Serious articulation issue

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Peergynd
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Serious articulation issue

Post by Peergynd »

Hello tubists,
I'm playing the F tuba some years now and I have develop an issue with my articulation at some specific notes in the middle range.

The notes are those who are close to C(above open F) like B,Bd, C# and D, C included. The problem is that when I tongue the notes by releasing my tongue the note is very dirty, like double buzz. This happen only at the articulation point. After that the note is ok. The attack moment is the problem. Like the tongue and the air don't cooperate well. The weird thing is that I don't have this issue with other notes at lower or higher ranges.
I've tried many things like changing my lips, my tongue, mouthpiece position etc, the problem still there. Me and my teacher can't understand what is happening...
If anyone has some advice I will really appreciate it.
barry grrr-ero
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by barry grrr-ero »

I'm not an expert at this stuff, but I'll take a stab. I'm thinking maybe you need to adjust the 'air speed' on those notes (?) That, and possibly the actual position of your tongue (too high or too low in the mouth). There are two issues to that. First, where the tongue is actually striking (or releasing) within the mouth. But perhaps more importantly, the position of the arch of your tongue. It's very common to let that arch rise a tad too much, which sort of acts as a venturi.

I would just go one note and a time, and try them with different speeds of air, and adjusting the position of the tongue as well. Couldn't hurt.
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by Peergynd »

I'll leave here a sound sample of what is happening. This is my today's Dd :

https://m.soundcloud.com/user-835950262 ... t5pWOJjxL1
Peergynd
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by Peergynd »

barry grrr-ero wrote: Wed Jun 29, 2022 5:27 am
Thank you for the answer. I think that I keep the air speed steady while attacking with the tongue. When there is no tonguing the note is clear but when I hit my teeth with the tongue to articulate then everything goes wrong. I've tried what you said about tongue position in the mouth and didn't seem to have any difference. You could hear what is happening at the sample I uploaded above.

When I release the tongue from my upper teeth to hit the note I feel like my bottom lip is buzzing a 4th lower than the note I want and this is happening only the moment I realease the tongue, then the right note comes. And the weird thing is that this issue happens only in this middle range.

The fact is that I do something wrong but I can't figure out what...
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by patricklugo »

Check to see what is going with your embouchure with a mirror . Also play a whole note and the articulate 8th notes with same air flow as the whole note. That seemed to help me when I was trying to figure out how to articulate correctly. I had issues and that cleared it. Keep OH shape and it does help. I was closing my throat at the moment of the start of articulation.
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by patricklugo »

Monitor where your tongue is striking in the middle range and where it strikes where you don’t have a problem.
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by patricklugo »

Use a buzz rim and see what your tongue does when you articulating pitches in that range while you buzz
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by GeoffC_UK »

Morning,
I played a Vincent Bach 24AW for most of my playing life on an EEb Besson.
Did me a great job. Never an issue, until 18 months ago.
Articulation became poor and difficult to hit the intended note, especially at louder volumes.
This was a problem and it appeared from no-where.
I determined, rightly or wrongly, that I was getting older and needed more help from my tuba-mouthpiece combo.
After a bit of a search I changed mouthpiece and things are far better: articulation is sorted.
Now, my situation may not be yours, but I'd thought I'd share anyways.
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by TubaBeage »

Can you post a sound clip of what you think is good tonguing on your best note?
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by barry grrr-ero »

Well, to my ears, that sounds like what I would call a 'double buzz'. I'm wondering if there's an equipment problem that's contributing to that happening. Have you checked the alignment of the valves? Also, you might look for leaks.

I'm not an expert on focal dystonia, but I'm thinking the early stages of that malady could sound something like that.

Not that it matters, but the split in pitch - as much as it's actually detectable - sounds more like a minor third to my ears, than a perfect fourth.
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by Peergynd »

barry grrr-ero wrote: Fri Jul 01, 2022 6:32 am
The equipment is ok. I've played with other instrument-mouthpiece and the problem was still there. By leaks you mean from the embochure? If so, I lose some air from the right and left of the mouthpiece in general but this is happening to my whole range.

