INTRODUCTION TO DOODLE TONGUING
If you are a trombone player with some interest in jazz, chances are great that you heard about doodle tonguing. It is a technique that enables you to play fast lines much smoother than with double tongue (this is NOT double tongue for brass players!).
Playing fast lines on the trombone is actually more a question about articulation than being able to move slide fast enough. Since trombones don´t have keys or valves, we have to articulate different than other wind players, tonguing all the notes, possibly combined with natural legato where possible.
Where double tongue is well suited for fast marcato and staccato playing, doodle tongue is perfect for fast legato playing. If you are a jazz player, you probably know that double tongue just doesn´t sound right when you play a fast line of swing eight´s. It is hard to get the swing phrasing right, and the notes get too short. With doodle tonguing, there is kind of a built in swing phrasing that makes it perfect for jazz!
Some players have a really fast single tongue, and hardly ever uses double or doodle tongue, but if you (like me) are not one of them, you will probably find doodle tonguing very helpful. I use doodle tonguing a lot, combined with natural legato, and I would not be able to play much of what I do without this technique. It was a real life changing (ok, trombone changing…) experience when I first learned it, and it opened up a whole new world of possibilities on the horn!
So what is it?
The difference between the three main tonguing techniques; single tongue, double tongue and doodle tongue, is in practice this:
tu-tu-tu-tu or du-du-du-du
tu-ku-tu-ku or du-gu-du-gu
doo-dle doo-dle doo-dle doo-dle (or do-ul do-ul)
If you are just starting to learn doodle tonguing, I strongly suggest that you take a few lessons in person with a good teacher who is familiar with the technique to make sure that you get it right from start.
To get started right away, here are some basic exercises you can use to get a irst feel of doodle tongue.
1. Say it out loud in different tempos “doodle doodle doodle doodle doodle doodle…”
2. Now do it with only air (without the instrument) as if you where blowing in the horn. Start real slow and make sure that the air flow is pretty much the same both on the doo and the dle attack. Try holding your hand in front of your mouth and feel the air flow. Compare the feel of the air on your hand with a normal tu-tu tongue and doodle tongue. If there is a big difference, try to make the doodle-air stream feel as smooth as the single tongue air stream.
3. Try it on the horn! Just pick a mid range note and try it real slow. In the beginning, you will probably experience that the second half of the (the -dle part) tends to disappear or be more slurry than the first part. Just keep the tempo very slow until you get a decent attack an both sounds.
4. Wait for my Doodle Tonguing – Part 2!
5. Find a teacher to help you hands on. Send me an e-mail if you are interested in lessons in the Copenhagen area or the south of Sweden!
HERE ARE SOME GREAT EXAMPLES OF DOODLE PLAYING:
Frank Rosolino – the doodle master
Bill Watrous in action
Carl Fontana – check out the part where he play on his own, it´s so smooth and elegant!
Conrad Herwig and Peter Dahlgren, two doodle masters (trombone solos start at 3:55)
Elliot Mason in What Is This Thing Called Love