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 Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: metalheadsimon 
Date:   2011-04-16 00:25

Hey guys,

Im just wondering what experiences you have all had in regards of anchor tonguing, as when working out what im physically doing in regards of tonguing this is what im doing.

Most posts i have seen have encountered problems with not been able to tongue at what most people see as an average speed (semiquavers when crotchet=140) or been able to lightly tongue notes. Both of these problems i have got theories on how to get beyond but was just curious on any other feedback on this method of tonguing.

Any interest would be greatly helpful to both me and my clarinet teacher

Cheers

Simon Cowton

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Bob Phillips 
Date:   2011-04-16 05:14

Anchor tonguing is not good technique. It correlates embouchure with articulation when they should be separate functions.

Bob Phillips

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: clarinetguy 2017
Date:   2011-04-16 05:46

As a clarinet player since 1964, I have never used anchor tonguing. It's probably safe to say that most clarinet players today regard this method as completely wrong. In a recent article about clarinet tonguing in the Instrumentalist magazine, the writer had nothing good to say about it.

I have never taught anchor tonguing to any student. Having said that, it's important to recognize that everyone's tongue is different. There are some who have limited tongue flexibility. There are others who have very long tongues. If there is someone who after a lot of effort just cannot tongue in the traditional tip-to-tip way, it might be worth giving anchor tonguing a try.

Many years ago, I studied with Keith Stein. He never discussed anchor tonguing with me, but in his "Art of Clarinet Playing," he does mention it. If this is what you're currently doing and would like to learn more about it, his book does discuss it in some depth. According to Stein, "the French school of playing has successfully incorporated the mid-tongue method to take care of the 'long tongue' problem." (p. 23) I have never heard this from anyone else, but I'll take Stein at his word.

Stein's longtime pupil, David Pino, also discusses anchor tonguing in his book, "The Clarinet and Clarinet Playing." Pino doesn't exactly advocate anchor tonguing, but he doesn't dismiss it either. He mentions it as a solution for those " . . . who have great difficulties using the tip of the tongue on the tip of the reed." (p. 85)

I've never met Howard Klug, but it doesn't appear that he disapproves of anchor tonguing either. Here's a link:
http://music.unt.edu/clarinet/PDF/tipsForTonguing.pdf
On one point he appears to differ from Stein. Klug approves of it if the end of the tongue is anchored "at the base of the bottom teeth," but he disapproves if the tongue is anchored on the lip (although he doesn't say where on the lip). In contrast, Stein discusses a couple alternate methods of anchor tonguing in which the tongue tip or the underside of the tongue tip is placed on the lower lip membrane.

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2011-04-16 07:30

IMHO, it's a case of "only solve the problem if the problem exists." If you're tonguing quickly and lightly with anchor tonguing and it's not causing issues, carry on, and spend your time on more pressing (and more oft neglected) matters, like musicality.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2011-04-16 15:43

>> IMHO, it's a case of "only solve the problem if the problem exists." >>

I agree with that, but for me (adult amateur) the problem did exist for years -- without my realizing it. I anchor-tongued as a beginner. I never had private lessons and I didn't know any better. My band teacher from grammar school through 8th grade played clarinet professionally. He did teach correct tonguing (I know because, little geek that I was at age nine, I took notes), but somewhere along the line I started anchor-tonguing on my own without realizing I'd changed anything. Either he didn't discuss anchor tonguing later or (more likely...) I was doing something else when I should have been listening.

In high school, I became aware of anchor-tonguing as an impediment to speed. Can't remember any more whether I read something or somebody told me something. Anyway, I found it hard to break the anchor-tonguing habit, but I'm glad I did. With tip-tonguing, I could play fast, staccato passages with far less danger of squeaking or tripping over my own tognue and falling apart into those silly-sounding mumbling noises.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2011-04-16 16:01

I have known some prominent players who have anchor tongued and sounded just fine. If it causes a problem, then it may be an issue. I support changing embouchure or tonguing if it causes and issue, but not just for the sake of changing.

I anchor tongued in my youth as I just picked it up that way. Speed was not an issue, as I can't tongue all that fast either way!