I'm not an focal dystonia expert too but I think it is a disease which doesn't let you do what you want, like your brain can't deliver the right message to the muscles and delivers a different so that the muscles are not moving correctly.
I don't thik that my muscles are doing something that I don't want. My tongue is moving like I want and my lips are vibrating at the right pitch except the articulation point where sonething goes wrong...
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by Jim Andrus »

I would recommend working on one aspect of this at a time. First lose the tongue, go back to just air attacks. Your goal is to achieve immediate response with full tone. Start with long tones trying to get as clear a start with just air as possible. When you release the note, sit with the embouchure still in the same position for a second before releasing. This is to help the body learn where to go back to when you start the next note. Work to faster and faster rhythms until you start to get eighth notes all starting clean with just air attack on one note. Start there and then when it becomes consistent to get good air attack, try to add a small ‘touch’ of the tongue to add a little articulation. But remember, the air starts the note, NOT the tongue. Be patient, and don’t panic. Many of us deal with embouchure issues at some point in our lives, but those problems can be overcome.
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by wilktone »

Without watching you play everything is a shot in the dark. That said, I have seen similar issues caused by a mouthpiece placement too close to 50/50. One lip or another should predominate inside the mouthpiece.

Here's a tubist I worked with a number of years ago. He played well, but he had some high range issues and similar trouble around his middle C. Watch him play and look closely at his lip position.

[YouTube]https://youtu.be/2_Qm8rw7m_4[/youtube]

He plays his higher range with his upper lip predominating and his air stream gets blown down towards the bottom of the mouthpiece. When he plays his lower range his lower lip predominates and he plays upstream. Right around his middle range the lips fight for position and he almost always cracks a note when he has to go across this break.

Here's a video where I asked him to try some stuff that would expose his air stream flip. You can see and hear the problems that result.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/3ctLfC83sQU[/youtube]

Peergynd, I haven't watched you play, so I can't say if this example is what's happening with you, but it is something worth checking out. If so, the solution would be to move the mouthpiece placement high enough or low enough on your lips so that the lips don't fight for predominance inside the cup. A little change is probably not going to be enough, it might need to go very high or very low, in which case you might find your nose or chin even getting in the way. Maybe even an off center placement to either side would help too.

https://wilktone.com/?page_id=6035

I talk more about this tubist, what we decided was correct for him, and what eventually happened with him at that page. TLDR, he needed to move his placement much closer to the chin and play upstream. That allowed him to access his upper register and eliminated his air stream direction flip. He also was in the process of quitting tuba and concentrating on piano, so I think he eventually decided it wasn't worth rebuilding his embouchure again, but I think if he had applied himself he could have come back better than before.

Good luck!

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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by Tubaru »

This sounds like the same issue I started having a few years ago. None of the professionals I talked with about it could figure it out. It has since gotten somewhat better but it still bothers me at times. Funny thing I noticed though was that it only happened when I tongued and not when I slurred through that register.

What I’ve done to combat it included finding a different mouthpiece that worked better and spending a lot of time using Roger Bobo’s buzzing exercises from his method book. Most helpful was the buzzing exercise in which you buzz and gliss between octaves. I found that my embouchure has a breaking point around F in the staff which requires some adjustment to keep the buzz going. After starting these exercises it has gotten better to where I notice it much less when playing the horn (it’s almost gone away completely) but is still there when buzzing.

The last thing I finally realized was that my body becomes much more tense when playing than it was in my younger days. I have no idea why I tense up now but I do have to concentrate on staying relaxed when I play.

Good luck trying to figure it out.
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Re: Serious articulation issue

Post by Ben »

I'd recommend Jim's suggestion. If you can get immediacy of sound with just a breath, or a huff, or even a "p"uff. See where that leads you. Once you can achieve a great sound with no tongue, you can try adding it back in. Give yourself time to adjust and as always use your ears.

good luck!
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