Back in 2004, I wrote a journal entry in which I discussed my limitations with fast articulation in jazz music. In that journal entry, I concluded that I'd have the best chance of improving my articulation speed if I tried to smooth out my double tonguing. Basically, I intended to replace the "tu-ku" syllables of traditional double tonguing with a smoother "duh-guh" attack so it would fit in better with jazz phrasing.
For several months after that initial journal entry, I practiced double tonguing for 5-10 minutes a day and posted a few articulation recordings on this site. Eventually my focus shifted to other aspects of trumpet technique, like improving my range and endurance, and I became less concerned about how quickly I could articulate. With this change in focus, I reduced my daily double tonguing practice to about one or two minutes each day. That's just enough time to double tongue Clarke study #2 starting on each note going from a G to a C in the staff.
I'm pleased to report that even with just a couple minutes per day spent on double tonguing, I've made significant progress with my ability to articulate quickly and smoothly with a double tongued attack. I still haven't started to use it when playing jazz trumpet, but I think I am getting close to a time where I could if I wanted to.
I'd like to make clear that it's certainly possible to play fast without any sort of special articulation method. None of my jazz solos to date have used anything other than single tonguing (with the exception of that one time I tried to triple tongue in "Fifth House"). And really, the combination of single tonguing and slurring notes is perfectly adequate for just about anything I'll ever need to play. So, this endeavor to improve my fast articulation is just for those instances where I really want every note in a (very) fast phrase to pop.
AND NOW… THE ARTICULATION RECORDINGS
As I mentioned earlier, I made a few articulation recordings in 2004 which I posted on this site. Since my articulation recordings are few and far between, I have decided to put all of those old recordings, and any new fast articulation recordings I make on this page.
FEBRUARY 24, 2007
In both recordings I'm playing Clarke's technical study #2.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Double-tongued, with a smoothed 'duh-guh' attack, starting on a G in the staff. In my previous clips this was about as high as I could go with these exercises.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Double-tongued, with a smoothed 'duh-guh' attack, starting on a C in the staff. As you can hear, I can now go quite a bit higher and still maintain a decent smooth double tongued attack. Progress!
SEPTEMBER 18, 2004
Just a couple short clips to show my progress with the double-tongued Clarke study and the introduction of double-tongued arpeggios.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Double-tongued, with a smoothed 'duh-guh' attack.
I'm getting pretty good with my smoothed double-tonguing in the lower range of the trumpet. As I climb higher in range, things start to breakdown. In the clip above, the first example begins on C below the staff; the second example begins on a G in the staff. The difference is pretty clear. Obviously, my goal is to keep the articulation smooth in all registers.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Double-tongued minor 7th arpeggios
I started working on double-tongued arpeggios about a month ago. This type of exercise should strengthen my ability to double tongue over intervals while improving my ability to outline chords in all keys. The example above outlines minor 7th arpeggios, however I also practice major 7th, half-diminished, and diminished arpeggios in the same manner.
APRIL 25, 2004
All exercises are on Clarke's technical study #2.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Single-tongued. Fastest speed possible.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Double-tongued, with a smoothed 'duh-guh' attack. Increasing speed.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Double-tongued, with a 'guh-duh' attack. I'm reversing the consonants here to (hopefully) bring myself to care less about which sound comes first.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Articulation with only 'guh' attacks. Fastest speed possible.
It has only been two months since I've been working on the smoothed multiple tonguing. Each day I play the previous variations starting on C and ascending to a starting note of G or Ab.
I think there's noticeable progress since my first recordings (particularly in the end of the clip: iwasdoingallright - audio clip), however I still have quite a bit of work to do before I'll be able to use this in regular improvisation. For starters, when multiple tonguing I puff my cheeks quite a bit --much more so than in normal playing. As a result, my embouchure is less focused and my range is much narrower than usual. Anything above a D in the staff is difficult.
MY FIRST ARTICULATION RECORDINGS: FEBRUARY 22, 2004
All exercises are on Clarke's technical study #2.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Single-tongued. This is as fast as I can articulate with a single-tongued attack.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Double-tongued, with a standard 'tu-ku' attack.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Slow double tongue, with a smoothed 'du-gu' attack.
iwasdoingallright - audio clip - Slow attacks using ONLY a 'gu' attack.
If I hope to succeed with double tonguing in an improvised jazz solo, I think I'll need to do two main things: (1) smooth my double tongue into a 'du-gu' style of attack, and (2) reach a point where I can use double tonguing interchangeably with single tonguing.
The second point is important because I want the double-tongued passages to blend in seamlessly with the rest of the improvised solo. If I have to consciously think about starting on a particular syllable or beat, then I feel like the double-tongued passage will stick out like a sore thumb. It might sound *fancy*, but it probably won't sound good from a musical perspective. With this in mind, I recorded the 'gu'-only track. It's an experiment to break traditional tonguing habits. I have no idea whether or not it will help, but I figure it's worth trying.