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2011-04-16 16:38

First let me say that I doubt that the Average clarinet player can tongue 16th notes at 140 for any length of time. Sure, there are many players that can do that but certainly not the Average player. With that said, I think clarinetguy gave you very good advise. In Perter Hadcock's book The Working Clarinetists, he tells how he always anchor tongued as well as tonguing the "proper" way. It is true that most teachers will change a student to tongue the "proper" way and that is probably a good thing for most students because anchor has it's limitations with most students. With that said, if you can anchor tongue well but have limitations you should learn to tongue the "proper" way as well and if necessary use both techniques as the passage calls for. The most important thing is to make the music sound musical regardless of how you accomplish it.
Some players that have long or thick tongues have to use alternate ways of tonguing like double tonguing to play certain passages correctly. I have some suggestions on tonguing on my clarinet pages on my website if you're interested but I do not cover anchor tonguing. ESP http://eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2011-04-16 18:56

If you can anchor-tongue fast and light enough, there's no reason not to do it. Mitchell Lurie and Karl Leister both used it.

I started with anchoring but changed because tip-to-tip tonguing worked better. It wasn't easy. My anchored tongue supported my lower lip, and doing without that support was tough. I'm glad I worked through it, though.

Ken Shaw

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: gsurosey 
Date:   2011-04-16 20:12

What is anchor tonguing exactly? I've never heard of it.

----------
Rachel

Bb/A: Buffet R13
Eb/Bass: Bundy

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: metalheadsimon 
Date:   2011-04-16 20:25

Rachel,

Instead of touching the tip of the reed with the tip of the tongue, you position the tip of the tongue behind your bottom lip, then move the tongue in an up and down motion to stop the reed using a further back part of the tongue.

From what i have found, there is less room for error than tip for tongue and you have to be a lot more accurate, however for me this works providing clean and accurate and fast articulation. As your tongue arches further back as you ascend into the higher registers, this provides less room between the reed and the part of the tongue used during anchor tonguing, however by altering the angle of which the clarinet is with the body slightly, you can provide more room, and therefore the same quality can be produced.

Its only become a point of interest as my teacher and i have been trying to work on my tonguing speed and to do this we needed to figure out what was going on inside my mouth. I was surprised to find that a fair few of my fellow students, out of 15 of us there were 6 that positioned the tongue behind the bottom lip

Hope this is of help and of interest

Simon Cowton

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2011-04-17 11:39

>> What is anchor tonguing exactly? >>

Conventional tonguing puts the tongue in the position to say "tah." Anchor tonguing puts the tongue in the position to say "gah."

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Chetclarinet 
Date:   2011-04-17 12:50

I have anchor tongued for 47 plus years and say "tah" in addition to other sylables easily. My tongue is lightly anchored below the lip, and at times is on the lip. I can of course tongue easily in a conventional tip to tip manner also. Out of choice, I prefer a shallow anchor tongue for playing bass clarinet particularly. It allows more room for the air to addres the reed without impedence from the tongue stroke. I can tongue quickly , play the Mendelsson Scherzo at 88 and have really had no serious professional tonguing problems over my career. I do teach tip to tip tonguing to my students, but also allow differences in tonguing style. My teacher,Stanley Hasty, strongly preferred tip to tip articulation and he and I worked hard when I was a student at Eastman to do tip to tip tonguing. One day, I was tonguing with a shallow anchor and asked him if it was clean and to his likeing and he sad yes. Somehow, it works for me!



Post Edited (2011-04-17 12:52)

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2011-04-17 15:40

>>Conventional tonguing puts the tongue in the position to say "tah." Anchor tonguing puts the tongue in the position to say "gah."<<

That depends on how you pronounce those syllables. I'd call anchor tonguing "tuh". I can't anchor tongue in the "gah" position, as it draws my tongue too far back. I'd consider "tah" and "gah" to be double-tongue components of the same tongue placement.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: JAS 
Date:   2011-04-17 17:26

I used to anchor tongue so well that the people i studied with actually didn't notice. It was a very light, precise stroke and i was getting pretty fast with it too.
Then I actually asked people if what I was doing was wrong, and everyone I talked to was skeptical. I decided that I was going to get rid of anchor tonguing going into my first year of college (about a year ago) and it improved several aspects of my sound, but I couldn't tongue faster than 100 BPM for weeks. I'm still struggling to get faster than 125 or so in my freshman year of college, which is rough, but it certainly beats what I was doing before. I would never go back to anchor tonguing, although what didn't work for me might work for someone else.
Most of us know that Peter Hadcock would have said about it...

