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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:27 pm 
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I'd like to know what tongue techniques help maximize air control with speed, for staccato note playing and for highest speed, with precision. The On/Off control of air flow by using the tongue (which can also help create powerful attack to notes). I found what I think is the easiest and fastest way, and explain it below, but would like to hear about other methods.

I've seen in dozens of flute and wind instrument training books that the "ta-ka-ta" motion of the tongue, going forward/backward or up/down with the tongue can be used. When I first started playing I found a far faster, simpler and more natural method that I rely on.

Method: side to side motion of the tip of the tongue, used to control air release.
Instruction:
First, form the air block by pressing the tongue towards the roof of the mouth this way → press the sides of the back quarter of the tongue against the left and right rows of gums supporting the upper teeth, to form an upper linear air channel braced at the back. Air coming out of the lungs must then go through that narrow high channel to get out of the mouth. Keeping the rest of the front of the tongue quite relaxed and free to move, place the front tip of the tongue lightly against the front and centre roof of the mouth about 1/2 inch above the teeth line on the inside of the mouth, just slightly higher than where the curve of the gum line with teeth meets the grand arc of the roof of the mouth. You'll feel the ridge of the area where the teeth are, curve sharply and then the smoother surface just above, where the roof of the mouth starts. Place the tip of the tongue there, about 1/4" or so, up into the roof of the mouth. Then try blowing air out and you should feel it entirely blocked because the tongue has formed a full barrier to air motion out of the mouth, when the tip is centred.

NOTE: after doing this many times to try to create these instructions, it's obvious that it helps at this point to firm up the embouchure and cheeks as if you are playing a flute or large whistle, recorder, sax, clarinet, etc.).

The tip of the tongue is then moved in a sweeping motion, left to right, about 1/2" to 3/4" off to each side. Air will flow freely when the tip of the tongue is moved to either side. IMPORTANT: You need to keep the tip of the tongue ALWAYS in contact with the front of the mouth, but only with a light pressure, enough to make an air seal when in the middle of the mouth. The tip must feel free enough to move VERY rapidly side to side, to sound like a trill of staccato notes.

Practice putting the tongue into position for this air trap to totally seal off air flow. The sides of the tongue seal off the air flow around the whole side of the tongue, at the same height along the upper gums, all the way around. You can move the tip of the tongue back and forth side-to-side far faster, and with far more precise control of air, than trying to move the tongue up/down or forward/backward with high speed. As soon as you move the tongue tip off to one side, air seal is broken and air flows at full speed out. With just a little practice of side-to-side motion of the tongue tip, a very fast and clearly defined staccato note sequence can be played with a lot of control over speed and precise stops/starts, and the tongue really doesn't get tired of this, because so little of the tongue moves very much. The back part of the tongue doesn't move at all, it's braced against the upper gums. Practice moving the tongue side to side as rapidly as possible, and feel the air starting and stopping in accord with where the tip of the tongue is. You should be able to hit 5 to maybe 10 notes a second.

It takes little effort once you know what you're doing. Practice tongue position up high as an air trap, then practice left/right motion of the tip of the tongue as an on/off air release, and then both, to get control of air perfected, with maximum speed. You can also practice it using different air pressures, from low to highest, to find out your ability to use this method to create a powerful attack on notes, if you want, or to relax it and make it much smoother in effect.

I've shown this method to other flute players and they went from "beginner" status to expert in about 1 minute. There's only so much to it. :pint:

If anyone has a successful method where the tongue is used as a stop/start air flow control by contacting the mouthpiece of the whistle, I'd like to know about it. I've tried it and it's possible but a little awkward, and prone to drive saliva into the windway, so I've dropped that idea.


Last edited by RoberTunes on Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:11 am, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:41 pm 
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Fascinating! In this case I think a video is worth a thousand words because as many times as I read it over I still can't replicate the effect. Words tend to fall short of describing a technique. The best I can do is say one method I use is "tu-tl-uh" for a triplet, as you feel when you say the word 'little'. The tongue stop is performed by pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth and upper back teeth.

A second way is "tuh-kuh-tuh" which uses a tongue stop in the back of the mouth by the throat.

A third way is vibrating the tip of the tongue by holding it against the roof of the mouth and blowing. It's how you making a 'purr' noise like a cat. This way doesn't stop the air flow and I've heard it more on flutes than whistles.

If there's a fourth way I'd love to learn it! The others have their drawbacks and all of them tend to build up saliva so if you have a song with hundreds of triplets it gets...messy.

PS - I am well aware of the absurdly easy innuendo on this post!

-Peter


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:18 pm 
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I don't have video of any of that, but I can quickly draw some diagrams of the essential points, maybe 3 or 4 images to show how it works. Will take me a little while......

As I read your list of techniques, the first two seem to be where the tip of the tongue is moving up and down, with some related movement of the back of the tongue. I will make strange noises and try to figure them out while drawing diagrams.

My method doesn't build up saliva and doesn't involve any altered contact with the flute (where it started), or any contact with a whistle windway. So saliva, spit, gob and pasta sauce should not become an issue.


