Horn Pedagogy Week 8: Rapid Tonguing, Staccato, Multiple Tonguing


With the topic of tonguing introduced last week, this week the focus is the more “advanced” forms of tonguing including rapid tonguing, staccato, and multiple tonguing, all being topics that advanced horn players must master!

All of my teachers influenced my approach to tonguing, but to start with a personal aside probably the lessons with Eli Epstein had the greatest mark on me, as I was at the time preparing professional auditions between my MM and Doctoral studies. Elements of his approach are different than described in the quotes in the readings linked below, and as he has a very recent (2012) book out, Horn Playing from the Inside Out, I would like to open with this brief quote from the chapter on articulation as a point of discussion.

Some pedagogues instruct students to use the same point of contact for the tongue in articulation for each and every note; others suggest tonguing lower notes at a lower point on the teeth, middle register notes more in the middle, and higher notes higher in the mouth. I agree with the latter approach, but my experience has taught me to be very specific about the points of tongue contact for each note, especially in the high register.

My review (in three parts) of the original 2012 edition of the Eli Epstein book is here, and just in time for these 2016 updates to the University of Horn Matters is the third edition, which incorporates information from the MRI studies. My review of that is here, this new version is one that every serious student of the horn should read.

But turning back to classic horn materials, the readings below are all from the Hornmasters series.

The readings this week include some great topics to reflect on carefully as to your personal weaknesses and solutions to those weaknesses. Be honest with yourself and take on the challenges you face in the area of tonguing. And if your teacher is not having you work on for example triple tonguing, you are not going to be equipped to play rep that you will have to perform such as Don Juan, so it is time to get on it.

That all being said, tonguing is an important topic, but for now it is time to move on. Next week the topics are tone quality, chords, and musical phrasing.

Continue to week 9 of Pedagogy Course

This is week 8 of a fourteen week course in horn pedagogy. The introductory article is here, and the series is presented for the educational purposes of our readers. 

University of Horn Matters