I was practicing lip slurs yesterday, and I was wondering why it is easier to lip slur between harmonics by tonguing than without tonguing. It seems it should be the same either way-- whether you tongue or not. Why then is lip slurring so much simplified by tonguing?

P.S. I know that lip slur implies no tonguing, but I couldn't think of a better way to phrase it.

1 Answer 1


The act of tonguing gives a slight burst of additional air pressure, just what is needed to skip to the next note in the harmonic series. (You may not notice as much of a benefit in descending for this reason).

In addition, that separation between the notes (using the tongue) makes it sound much cleaner. You eliminate the "in-between" of the slur. (So it's no longer a slur). Now I'm not sure it's physically easier, as in requiring less effort, but it definitely makes it easier to get a cleaner result.

Therefore, don't practice it! Practice the lip slurs until they're as clean or cleaner than when using the tongue to help.

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