On the trumpet, we have the basic articulations of single tongue, triple tongue and double tongue. These are well-explained in most methods, although I should state that there are different opinions about the sequence for triple tongue. Arban stipulated t-t-k, but many trumpeters instead play t-k-t. Every now and then we have to do something a little different, however. This post is about some of those unusual tonguings.
- Group of 5. In Stravinsky’s Royal March from the Soldier’s Tale, it is traditional for trumpeters to articulate the groups of five (originally marked slurred). This can be done is a variety of ways: 3 + 2 (triple tongue + double), 2 + 3, or 2 + 2 + 1 (two doubles plus an extra single). There is no right answer, so the student should pick one and stick to it. This excerpt takes a while to feel comfortable on.
- Scheherazade tonguing. From the fourth movement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s popular orchestral piece, there is a figure that must be played fast, and it is usually executed as a single tongue + triple.
- Flutter tonguing. This is merely fluttering the tongue as if you were rolling an “r” in the word “burrito.”
- Doodle tonguing. This is a soft, but fast, articulation. If you say “doodle” over and over, you will get the correct idea. Luciano Berio puts it in his Sequenza X, but sometimes jazz players (e.g., Clark Terry) will use it (in fact, Berio was thinking of Clark Terry’s tonguing when he specified this tonguing in the Berio). In the following excerpt, you can see, at the very beginning, a flutter tongue (FT) and then you will see DT (doodle tongue), VT Stands for valve tremolo.
- I should also mention early baroque articulation. In Fantini’s method book of 1638, he specifies recommended consonants (English speakers need to remember that these are from the view point of an Italian speaker) to use for different levels of crispness/smoothness.