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Thread: TRIPLE TONGUING at Light Speed: Herbert L. Clarke - Grand Russian Fantasy

  1. #1

    TRIPLE TONGUING at Light Speed: Herbert L. Clarke - Grand Russian Fantasy

    I just uploaded this video and was amazed for about the 20th time as I listened to it. Grand Russian Fantasy (Jules Levy) is a solo I have played several times. The final variation is all triple tonguing (although there is an ossia option that is all arpeggios). Clarke zips through that triple tonguing at a tempo of about 140 for each double triplet! I think I have approached or gotten to 120 on my best day, but...wow!

    My grad school teacher told to keep my tongue closer to the front of my mouth as I was triple tonguing. That means it has to cover less distance with each strike and gives a bit more speed. That works, but I don't know if a euphonium can get to this speed (especially on modern large horns and mouthpieces). What do you think?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0r-I_-ILQ8

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  2. #2
    140 is pretty darn fast. Mark Glover plays about 112-114 on Devil's Tongue, and he is a pretty good triple tonguer. I can play sustained double triplets at about 112, and I can play a few sets of triplets at 120, but I have a hard time keeping a sustained 120 tempo. If I work on my tonguing for a month or so, I can usually get it 5-10 beats per minute faster than my usual speed.

    So Dave, how much do you think the size of the mouthpiece has to do with the speed you can obtain? I have heard tuba players triple tongue as fast as I can on euphonium. Do you think the size of the mouthpiece is very significant or not so much?
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    So Dave, how much do you think the size of the mouthpiece has to do with the speed you can obtain? I have heard tuba players triple tongue as fast as I can on euphonium. Do you think the size of the mouthpiece is very significant or not so much?
    Not exactly, but kinda. I think the limitation is the amount of air we are trying to control. Cornets use a considerably smaller quantity of air by volume than euph/tuba players. Trombone and baritone use slightly less than euphonium. Tuba uses more. So euphoniums are somewhat more hampered and tuba players even more hampered for multiple tonguing speed compared to cornet. My theory, anyway.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. #4
    So here is an interesting article: http://www.conforg.fr/isma2014/cdrom...les/000057.pdf

    My theory is that the same person, or perhaps more clearly defined as any experienced or professional musician, can single, double or triple tongue on a trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone, euphonium or tuba at about the same maximum speed. If you "tongue" attacks without a mouthpiece, be it single, double or triple tonguing, that same speed you have without a mouthpiece carries over to an instrument, be it a trumpet or a trombone. Regardless of the wind needed to blow the instrument. The wind needed is sort of irrelevant to tonguing.

    The article above states that a professional could reach the same tonguing speed on a trumpet or a tuba. I agree with that. I play trombone, euphonium and tuba and now even a little cornet/bugle. I can tongue on all of them at roughly the same speed. The tuba may be less precise and clear in the articulations (think tonguing in the low register on euphonium), but I can still go the same speed.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  5. #5
    Thanks, John. I'll read that when I have time to digest it, but I'm going in as a skeptic!

    What I probably should have mentioned is that my theory is based on getting solid, pitched notes while tonguing. Many years ago I heard a VERY well known euphonium soloist play a solo with double tonguing. His tempo was fine, but there was no "body" to the notes - it was all tongue. That started me down this path.

    Producing any proper note on euphonium requires more air than a comparable note (in the respective instruments' registers) on cornet. The opening made by the tongue on release the note (the attack) has to be larger to move more air.

    I know from experience that I can tongue as fast on tuba as on euphonium, but not with the same note quality. And on the other side, my baritone sure makes a piece like Concert Etude easier to play at the tempo I want.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    ....I know from experience that I can tongue as fast on tuba as on euphonium, but not with the same note quality. And on the other side, my baritone sure makes a piece like Concert Etude easier to play at the tempo I want.
    That is a good point, and I agree with that.

    In fact, not too long ago here in Rapid City, I heard a tuba player from a service band from Nebraska (I think), playing in their quintet, a very good quintet I might add. He was playing Czardas on his tuba. He went fast as heck, but his clarity and preciseness was clearly lacking on the fast parts. You just could not distinguish the notes, it was a blur. So fast that I think it would have sounded much better slower where the notes played could be discerned.

    So, I will adjust my theory to this: You can double or triple tongue as fast on a large brass instrument (mouthpiece) as you can on a smaller brass instrument (mouthpiece), but it will sound better, cleaner and crisper, and be perhaps more accurate, on the higher pitched brass instrument at the same maximum speed.

    I find this topic interesting because I have always been interested and enchanted with multiple tonguing.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  7. #7
    My experience as someone who doubles between trumpet and euphonium tends to align with Dave's thinking on this. I find I can actually be lazier in my double tonguing speed on trumpet than on euphonium and still be clear enough to get the job done. With the smaller volume of air and narrower air stream, there's just less work for the tongue to do on trumpet. For me, the difference is especially noticeable on the back stroke. On euphonium, I have to be very quick and precise in both placing the stroke and getting the tongue out of the way to let enough air through. The effect is much more pronounced on the lowest three partials. The open vowel makes for a lot of distance to cover. Trumpet is much more forgiving.
    Adrian L. Quince
    Composer, Conductor, Euphoniumist
    www.adrianquince.com

    Kanstul 976 - SM4U

  8. #8
    So, I find this interesting. So much so that I just broke out my euphonium, trombone, cornet and Eb tuba. Playing in the sweet spot on all of them (sort of the mid range, not too high, not too low), I did some single, double, and triple tonguing on each of them. I play at virtually the same maximum speed on every one of them. For non believers, I may break out my camcorder and record each of them. Using the euphonium, which is my main instrument and the one I am the most proficient on, as the starting point, showing my maximum speed on that horn, and then showing that same speed on all the others (smaller and larger).

    My argument has been that you can tongue/multiple tongue on all brass instruments at about the same maximum speed on each of them. There are some additional details in the discussion. When I am double or triple tonguing on my euphonium, if I go down chromatically, there comes a point in the low register and real low register where the notes just get muddy and it is hard to tongue clearly/cleanly in this range, or even at the same speed. I submit that is the case on all of the brass instruments, that is, as you go lower and lower, it becomes more difficult to tongue cleanly at the same speed you can when playing in the sweet spot of the horn. Also probably true at the higher extremes of the horns. This may be the reason it may seem easier to multiple tongue on a trumpet than it is to do the same on a tuba. Even a tuba in its sweet spot, is probably not as clean and clear sounding as a trumpet in its sweet spot.

    The article I reference above is a good read on this topic.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

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