the slide harshly and adding a touch of extra force to make the slide quicker while remaining smooth. Good legato needs to thread this needle, too, especially for larger slide motions. For this reason I've become almost hyper-sensitive to slight changes in the friction of the slide as it moves. When I really am digging in, even small changes in friction can mess with both intonation and legato technique. Also the reason why I gravitate toward lighter slides.
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
AndrewMeronek
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Re: Legato tongue

Post by AndrewMeronek » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:16 am

imsevimse wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:04 am
Check out the webpage of Jay Freeman. He has written good texts about how to approach legato. I read them and that's one thing that helped me.
Yeah, Jay's stuff is awesome.

Also IMHO worth pointing out: one of the best legato trombonists in the world lives in my town: Kenneth Thompkins of the DSO, and I got lucky enough to have him kick my *** while in graduate school. :biggrin:
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
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Savio
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Re: Legato tongue

Post by Savio » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:02 pm

I belive it's hard to describe with words. My method is to imagine how to sound and try to make it. There is different music, different style. Different degrees of legato.
There's lot to say, but have the legato inside the head and try to get it is one part of it.
baileyman
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Re: Legato tongue

Post by baileyman » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:20 pm

When practicing reciprocating single tongue, driven by air, do repeats with the tongue withdrawing more and more from the airstream.

There is a great spectrum of tonging in this, and some is terrific quick legato.
Doubler
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Re: Legato tongue

Post by Doubler » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:43 pm

Savio wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:02 pm
I belive it's hard to describe with words. My method is to imagine how to sound and try to make it. There is different music, different style. Different degrees of legato.
There's lot to say, but have the legato inside the head and try to get it is one part of it.
Excellent! This applies to all aspects of playing. I believe if you can hear it and hear yourself doing it (whatever "it" is), then with practice and attention you can do it. Your brain is capable of matching the intent to the outcome.
Current instruments:
Olds Studio trombone, 3 trumpets, 1 flugelhorn, 1 cornet, 1 shofar, 1 keyboard

Previous trombones:
Selmer Bundy, Marceau
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