Developing double tonguing is an important technique that will enable you to play fast note groupings accurately and evenly. It is definitely worth spending a little time on this to achieve a clear, even sound.
You should already have looked at the triple tonguing post – if you haven’t, please do that first. It is far better to have developed and understood triple tonguing before starting double tonguing. This way all that needs to happen is that you take away a TUH – much easier than learning to add one!
Be confident and sure with triple tonguing. Do not start this until you are able to triple tongue accurately and with confidence.
As with triple tonguing, high brass players can follow this advice and it will produce brilliant results, but low brass players will need to adapt the sound that they use to ensure that the result is not heavily accented, or thin in sound. Allow the sound you make to be your guide, and aim to produce a good, even sound in all registers. Keep listening as this may require the use of different vowel sounds in different registers.
The pattern I believe gives the most even response is:
If you are unsure how to make these two sounds, go back and check out the triple tonguing post for details.
Double tonguing is the repetition of these three sounds:
TUH, KUH, TUH, KUH, TUH, KUH, TUH, KUH
The really important thing is to achieve an even pattern and good tone quality produced at speed. As with triple tonguing the best way to make this work is to try it out slowly. Build up muscle memory before trying to get the muscles to work quickly.
1) Say TUH KUH individually and think about tongue placement
- Does your tongue always fall flat to the bottom of your mouth?
- Does the TUH sound happen behind your top front teeth?
- Does the KUH sound feel as though it happens toward the back of the tongue?
- Keep supporting this with air (As Arnold Jacobs would say: Wind = Song)
2) Practice TUH KUH at about 60bpm. This means each of the two syllables occur in one second
3) Do this without an instrument for a couple of days. Don’t go any faster, keep it really steady
4) Practice this with your instrument with a real focus on sound quality
- Does the KUH sound work as well as the TUH sound?
5) Keep the speed slow (60bpm) and focus on quality – not speed and work on this for about a couple of weeks
6) Following this, increase the tempo by 5bpm week by week whilst practicing without and with the instrument
7) To make this work it is important to practice this skill every day
8) As you become proficient, you may want to try and increase the speed by trying to go as fast as possible with good accuracy and sound
After a while you will find that you can double tongue with accuracy, good quality sound and your technique will be secure. If you take the time and work on this slowly you will find that you have built up a solid technique.
Good luck and please do let me know if you have found this useful, or if you have found any problems with any of the suggestions.