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To ‘daah’ or not to ‘daah’

Steven Holgate • Playing Tips • March 3, 2020

“One of the most common contributions to a non-characteristic brass sound from a young player is the approach to articulation. Many use a ‘default’ articulation, such as ‘poo,’ ‘thaw,’ between the lips ‘pthoo,’ or just a ‘whoo’ with no tongue at all.

The easiest ways to identify the style of articulation that a student is using is to have the student ‘air-valve’ (or slide) the musical phrase. Ask the student to play the phrase with no buzz – just air, valve, and tongue. Listen carefully to the syllable sounds that the student produces. It should be a ‘daah’ sound for the normal articulation, or possibly ‘taah’ for an accented note. The other styles of articulation mentioned earlier are generally not successful for good sound quality or accuracy on a brass instrument.”

Steven Holgate

Governor Mifflin Senior High School

Shillington, Pennsylvania

October 2006

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