Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yes, Ta-Ta-Ka

There seems to be a plague of people who triple tongue this way..
TA-KA-TA, TA-KA-TA, TA-KA-TA

I ask them why. The usual response: I don't know. I've just always done it that way. Nobody ever told me how.

You should use..
TA-TA-KA, TA-TA-KA
(or DA-DA-GA)

Why?

Why do we multiple tongue at all?
Because you can't reset the tip of the tongue fast enough over and over.

Here's my contention (argue if you want): the second of the two "TA's" is the weaker one because the tongue has to do that rapid reset.

Test this: say TA-ta. Now say ta-TA . (capital letters represent emphasis).
For me, TA-ta is easier.

So...the whole point of using that inferior "KA" syllable is to give the tip of the tongue time to reset.

In a string of triplets, you usually want to place your accent on the first note of each triplet..
TA-ta-ka, TA-ta-ka, TA-ta-ka

Putting ka at the end makes it easier to emphasize the beginning of the triplet.

If you use..
TA-ka-ta, TA-ka-ta, TA-ka-ta,
your downbeats will be at a disadvantage.

(By the way, in the new Arban's book, both Bowman and Alessi prefer ta-ta-ka)

If you are used to the other way, use this exercise to help you...

2 comments:

lilsoc523 said...

There is also

ta-ka-ta ka-ta-ka

which avoids the reloading problem and allows a movable accent, since it's not hardwired into the tongue compared to ta-ta.

Brad Edwards said...

Good point.
Yes, I should have included this one. I've tried this at times, esp. with Annie Laurie.
Still, it bends my brain!

(I suppose I should mention Stravinsky's Royal March, with a quintuplet...ta-ka-ta-ta-ka ta)