Re: "Flap tonguing vs. double tonguing?"

All I know of it is from what Mr. Ullery said one time in a master class I attended in c. 2004.  Basically he said that he essentially figured it out on his own after he joined the SPCO since it couldn't single tongue fast enough and couldn't double tongue cleanly in all registers he needed for the baroque stuff SPCO did.  So he figured it out.  He did say that it is very difficult to control when you first start to do it.  I for one have attempted it maybe once a year since then and failed so miserably every time that I pretty much have given up on it.  I can pretty much do a standard double tongue anywhere (some notes in the upper tenor register not so much, but the bottom 5th is no problem) so I'm not terribly motivated to learn the technique.

Last edited by Trent (2010-02-20 20:12:12)

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: "Flap tonguing vs. double tonguing?"

Hi Bob,

I think Doug Huff (in Illinois) has done a lot research on this. 


Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra


Re: "Flap tonguing vs. double tonguing?"

I have a copy of a short essay by Walter Schafer who was a clarinetist on the Sousa Band's World Tour. In the 1930's he was director of the Miami (FL) University band in which my bassoon teacher C. Robert Reinert played. Among other things, the essay describes 'flap' tonguing. As I remember, it also states that clarinetists in Sousa's band used that technique for the rapid passages. The late Wayland Mosher, my Toronto S.O. colleague, used it and called it ‘addle-addle tonguing’!

I have tried it myself. It produces a smoother, less pointed note start than double tonguing. It is very useful in the rapid iterations after the first seven measures of the Overture to Marriage of Figaro. As stated it takes some patient work to establish it, especially to coordinate finger movements with the tongue.

Bob, I don't agree with your description of double tonguing as being 'using the tongue on one stroke and the throat on the other'. If I describe my double tonguing, the 'other stroke' is created as the back of the tongue comes close to the roof or the mouth as if pronouncing ‘kee’. Readers: That was not a 'flame'. I have the highest regard and deep respect for Bob Williams and his incredible career with the Detroit S.O.

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University

Re: "Flap tonguing vs. double tonguing?"

I use a motion that is somewhat side to side across the tip.  It seems so strange that I've never even attempted to teach it....

Happy Bassooning!


Re: "Flap tonguing vs. double tonguing?"

My teacher, Stephen Maxym could do both. I think he called it "addle addle tonguing", also. It could be extremely fast. Guess he needed that for a lot of those Mozart operas!

I never really tried to perfect it, because I developed a pretty good double tongue at my very first lesson with Mr. Maxym. I had been a flutist and of course double tongueing is so easy on that instrument. I could sort of do it but it was a bit rough. So I asked if we would be working on DT, he kind of skirted the issue, afterall , it was my first lesson. But I persisted and said, "but look I can sort of do it." I demonstrated, using probably du-ga, du-ga like what worked on the flute. Mr. Maxym said, "Try ti-ki, ti-ki" - instant success! You're right, Chris, it's much more in the mouth. But then everyone describes it differently. I think I remember Arthur Weisberg saying that there's not really a syllable being used. That's what makes a horse race. (or is it a boat race?)

Would love to hear from someone who has developed a way to teach this addle addle tonguing!

Harry Searing
Bassoon, Contrabassoon, Heckelphone
Faculty: Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division (NY), Montclair State University (NJ) &  CUNY (NY)
President, LRQ Publishing - featuring the bassoon music of Francisco Mignone


Re: "Flap tonguing vs. double tonguing?"

I was lurking around these older posts, I enjoy hearing about Mr. Maxym, I had him as my teacher for six years at Juilliard, a great experience. I never talked about doodle  flubble or flap tonguing with Mr. Maxym strangely enough.
I have been working on doodle, flubble, or flap tonguing on and off over the years and have been making a bit of progress with a few things. First I must say, bassoon is one of the more difficult instruments for this technique. I tried it on my daughters clarinet and found it easy to play a rapid fire flubble scale, I imagine brass instruments are even easier. Anyway, I have been using the double tongue section of the Arband trombone book, which is excellent, and found a trombone web page with some excellent exercises. … art-2.html

My big recommendation for the beginner is to strike the tongue against the inside, lower lip, otherwise you can scrape up your tongue getting familiar with tongue position. I have bloodied quite a few reeds trying to get this technique. Granted, I play with a bit a reed in my mouth, so each person is different.

The big advantage for me it the rapid response in the low register, double tongue is quite heavy and inconsistent on low Bb, but doodle is just right. 
I hope this may be helpful,
Best wishes,

Principal bassoonist, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, A Coruña, Spain. Bassoonist, bassoon dad, bassoon husband, bassoon uncle, bassoon brother and bassoon son.