A technique of articulating notes on a wind instrument

"Tonguing" is a playing technique primarily used in wind instruments, especially woodwind instruments (such as flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, etc.) and brass instruments (such as trumpet, trombone, tuba, etc.). This technique involves using the tongue to make specific light touches or strikes on the instrument's mouthpiece or reed to control the onset and separation of notes.

Here are some concepts related to tonguing:

  • Single Tonguing: This is the most basic tonguing technique, where the performer uses the front or middle part of the tongue to lightly touch the mouthpiece or reed, as if pronouncing single words, to start or stop sound production. This technique is often indicated by "t" or "d" syllables.
  • Double Tonguing: This technique involves using two syllables, typically "tu" or "du", to rapidly alternate tongue strikes, enabling faster playing speeds. It is particularly useful for playing fast-paced music.
  • Triple Tonguing: Similar to double tonguing but using three syllables, such as "tu-ku-tu" or "du-gu-du", to allow the performer to handle extremely fast musical rhythms.
  • For woodwind instruments, tonguing involves striking the mouthpiece or reed with the tongue to control the speed and separation of airflow into the instrument, affecting note articulation.
  • For brass instruments, tonguing typically entails using the tongue to close and open the passage between the lips and mouthpiece to create note separation and rhythm.

Tonguing techniques are crucial for wind and brass instrument players, allowing them to control the onset, end, and separation of notes, thereby achieving rhythm, expression, and dynamics in music. Mastery of this technique requires regular practice and fine control to ensure accuracy and musicality.

Example of Tonguing

Single Tonguing For Flute