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: rob4 
Date:   2020-03-27 01:31

Hoping some of you guys above me in this post might still be reading, particularly those who changed from anchor to tip tonguing.
I am an adult player, been doing anchor ever since school, but now deciding to change to tip tonguing to see if I can finally tongue quicker.
What do you say about tone? I sound like a kazooo again, like I did 20 years ago! Also sorry but each note sounds like I am squeezing out a soggy sponge.
Help! 😬

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-03-27 04:26

rob4 wrote:

> What do you say about tone? I sound like a kazooo again, like I
> did 20 years ago! Also sorry but each note sounds like I am
> squeezing out a soggy sponge.
> Help! 😬

These problems may be tagging along with your switch in tonguing approach, but they aren't a direct result of tip-to-tip tonguing or the switch. They come from something that's wrong in your approach to embouchure and/or oral shape when you tongue with the tip. The two don't necessarily go together. There are lots of tip tonguers who don't sound like kazoos or produce a note shape like squeezing out a soggy sponge.

Not only that, but tip tonguing may not improve your speed, either. Sluggish tonguing comes from tension in the tongue and associated muscles and/or unresponsive reeds and/or a weak or unsteady air stream. Tension can happen with anchor tonguing or tip-to-tip tonguing.

Tonguing that's simply slower than other players may well be just who you are - some players can tongue faster than others.

You'll have to concentrate when you go back and forth between tonguing styles on what *else* is changing in your face and inside your mouth. If you produce a sound you like when anchoring, you have to figure out how to redirect your tongue, which is not in itself a large change, without reshaping everything else.

BTW, there are lots of clarinetists who sound perfectly fine who anchor tongue. You don't know it because you can't hear it if everything is optimal. You *can* tongue lightly with the middle of your tongue as long as you're not pressing into the reed and you aren't forming a hollow in the middle of your tongue (which will create noise and can produce a classic slap tongue effect).

Karl

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-03-27 05:45

I agree with Karl on all of the above. I have softened on my objection to anchor tonguing if the sound or clarity of attack doesn't suffer.


Also as Karl alludes to, there are "fast twitch" and "slow twitch" muscles. If you are burdened with a greater amount of "slow twitch" musculature (in your tongue) there is nothing you can do to appreciably increase your single tonguing speed and perhaps anchor tonguing may lend itself better to developing a double tongue technique (I don't know this, but it does start you off with some of the tongue out of the way).



see this video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoInFr4b8kQ



Anyway don't sweat the tip-to-tip too much of speed is the only factor in your decision.




................Paul Aviles



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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: rob4 
Date:   2020-03-27 23:20

Thanks for your responses, both very helpful.
Rob

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: rob4 
Date:   2020-03-28 13:17

For others in the same position, Ken Shaw’s post on this is helpful

http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=6899&t=6887


Also this is a useful video

https://youtu.be/J1hAxA5VdSc

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: donald 
Date:   2020-03-29 05:14

It's worth noting that (as mentioned above) there are variations of "anchor tonguing". I have a variation of it where it's the same action as described above, but the tip of my tongue is NOT anchored or touching anything.
I find this way I can tongue quite accurately at speed, but definitely do NOT want to use this technique for tonguing at slower speeds (ie 16ths under 112/116). This has bothered me for some time, as the changeover from one to the other can sometimes create an unfocussed moment, so this is actually something I've been thinking about and investigating for some time.
One thing I discovered, though it might seem obvious, is that the angle the clarinet is held at changes the distance that the tip of the mouthpiece enters the mouth (same applies to how bowed your head may or may not be).
When the tip is further IN, you tend to need to pull the tongue back into the mouth ever so slightly- creating tension.
The natural place to do tip to tip tonguing is forward in the mouth, allowing easy action because the tongue isn't already in a state of tension.
This explains why most clarinet players can tongue an air sound faster (and more accurately) than they can tongue on the reed. Sure, the fact that the reed has to move/stop/move (ie physical movement is involved, unlike on the flute) has some influence here.
So my recipe....
- clarinet at steeper angle/head up, tip to tip works better, more natural feeling.
- clarinet at higher angle/head down, tip to tip more tension, anchor tonguing style more natural and faster.
Of course results may vary, but I've found I've been able to help advanced students with this knowledge, and have seen it's findings proven when working with students of all levels.
BTW- I used to have a bootleg recording of Ricardo playing a solo recital, shortly after he got the Met job. His tonguing was FAST, and this was the period in which I am told he was anchor tonguing. It was also very, for want of a better word, "blatty" and not at all delicate. It was an amazing performance and very impressive in terms of virtuosity and accuracy but I recall not liking his articulated passages.
I have since heard him live in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 and don't recall having the same reaction as I did to this earlier performance. I have always wondered if this was connected to his use of anchor tonguing and that he may have moderated his use of it? That said, I myself have instances where I use it for extreme articulation passages.
dn