Last edited by RoberTunes on Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:14 pm 
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From what I can tell from the long description, is that you are describing triple tonguing. It's a technique that doesn't get all that much use in traditional music on tin whistle, but I use it on a few tunes.

There's some interesting stuff here from Sarah Jeffrey about double and triple tonguing. btw. she's also a tin whistle player.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnPB1_y7wRM

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:05 am 
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I just use the tongue on the back of the upper teeth - pronouncing 'ta' - for a triple saying 'ta-ta-ta' fast.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:24 pm 
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That Sarah Jeffrey video is pretty amazing; I came across it a few weeks ago. Need to spend some time with it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:30 pm 
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Adrian W. wrote:
That Sarah Jeffrey video is pretty amazing; I came across it a few weeks ago. Need to spend some time with it.


I wish Sarah Jeffrey reviewed a lot more whistles, because she's great at recorder reviews and describing instrument use to musicians, in a very understandable and fully detailed way. There are about 10 whistle reviewers I get updates on, and someone of that talent for communication could be #11.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:37 am 
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RoberTunes wrote:
I wish Sarah Jeffrey reviewed a lot more whistles, because she's great at recorder reviews and describing instrument use to musicians, in a very understandable and fully detailed way.

Sarah Jeffrey is a fine recorder player with many excellent recorder videos. But her understanding of trad/whistle style seems limited, and her jig rhythm here is completely garbled (and not just once because she does it repeatedly throughout that video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofSYOBn2HWc&feature=youtu.be&t=270

I've also seen this one ('how to play folk music on your recorder') before and thought her outside her area of expertise:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vydCZ-HosQc
In fact, just noticed that I commented on it (as petestack) two years ago!

So afraid I'd take whatever she says about whistles or trad with a pinch of salt.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:55 am 
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Quote:
Sarah Jeffrey is a fine recorder player with many excellent recorder videos. But her understanding of trad/whistle style seems limited, and her jig rhythm here is completely garbled (and not just once because she does it repeatedly throughout that video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofSYOBn ... u.be&t=270


Aaargh, Banish Misfortune thoroughly murdered. It is an ongoing source of amazement how musicians competent in one field seem to be completely incapable of playing a simple tune like that anywhere decent. Play it fast, play it rushed, inarticulate and without any phrasing or any sense of understanding the music. And with a complete and utter unawareness they are butchering the tune. Weird.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:50 am 
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That's what mystifies me too. Regardless of trad credentials, she's well musical enough to spot what she's done there, and I just can't believe she's let it go, put it out there and left it up when it would show up a beginner let alone someone of her obvious talent and following.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:06 am 
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I'm glad I'm not the only one, who thinks she is great in her field of expertise but not a good whistle player.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:23 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
RoberTunes wrote:
I wish Sarah Jeffrey reviewed a lot more whistles, because she's great at recorder reviews and describing instrument use to musicians, in a very understandable and fully detailed way.

Sarah Jeffrey is a fine recorder player with many excellent recorder videos. But her understanding of trad/whistle style seems limited, and her jig rhythm here is completely garbled (and not just once because she does it repeatedly throughout that video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofSYOBn2HWc&feature=youtu.be&t=270
So afraid I'd take whatever she says about whistles or trad with a pinch of salt.


When someone posts a review of a whistle on YouTube, I want to know about the whistle features and playability and how it compares to other whistles if that can help understand the whistle. I don't care what they know about Irish Traditional Music, at all, ever, it's irrelevant. ITM isn't even 0.1% of what I play or want to play, I mentioned a high quality reviewer I found and several people got it in their heads to hijack the topic and pretend that ITM is the only world that whistlers live in and that's what they're going to talk about. Does that happen a lot?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:59 pm 
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RoberTunes wrote:
and several people got it in their heads to hijack the topic and pretend that ITM is the only world that whistlers live in and that's what they're going to talk about.

If you think that, you don't know me at all. (Just Google 'the overbearing 'Irishness' of C&F' to see!)

But, that said, I do think Sarah Jeffrey's understanding of (typical) trad/whistle style relevant to her ability to review whistles in terms of what most folk would expect them to do, and dispute your accusation that that's hijacking your topic.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:31 pm 
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RoberTunes wrote:
several people got it in their heads to hijack the topic
I'd say the hijack started right here:
Quote:
I wish Sarah Jeffrey reviewed a lot more whistles


Mr.Gumby wrote:
Aaargh, Banish Misfortune thoroughly murdered.
My facility at ITM is negligible, but even I can agree with Mr.G. after only a few bars. If you're going to play a tune to illustrate what an instrument can do, please play a tune you know how to play properly.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:05 pm 
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RoberTunes wrote:
and pretend that ITM is the only world that whistlers live in

Also, I didn't even mention Irish or 'ITM', and neither did Mr.Gumby or Sedi. Sarah Jeffrey tries to play a 'folk tune' (which just happens to be an Irish jig) in her recorder review, and talks about cuts, taps, rolls etc. applied to the English 'Bear Dance' in her folk tutorial. You're the one who specified Irish, when in fact these techniques are now pretty well common currency of diverse whistle styles.

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