Archives pour l'étiquette articulation

inner violin and fingers

The musician’s fingers just sculpt the sound material of the internal vibration spreading from the air column, and the tongue of the wind player refines this speech through articulation.


(…) fingers transmit the expression of what is decided elsewhere, and the difficulty in developing a gesture is more often due to the confusion of a mental image than to a mechanical inability.


Dominique Hoppenot, Le violon intérieur
(translated by Guy Robert)

fingers and tongue

The sound, radiating from the air column, appears as the material to be worked out, and actually sculpted by the articulation resulting from your fingers and your tongue, which come up together in this process as the physical link between your sender-body and your amplifier-instrument :

– your fingers interact with the instrument from the initial emission (for the note pitch), and are driven by your musical intent, as Dominique Hoppenot recalls it in her Inner Violin / Le violon intérieurbefore your tongue interacts, without disturbing this first note ;

– then, only the light tip of your tongue (Joe Allard would rather talk about the edge) is necessary for detaching notes, withdrawing backwards and aligned with the reed : the tongue edge lets the reed vibrate, which you must feel and visualize in your belly bottom.

The dynamics of this musical sculpture results in the end from the complementarity of those components of your speech : your musical idea (shaped in your brain and driving the next steps, as George Kochevitsky explains it in his Art Of Piano Playing), the sound vibration, your fingering, your tongue acuteness.


The first sound is played without the tongue, thanks to the back muscles ; the following one extends it by letting the tongue lain down.

Robert Pichaureau, Favorite Expressions
(translated by Guy Robert)


We would begin the tone with no tongue, get very loud and while the note was still going on, he’d have us barely articulate. We would touch the reed as lightly as possible, so that the tongue would interrupt the vibration of the reed without stopping it, teaching us to barely tongue. He’d have us practice it loud so that we’d learn to use a light articulation even though we were playing loud.

Lots of students tongue hard when they play loud ; Joe’s exercise separated that.

Kenneth Radnofsky about Joe Allard


Allard preferred the nomenclature “edge“ rather than tip, because “tip means an extreme point“. He purported that speech books with which he was familiar described the tongue as having an edge and a blade, the blade being the surface of the tongue.

Debra Jean McKim about Joe Allard


The actual sounding of the articulation comes with the release of the reed. Conceptually, the tongue can be seen as an extension of the reed.

David LiebmanDeveloping a Personal Saxophone Sound

les doigts sur le violon intérieur

Les doigts du musicien viennent sculpter la matière sonore de la vibration intérieure qui émane de la colonne d’air, et la langue de l’instrumentiste à vent contribue à l’articulation du discours.


(…) les doigts sont l’expression de ce qui se décide ailleurs, et la difficulté dans la mise en place d’un geste est due plus souvent à l’obscurité d’une image mentale qu’à une incapacité mécanique.


Dominique Hoppenot, Le violon intérieur

doigts et langue

Le son vibrant dans la colonne d’air constitue la matière à travailler, à sculpter par l’articulation associant les doigts et la langue, qui apparaissent dans ce processus comme le lien physique entre le corps-émetteur et l’instrument-amplificateur :

– les doigts entrent en jeu dès l’émission initiale (pour la hauteur de la note), et sont pilotés par l’intention musicale, comme le rappelle Dominique Hoppenot dans Le violon intérieur, avant la langue, qui ne doit pas influencer cette première note ;

– ensuite, la pointe seule de la langue, la plus légère possible (plutôt le bord, selon Joe Allard) suffit pour le détaché, et il faut diriger son action vers l’intérieur et l’arrière (et non pas vers l’anche), en la retirant délicatement de l’anche dans son prolongement : le bord de la langue libère la vibration de l’anche, qui doit toujours être visualisée au centre du diaphragme.

La dynamique de cette sculpture musicale résulte de la complémentarité de chaque constituant du discours : l’idée musicale (formée mentalement et pilotant les étapes suivantes, ainsi que l’explique George Kochevitsky dans The Art Of Piano Playing), la vibration sonore, le doigté, la finesse de la langue.


La première émission se fait sans la langue, avec les dorsaux ; la deuxième se fait en descendant la langue.

Robert Pichaureau, Expressions favorites


We would begin the tone with no tongue, get very loud and while the note was still going on, he’d have us barely articulate. We would touch the reed as lightly as possible, so that the tongue would interrupt the vibration of the reed without stopping it, teaching us to barely tongue. He’d have us practice it loud so that we’d learn to use a light articulation even though we were playing loud.

Lots of students tongue hard when they play loud ; Joe’s exercise separated that.

Kenneth Radnofsky about Joe Allard


Allard preferred the nomenclature “edge“ rather than tip, because “tip means an extreme point“. He purported that speech books with which he was familiar described the tongue as having an edge and a blade, the blade being the surface of the tongue.

Debra Jean McKim about Joe Allard


The actual sounding of the articulation comes with the release of the reed. Conceptually, the tongue can be seen as an extension of the reed.

David LiebmanDeveloping a Personal Saxophone Sound