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Jazz Sax Lessons: Reverse Tonguing

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now let's talk about reverse tonguing.
This is the articulation that
you wanna use for bebop playing.
Take note, by the way,
I've got my mouthpiece cap on
every time I'm not playing.
In the few times you may have seen me
talking with my mouthpiece cap off,
it was a no, no.
Hopefully I've done it,
I've been consistent.
But I'm keeping my reed especially
with these lights in here, and
I don't wanna break my nice good reed.
So, keeping your mouthpiece
cap on protects your reed,
protects the mouthpiece,
it keeps the moisture on your reed.
So, mouthpiece cap.
So, I'm gonna take it off
now cuz I'm about to play.
Now reverse tonguing, all that really
means, you're not changing your tongue.
You're not reversing it in your mouth,
nothing like that.
All it means is that you're
tonguing the upbeats.
So, when we play jazz.
Boo ba do,
ba do, ba do.
As for you to hear,
I'm tonguing the upbeat.
Boo ba do, ba do, ba do, ba do.
As opposed to the downbeats.
Like with any articulation, my feeling,
and what I like to do,
is no matter what you're doing,
unless otherwise indicated,
the first thing you do is tongue.
The first note that you
play is always tongued.
So, even if you're gonna
play in reverse tonguing,
where you're playing all the upbeats.
The first note is tongued, so
in a series of four notes for
instance, you tongue the first note and
then the second note,
slur to the third note and
tongue the fourth note.
I'm going up a B minor scale.
And then if I
go to the F sharp and
then come back down.
So, do that with me.
If you're playing tenor or soprano, you're
going to be laying your E minor scale.
Boo ba do, ba do, ba do, ba do.
Just the first five notes and back down.
This is our exercise to work
on your reverse tonguing.
So, on alto or berry, we're playing
the first five notes of a B minor scale.
So one and two, and three.
So, once this lesson is over,
do that on your own for a while.
That's basically, it's a go to
articulation like anything else.
It's kind of the, you know how in
science you have your control, and
then every time you add something to the
experiment, it's called something else.
But the baseline is your control.
So, this is our jazz control
articulation if you will.
Obviously, it's varied when you play.
You're doing other things.
You're gonna use, muted tonguing,
there's a lesson for that by the way, so
check that out.
And then as we're gonna talk
about in my Donna Lee lesson,
where I'm gonna implement
this articulation.
There are pinnacle points where that the
phrase goes to the top and then back down.
And where the phrase peaks,
that whether it's on the upbeat or
on a downbeat, on a beat,
you're gonna reattack that note, too.
So anyway, we'll get into that.
But just know that this is our control
articulation, boo-ba-doo-ba-dum.
So, this little exercise over
the first five notes of this
particular minor scale is a good one.
You can practice this, be creative,
you can practice it any way you want to.
I suggest practicing
it on all your scales.
I talked about so
much throughout the scales.
All the scale exercises
we did on the chromatic
exercise in the warm up lesson and
the modes.
All those different things where
you're changing up your articulation.
Add this to your articulation arsenal.
So, they're all long but again,
all the upbeats are articulated.
So, if I was to do this on a major scale,
like my G major.
So, do that on
all your scales as well.
Be careful to make sure that
the note prior to the note that
is tongued doesn't get cut off.
So, the action,
this is also the articulation isn't hard.
It's nice and easy, and light.
It's a D.
[SOUND] Partly because we want
the articulation not to be too accented.
And partly because we
want it to be smooth.
And what is gonna smooth it out is
making sure that the note prior
to the accented note,
the articulated note is as long as,
its full value width is
as long as it can be.
So, my tongue is behind the reed and
just ready to strike.
But not striking the reed, not going for
the reed until you're ready for that note.
So, if you get the reed, I'm sorry,
if you get the tongue too
close to the reed too soon,
it's gonna stop the sound of
note prior to the attacked note.
You're gonna end up with that,
I guarantee it.
So, avoid that.
Make sure that it sounds almost slurred.
In fact, your air, like everything else,
is always moving forward
as if you're slurring.
Here's a slurred one.
And here's our reverse
tongued exercise, the same way.
Reverse tongue.
So, the smoothness of the line and
the length of all the notes
should be the same.
It's just that all those up beats
are gonna be now articulated.
So, that's like again,
when we play a bee boppy line.
When I'm playing that,
it sounds if I'm playing it right,
it sounds like almost
every note is articulated.
But the combination of
making sure that the notes,
all the notes are nice and smooth and
nothing is unintentionally chopped,
cut short before an accented note.
And that my the coordination between
my fingers and my tongue are working.
That's when that reverse tonguing
articulation really sounds great.
So, like everything else, whether you're
gonna practice this reverse tonguing,
tonguing on the upbeats on this
little minor scale exercise.
Or any of the things I just mentioned,
make sure you do them nice and slow.
No better example, no better reason
is more clear than with this kind of
articulation practice, because you really
have to gain the coordination between
your tongue and your fingers.
Really exact to get the desired
effect of this articulation.
All right.
So, have fun working on this.
Like everything else, I've mentioned
this on practically every lesson.
But this would be a great one
to come up with the exercise and
send it to me, so I can hear if
you're getting it right or not.
All right.
Happy reverse tonguing.