Double and Triple Tongue on Brass

Double or triple tonguing passages on brass instruments can sound very exciting and fanfaric and can create a great effect of forward motion. They are created by interrupting the air flow into the instrument with the tongue with patterns that would sound like “tuh-kuh” or “tuh-kuh-tuh” if spoken.

Especially quick repetitions of the same note can be very exciting. A good example is the beginning of the Star Wars Main Theme before the theme enters where you can hear a lot of repeated notes in the brass, creating that fanfaric opening feeling. Also, in this piece we get to hear the fantastic effect of brass doing multiple tongueing particularly at the 1:30 mark.

However, use these playing technique with care. If overused they can create a fatigue for the ear as well as they can’t be played for a long time by the players as it takes quite a lot of stamina. It also takes quite professional players to pull these off properly, particulary evenness of all notes as well as tightness between instruments playing the same rhythm are usual problems that might need a few takes. This playing technique can also be executed on runs and other simple melodic figures. However, the faster and the melodically more complicated these figures are, the trickier their execution will become.


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