Articulation – tonguing between the lips

In my previous blog I wrote about one approach to basic or default articulation. For this post, I thought I would look at another form of tonguing that is also quite common and useful, namely tonguing between the lips.

Tonguing between the lips produces a very precise and clear beginning to a note and is the articulation method favoured by the Suzuki method of learning, analogous to spitting a grain of rice.

To achieve this articulation, place the tip of the tongue on the inside lower edge of the upper lip. The tongue will act like a gentle plug in the aperture. Once your tongue is in place quickly draw it back into your mouth releasing the air. Try this with a grain of rice by placing one grain of rice on your tongue, put your tongue into position and literally spit the grain of rice out of your mouth.

This method of articulation is beautifully clear and  can work very well for situations such as the opening B of the Faure Fantasie.

I’m quite slow at repeating notes with this method but probably I just need to practise it more. Some players even choose to use this articulation for the first note after each breath or rest. It’s certainly a lovely clear way to start a note and worth adding to your repertoire of articulation.

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