Tu, Du, Too, Doo, Doh etc etc

Recorder Forum Home Page Forum Teaching and Learning Tu, Du, Too, Doo, Doh etc etc

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    I’m reading Geert on how to start the note on a recorder. I’ve known for a while that people favour all kinds of ‘starts’ so I thought it’d be fun to see what people here prefer to do.


    It depends….

    Basically I use syllables starting with T for a note well separated from its predecessor and D for a more portato/tongued legato effect. I also vary the vowel sound to blow warm air for low notes and cool air for high notes.

    So for a slow lyrical piece played portato I would use dah for low notes and doo for high ones. But currently also experimenting with deee for high notes.

    For a faster or more rhythmic piece, especially if Baroque, I would follow the formula often given of T for accented notes, first beats in the bar, repeated notes and jumps and D for skips (2nds and sometimes 3rds). So tah, dah for low notes and too/doo (or tee/dee) for high. (If tah is too strong for a very low note I might also use dud for the preceeding note instead. I write all my tonguing syllables out under the staff like the lyrics to a song, practice them by singing and learn them off by heart. Now I’ve written it out it looks a bit complicated, doesn’t it?

    I can’t get the hang of syllables starting with R or L and I haven’t needed double tonguing yet.

    Since I am mainly self-taught this might all be wrong. And there are always exceptions, like low F on the treble which sometimes resists all tonguing, and needs an aaaah sound.

    Descant and treble recorders.


    That’s interesting.

    Piers Adams apparently uses all manner of things. I can double tongue with du dl (or anything similar) the d g sounds I find quite hard. I do think that the treble is much easier to make it sound nice!


    The only thing I retained from primary school recorder classes was the “du” sound! So I mainly use that. I’m working on double tounguing with “duh guh” at the moment. It took a while to get it to work faster than single tonguing. I’m using it for some passages which probably don’t strictly need it, just for the practice. I’ve looked ahead at some of the more specialised double tonguing patternss in Alan Davis’ “Treble Recorder Technique”- can’t do them yet, but I can definitely see the need for them.


    Largissimo – Someone I’ve read recently – I suspect it might be Van Gele – says that you should use whichever ‘words’ you find easiest. There are many, apparently. He did list some. But I expect Davis has them too. He also suggests practising them away from the recorder. I suppose that’s fine if you don’t mind people staring at you perplexed.

    Or maybe instead of singing in the shower.

    I’ve seen several writers on the recorder say that the double tonguing doesn’t come easily at first but it gets easier with time. They all suggest going slowly to start with. It’s kind of heartening, I think!

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