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Jarmo Hyvakko 
Date:   2020-03-29 10:55

Anchor tonguing doesn't go as far back in the tongue as "gah". The difference is something between "dee" (tip) and "thee" (anchor). My version of anchor tonguing goes like this: my lower lip is not very much in my mouth, it is on the teeth but just a bit inside mouth, my tip of the tongue touches very lightly the back of the lower lip, it is not under not even to mention it to touch the teeth. I articulate the tongue touching the reed as if i said the or thee, so the touching point is some 1 cm or 2/5 of an inch behind the tip of the tongue. I am articulating slightly below the tip of the reed.

I am able to articulate short passages well above 140 semiquavers, so i don't see the anchor tonguing to be an issue concerning fastness. As a matter of fact, i could imagine tiptotip causing slowness to some people, so stiff i feel my toungue to be, if i bend it to a position to articulate tiptotip!

I think the greatest advantage of anchor tonguing is, that you are better equipped to variate the quality of your attack compared to tip to tip, that to me seems to produce only one kind that sounds like "p". And, in orchestral playing it is nice to be able to produce the whole spectrum from flutists' "pff" to oboists' razorsharp "t".

I apologize the tip-to-tip fundamentalists, that i reveal my heretic secrets of anchor tonguing

Principal Clarinet, Tampere Philharmonic, Finland

Post Edited (2020-03-29 11:07)

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Jarmo Hyvakko 
Date:   2020-03-29 11:01

And for all of you, who are anchor tonguing i say:

Ego te absolvo!

Principal Clarinet, Tampere Philharmonic, Finland

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2020-03-29 18:48

I think the important thing is to not get hung up on the details, but rather what it sounds like. Tongue length and size can vary as can speed. I think it is essential that each player find what works best and sounds good.

Years ago I anchor tongued until a teacher told me that I should change. I transitioned over and am not sure if it was an improvement or not, perhaps it was just different. I could never tongue fast either way!

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: donald 
Date:   2020-03-30 00:32

Interesting that Mr Hyvakko wrote...
"As a matter of fact, i could imagine tiptotip causing slowness to some people, so stiff i feel my toungue to be, if i bend it to a position to articulate tiptotip!"
... as this is what I described in my post when i wrote - "When the tip is further IN, you tend to need to pull the tongue back into the mouth ever so slightly- creating tension"
We all have different mouths, different clarinet angle etc, but I solved this problem by changing the clarinet angle so that the tip of the mouthpiece was closer to my teeth.

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 Re: Anchor tonguing? really the wrong way to go?
Author: Anonymoose 
Date:   2020-04-04 02:38

donald-

I was using your described version of anchor tonguing, where the tongue is not anchored to anything but am tonguing higher up/"meatier" part of the tongue, but not in the center of the tongue. My head naturally tilts down with the clarinet angle higher, and due to this, the tip of the mouthpiece is further inside my mouth, causing the tongue to move back and create tension.
I'm a student studying clarinet, and while this way has been "acceptable" for me so far, I find that I am putting in way to much effort just to meet the basic standard. At this point in my student life, I'm looking for more nuances and delicacies in the way I play rather than speed of the tongue.
So, because of recent events I have been in isolation and this is a GREAT opportunity for me because I can now work on things without having to worry about learning new repertoire, recitals, etc... and I've decided to attempt to switch from anchor tonguing to tip-to-tip tonguing.

So far its been a few days, and I can tongue sixteenth notes ok on quarter = 100, but only on single notes so far. Can't really play articulated passages, so I will need to work on it by playing articulated scales slowly with the tip-to-tip method.
However, I found that now after a few days of the tip-to-tip method, my tone is fuller with more tonal center, allowing for legato or technical passages to flow easier. How?
After reading your post regarding the natural position of the tongue, it makes sense to me that my tongue before was in a state of constant tension due to it having to arch back a little to anchor tongue. Now that it's not in a state of tension, voicing is easier and I'm able to push more air into the instrument. I still can't tongue proficiently yet but I will work on it!

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