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Does anyone have tips for the tongue? I am trying to do sixteenth notes quickly (this is still in "Ame") and my tonguing sounds very spluttery and 'th-th-th'-y. On recordings is sounds so much purer. I am sure that the tonguing is messing up my embouchure, but I haven't figured out how to fix it. If I cheat and just puff out breaths for each note, it sounds cleaner, but that's not the right technique. Th-th-thanks in advance!
I didn't know shakuhachi was tongued in traditional music. I obviously don't know that much about proper techniques for Japanese traditional music, but typically to tongue flutes fast you use double tonguing. That's where the first articulation is done by starting what would vocally be a "T" sound and the second a "K" sound so it alternates from using the front of the tongue to using the back of the tongue. Then you repeat it for however many notes you need. So, a string of 16ths would be played ti-ki-ti-ki-ti-ki-ti-ki.
It still takes a bit of practice touching the tongue lightly enough and not "swallowing" the note on the "K" part of it. It also takes a bit of practice synchronizing the tonguing with the fingering.
In music where tonguing is appropriate, be sure that you are doing it against the ridge behind your upper teeth, never against the inner surface of the lips.
Unless, of course, that is the sound/articulation/effect that one desires. And let's not forget tonguing elsewhere, like towards the back of the mouth if one needs to double- or triple-tongue. Non-traditional, to be sure, but there are appropriate places for these things. And let's not forget the so-called "French" tonguing where said muscle actually protrudes *through* and *past* the lips. (The ridge behind one's lower teeth was not put there as a decoration either). 8^) Sometimes some things happen at the roof of the mouth, but it's getting late and the little grey cells are clamoring for some downtime.
Different positions produce different consonants. Tip, t. Bit further back, d. Further back again, k, right at the back, g. I try to use the rear positions because sometimes the tip sound is too hard in comparison to shakuhachi tone, but its the easiest tonguing position for me to play.