Basic Tongue Techniques | Saxophone Lessons


Hey, this is Troy Roberts and I’m going to
talk about basic tonguing techniques for the alto saxophone. Tonguing a note is essentially starting a
note with the tongue on the reed, giving it a beginning really. Your obvious way is to block the air flow
and then start the airflow with your tongue. When playing scales not staccato but articulated,
it’s important to keep the air flow constant, so the tongue now starts and stops the reed,
not the air flow. Just from under here, like that. You should hear the airflow still continue. You hear the air continuing and the note starting
and stopping. Another way of tonguing is very staccato where
you’re actually stopping and starting the airflow. There’s another tonguing technique called
slap tongue, which is almost another way of articulating is very staccato where you’re
actually blocking the airflow and starting the note with a heavy attack. You hear no airflow in between there. That’s generally called something like staccato. Another tonguing technique is slap tonguing,
which is the feeling of smacking out a low note but not following through with the air. It’s kind of a tricky technique, but it’s
one of those things like riding a bicycle. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it, but it’s
tricky to get there. It’s almost like heavily articulating a low
note, but not following through. It’s really just a pocket of air happening
in your mouth. That’s a slap tongue attack, or it’s another
form of articulation. There’s also another, I’m not sure if there’s
a technical word for this, but I kind of call it my half tonguing a note, which is where
you kind of mute a note, the airflow is still going, but you’ve got your tongue on the reed
but still producing a note. This is what it sounds like. That can kind of emulate what trumpet plays
call doodle tonguing.

23 thoughts on “Basic Tongue Techniques | Saxophone Lessons

  1. Remember to be realistic – you must do some work whatever system you follow for learning sax I have spent months researching into how to play sax and discovered a great resource at Takiras Music Method (google it if you are interested)

  2. I try this, it tickles my tongue very much. How do I do it so the tip of my tongue does not tickle so much? I never tongue before, play sax for many years.

    Thank you.

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