3 Rehearsal Techniques for Double Tonguing

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Brass players use double tonguing to play notes faster than a normal articulation will allow, incorporating the syllable “ka” from the middle of the tongue. Many players incorporate double tongue exercises in their daily practice routine. This article outlines tips for practicing its use in a piece of music.

Double Tongue Excercise

Above is an easy musical excerpt and normal syllables you would use for double tonguing. Below, we will alter the excerpt for rehearsal on each topic.

1. Practice Each Syllable Individually

The number one problem musicians face when using the double tongue is that the second syllable, “ka” does not sound as good as the initial syllable. The reason is simple, we practice on the “ta” syllable every time we play, and only use the “ka” in this context.

Play through the whole passage using each syllable. First, single tongue through it to learn the piece and its articulations. Then try playing through it using only the second syllable. Work hard to match the volume, articulation, and overall musicality of the excerpt.

Double Tounging Excercise

2. Isolate the Rhythm

Once you have mastered using both syllables accurately, try playing through the passage with the correct rhythm, but on a single pitch. Move the pitch up scalewise until you have played all the notes in the piece. This ensures proficiency on each syllable across your range. Again, practice for a uniform sound on all notes.

Double Tounging Excercise

3. Isolate Problem Intervals

After practicing the piece using the above methods, there may be certain sections holding you back. Be sure to practice these on their own. Try picking two note intervals, steps or jumps, that are difficult to double tongue. Practice double tonguing each interval separately, then again within the musical passage.

Double Tounging Excercise

Don’t forget to comment below with your own rehearsal tips!


8 Responses to “3 Rehearsal Techniques for Double Tonguing”

  1. Cooper Fuqua says:

    don’t forget about the vowel double tongue that Clark Terry used (more jazz oriented). day dul dee dul di dul do dol du. sounds stupid until you try it.

  2. Jon Gorrie says:

    Kyle: I thought to mention the Da-Ga approach to double-tonguing. That is to say that using Da-Ga, the distance the tongue has to travel between consonants is shorter than Ta-Ka, and can result in softer attacks. Not saying one is right and the other isn’t, they’re just two different techniques, designed for achieving two different outcomes. For me at least, I have an easier time of fast double-tonging using Da-Ga, and an easier time of achieving harder accents with Ta-Ka.

    I’d be interested to read what you have to say about Ta-Ka and Da-Ga!

  3. Kyle says:

    Thanks for commenting Cooper. Sounds like grounds for another blog post! Some youtube evidence would be perfect. Have a link?

  4. Jeff Freeman says:

    Man, and here I thought I was just supposed to move my tongue faster!!

    I believe there is a place for both the softer “Da Ga” and more pointed “Ta Ka” attacks. I have used both for different reasons, styles. The faster the tempo though, I tend to go with the softer route to avoid choppiness. Of course, good support always helps the tongue from working too hard!

    I vote for the next multiple tonguing blog be on the 500 different ways to triple tongue! My tongue is twisted up just thinking about it.

  5. Kyle says:

    Okay, thanks for all the comments everyone.
    Starting now on a new blog post for more in depth multiple tounging.
    Any other topics I should cover in it?
    Keep commenting!

  6. Thanks, need to work on my DT more often

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