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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! For those who do not know what anchor tonguing is, it is when the tip of the tongue rests against the bottom teeth and the reed is tongued with the middle of the tongue. I've done it since I started (5 years ago), and it is incredibly hard to tongue the correct way for me. Tips on how to get over this annoying habit?
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Tighten the corners of the mouth and loosen the lower lip. You're doing that to support your embouchure when you get tired. You're probably biting and squeaking the palm notes as well. :)
 

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I anchor tongued until I got to college. My college professor told me I was tonguing wrong and I had about 3 months of "hell" after that. It is not easy. All I can say is that I just focused on tonguing everyday and made sure I could feel the tip of the reed near the tip of my tongue every time I tongued. It felt bizarre and strange but I kept at it because I trusted my teacher. It made a world of difference for me and I am so glad I spent that time correcting it. Good Luck! Don't give up.


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1926 Buescher TT Alto, 1936 Holton Revelation Tenor, 1954 Holton 271 Bari
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a hopefully related question: to those who went from anchor tonguing to proper tonguing, was it accompanied by a bit of a stinging sensation since the tip of your tongue was not used to such contact with the reed? It's certainly happening to me and it's put me off trying to fix it for some time.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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No. The reason I know about this and why, is because I went through this 35 years ago.

Are you trying to stab yourself with the tip of the reed (you break them that way) or lightly caress it with the tip of your tongue?
 

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I'm trying to simply get clean articulation. It certainly isn't reed abuse I'm doing, I know that much. Of the two it's my tongue which walks away worse for wear.
 

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The flat part of the tongue right next to the tip should be making contact with the flat part of the reed next to the reed tip. There shouldn't be any stinging unless you are coming right at the tip. If you say teeteeteeteeteetee......... Really fast without moving your mouth while you do it that is the movement your tongue should be making..........


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I'd never heard of this before. And, turns out I anchor-tongue. What are the benefits of tip-tonguing? I've never really had much problem with quick staccato passages... does it affect tone?

Ha - just experimented a bit, when I use the tip of my tongue, it is ticklish as heck!
 

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I have a weird issue with tip-tonguing--if I do that then I start salivating, which gets that spittle sound in the mouthpiece. Which is why I've stayed away from the proper method.
 

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I always thought you were supposed to do all kinds of tonguing {back off, Marty and his stable}, slap, anchor, standard, tip, flutter, double, whatever you could do that was needed or expressive for the passage.

I never thought of any of them as wrong, only inappropriate for the situation.

Is there instead a conventional understanding that anchor tonguing is always bad?
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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I'd never heard of this before. And, turns out I anchor-tongue. What are the benefits of tip-tonguing? I've never really had much problem with quick staccato passages... does it affect tone?

Ha - just experimented a bit, when I use the tip of my tongue, it is ticklish as heck!
You still don't use the very tip of your tongue. You want to maintain the freedom of movement of the tongue so you don't anchor under your lip, but you're still using a flat section of it just behind the tip. It's not ticklish if you're doing it right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Is there instead a conventional understanding that anchor tonguing is always bad?
Not necessarily, but I know it is a bad habit of mine that causes me trouble in fast passages or high notes. It's pretty useful for staccato, I think.
 

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I actually had--maybe still have--a condition that never allowed for my tongue to fully develop. Until I had a surgery when I was very young I couldn't even stick the tip of my tongue out past the edge of my lips. I still can't touch the top of my tongue to my lips or even the roof of my mouth. I had one saxophone professor who was hell bent on "fixing" my anchor tonguing but it never worked. I studied with three different people after that who all told me that they didn't think it was an issue.
 

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Try using the "la" syllable instead of "ta". It's a similar motion but the tip of the tongue up and should strike just about the right spot on the reed. I too anchor tongue into college. My is has to do with having a very large tongue. It simply had no place to go. Voicing using a high tongue position will also help put the tip in a workable place. This is not easy to fix. By the way, I believe Sigard Rascher anchored tongue.
 

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Tips on how to get over this annoying habit?
Why is it annoying? While players who anchor tongue are certainly in the minority, there are plenty of fine woodwind and brass players who anchor tongue. If you can control your articulation and the tongue position doesn't affect how you're voicing notes, why change?
 

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I agree with Scott. I don't think there is anything inherently bad about anchor tonguing. If your tongue fills your mouth, you may have difficulty getting off of the reed with tip tonguing. But as with all articulation, anchor tonguing requires practice for control, and you may have to make some adjustments to make it work. Anchor tonguing can disturb the embouchure if you end up pushing against the lower lip too much. It's often said that the tongue anchors on the teeth, but when your lower lip is covering the lower teeth, it is possible that your tongue is resting on your lower lip. If this causes no problems for your embouchure (e.g., chirps), then it's probably fine. But I have a large lower lip, so I roll my lip out a bit (not as much as Dexter!).

James Houlik and Don Sinta both anchor tongue. Here's a nice video about anchor tonguing on bassoon, which I think is useful on the principles. This teacher has a wonderful articulation (1:25):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVyE4Ti0Aeo
 
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One of the problems with tongue position is If you have an over bite where the front teeth in the normal bite position hang over the bottom teeth by a significant amount or the opposite, the tongue position will invariably be different to a normal bite. I think the way to find what is right for you is articulation exercises. Generally The tongue will find the best and most natural position for you.
 

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I have a weird issue with tip-tonguing--if I do that then I start salivating, which gets that spittle sound in the mouthpiece. Which is why I've stayed away from the proper method.
Umm... I am not sure who told you that tip-tonguing is the "proper method", as everyone's mouth is shaped differently. For some people anchor-tonguing is the best method for them because their mouth is shaped that way. I personally anchor-tongue and it works best for me.
 
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