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  • Mark Dulin

The all-powerful diminuendo

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

Long tones are part of many players daily fundamentals. Some players prefer to play one pitch for a sustained amount of time, while others prefer the idea of “moving long tones” because of the idea of a straight long tone on one pitch can cause tension. With each school of thought the ability of play a long tone where the last note is able to have a smooth taper is of the upmost importance. Often when working on long tone exercises, young players will tighten and the note ends in a very abrupt fashion. When a player learns to listen for and execute a smooth diminuendo, they are playing in a more resonant part of the sound. The tone will become more clear and free, while the intonation improves dramatically. This all happens because the air is meeting the instrument in the most efficient way possible. It is important the player focus on a vibrant tone and the sound of the taper rather than try to “control” the air.

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