Articulation for Intermediate Players

ARTICULATION

I. SINGLE TONGUING LEGATO:

  • Lee instead of Tee (Some clarinetists say “nee”—if that works better for you feel free to use that!)
  • Surface area of tongue used for tee
  • Surface area of tongue used for lee or dee

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Beginners: legato is stressed.
  • Tee is rather heavy especially in the clarion and altissimo registers. It almost becomes a slap tongue in the altissimo. In the lower chalumeau it can be used.

Tip of the Tongue to the very Tip of the Reed!

 

 

 

  • Dee is better and can be used in the chalumeau. In the upper clarion it becomes slightly heavy. For a distinct articulation, it can be used.

 

 

 

 

II. WHERE ON THE TONGUE?
• Depending on the player, the amount of mouthpiece in the mouth, and the length of the tongue,, it is anywhere between the very edge of the tip to approximately 5 mm back
• Let’s use a “Jell-O Pop” as an analogy. The popsicle is like the tongue.

Top of the Tip of the Tongue 5 mm

Point of contact where the reed meets the mouthpiece. This is where the student would put their bottom lip on the reed.

Point of contact where the reed meets the mouthpiece. This is where the student would put their bottom lip on the reed.

 

The student will need to adjust the exact point of contact on the tongue to the tip of the reed according to the amount of mouthpiece in the student’s mouth. Remember: the amount of mouthpiece taken into the mouth depends on the point where the reed meets the mouthpiece. See below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

III. WHERE ON THE REED?

Tip of the Reed

SPECIAL NOTE: Too soft of a reed and the sound will be puny and articulation will become very difficult. The reed will not help the tongue bounce!

 

 

 

IV. HOW FAR IS THE TONGUE AWAY FROM THE REED?

  • Depends on the speed.
  • Very slow 3 mm away
  • Fast 1 mm or less until the tongue basically remains on the reed and simply wiggles for articulation (this would be around sixteenths at quarter=144)How Far Away from the Reed

 

 

 

 

 

V. DIFFERENT STYLES OF ARTICULATION

  1. THE NOTE is created when the player blows air through the horn
    1. The tongue is removed from the reed and the reed is allowed to vibrate with the air.
    2. The note stops when the tongue is GENTLY placed back on the reed.
    3. TRY THIS: Try playing a note while keeping your tongue on the reed. Some students won’t produce a sound at first but if they use VERY LITTLE pressure then a MUFFLED SOUND will be produced! This tickles.
  2.  REVIEW OF LEGATO AND STACCATO
    1.  LEGATO: Breath in, place the tongue on the reed, start blowing then let go. With a constant airstream touch the reed quickly then remove tongue quickly for each successive note.Lee Lee Lee Legato
    2.  STACCATO: With a constant air stream, place the tongue on the reed, start blowing, then let go. When putting the tongue back on the reed GENTLY keep the tongue there until the next note! This will tickle!LeeLLLeeLLL Staccato
  3.  MARCATO OR ACCENTED
    1.  ALL WITH THE AIR!
      1.  TRY THIS: Play ff and with very light legato articulation! Articulation Confusion
    2.  Some students will want to articulate aggressively when playing loud. They will strike the reed with the tongue in a forceful manner.
      1.  Have the student play loudly then place the tongue on the reed but still make a sound. Leave the tongue on the reed.
      2.  Slowly move the tongue off the reed just by 2 mm
      3.  Repeat on staccato quartersLeeLLLeeLLL Staccato

VI. FAST ARTICULATION
• The faster the articulation the more legato the articulation
• The tongue gets closer to the reedMy Mouth Tip of the Tongue to Tip of the Reed

VII. ARTICULATION IN THE DIFFERENT REGISTERS

• Less tongue as you go higher and higher on the reed (Red point in diagram)

See the red spot on the reed.

See the red spot on the reed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIII. CORDINATION OF TONGUE AND FINGERS

  • First: Make sure the student can play everything slurred with a metronome first!
  • 90% of the time, the problem is the cleanliness of the fingers NOT TONGUE SPEED!
  • Finger goes down firstFingers Down First

 

During the rests, the fingers should move to the next note!

 

 

IX. ONE WORD ON ANCHOR TONGUING:

• Anchor Tonguing: When the tip of the tongue is “anchored” behind the bottom set of teeth and the player articulates with the middle of the tongue
• Anchor tonguing can be used successfully by someone with a very long tongue. Some students will find it difficult to meet the tip of the reed with the tip of the tongue without having to awkwardly bend the tongue to get most of it out of the way.

X. ARTICULATION CHECK-UPS

  • With a children’s Crayola marker color the very top tip of an old reed right in the middle. Just a dash about 2 mm. wide. Have the student play and articulate a few times. Tell them to stick their tongue out in front of mirror and see where the marker colored your tongue. From there, you can see where they are tonguing on the reed.
  •  They need to work on the lightness of the tongue.
  • Double check for jaw movement when they articulate!

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