An introduction on how best to get a large range of sounds and tones from the saxophone.
Legato tonguing is very gentle tonguing - a very slight separation between the notes - almost legato. This notation example shows the two different types of notation for legato tonguing. The staccato and slur combination implies a lighter touch like staccato notes that almost join together, whereas the tenuto and slur combination suggests longer sounds with only the very gentlest use of the tongue to separate them. Players interpret these symbols in different ways. Watch the video clips for a brief explanation.
Literally 'held' - notes are tongued, held for the full length and sometimes given a gentle stress. Short lines above or below the note. The combination of the tenuto line with the staccato dot (below left) suggests either slightly shorter notes or that less stress should be given to each one, a lighter tenuto.
Compound tonguing in groups of two or three. The notation example shown is often used to indicate double and triple tonguing. Although double tonguing is possible on the saxophone it is rarely used. It is particularly difficult on the single reed instruments: clarinet and saxophone.
Flutter Tonguing (Growling)
A rolled 'r' tonguing. Not all players can do flutter tonguing. Those that cannot have to fake it with a growl in the throat flutter that produces a rumbling sound rather than a crisp 'rrrrrrrrrrrr'. However, the growl is itself useful and can be very effective on the saxophone. It is widely used in rock and jazz playing especially when creating raunchy sound.