Brass and Woodwind players use specific syllables like ta-ka-ta for triple tonguing...

I would like to know:

  • What are the most common used syllables for double and triple tonguing?

  • Are they different for Woodwinds and Brass instruments?

  • Do they use different syllables depending on the tempo of the piece, or do they work equally with any tempo?

  • ...or are there even "common" syllables that "everyone" uses?

  • 2
    a) Ithink takata is the most commonI use for triplets I use tkt, tgd or tgr depending of the situation (Bariton and Euphonium) Jul 15, 2019 at 18:54
  • Even Bach used it, in his famous Takata and Fugue (sorrynotsorry) Jul 16, 2019 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


I can only speak for the brass side of things, but the standard double-tonguing syllables are either "ta-ka" or some variant thereof. Variants include "ta-ga" or "da-ga," depending on the musical context. For instance, sometimes the "ka" syllable is too accented, so players conceptualize "ga" instead. Similarly, the "ta" may be much stronger than the "ka/ga," leading some players to conceptualize this as "da."

As for triple tonguing, I've always used "ta-ka-ta" (with the same variant caveats as above), but some players swear by "ta-ta-ka."

In my experience, the only reason tempo would change this is if the tempo is so slow that I don't even need to double/triple tongue. In such cases, I just stick with single tonguing.

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