Masterclass Handout
Multiple Tonguing

Develop good multiple tonguing before you need it and beyond your needs!


Many low brass players don't develop a good, reliable triple and double tongue, waiting instead until they must play some quick "tatakatataka tum" in ensemble, and then practicing just enough to muddle through that.

This is a shame, as this technique goes beyond being able to tongue quickly on a single pitch. Mastering the technique of multiple tonguing can add great agility, flexibility, lightness, and variety to your playing. It can literally expand your articulation palette. I worked diligently on this, starting after about three years of playing (age 11) and using the Arban book, which is for me still the most concentrated, efficient method to master the technique.

It gave me great satisfaction (and still does) to be able to rattle off fast passages, but I also use triple and double tonguing in passages that don't demand it for sheer speed. One example of this would be the final few lines of movement I in the Larsson Concertino, with the quick, legato triplets. DadagaDadagaDadagaDum, DadagaDadagaDadagaDum, DadagaDum, DadagaDum, etc. When the technique has been mastered, you will find countless applications, and wonder how you got by without it before.

Please note the order: triple and double tonguing. Arban claims that if one learns to triple tongue, then double tonguing will come very easily. It makes sense to me, as first of all, the double tongue is contained within triple tonguing, and secondly, "three-sies" develop their own momentum better than "two-sies". Work on the exercises as Arban lays them out, making sure you advance to the exercises that move around a note at a time. Practice triple and double tonguing your scales and arpeggios.