Research response to 1997 survey published in “Selected Pedagogical Practices of College Instructors of Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone”:

The study revealed that most of the participating doublers utilize different articulation syllables for each instrument. For flute, the study group mainly reported using either "tu" or "du" articulation syllables. For clarinet, "tee" or "dee" was desired and for
saxophone, either "dah" or "tah" was preferred.


Additional research, experiential observations and suggestions:

-articulation syllables are important to correct articulation and vary slightly from one musician to the next due to oral cavity structure and tongue sizes:

Flute: DU or TU – depending on the style of music, legato vs. staccato, the tip of the tongue touches either the back of the upper teeth or the forward portion of the upper palate/roof of mouth

Clarinet: DEE or TEE – tip of tongue to tip of reed and a very isolated up and down tip of tongue movement is best, especially for control in the middle/clarion register

Saxophone: DOH, DAH or TAH - overall tongue movement is more compared to clarinet

-double and triple articulation is essential to Flute playing, whereas most single and double reed players can get by mastering a very fast single articulation

-Saxophonists should approach Clarinet articulation with an overall tongue position similar to that required to perform in the Saxophone’s altissimo register (i.e. a smaller oral cavity shape and higher tongue position)

-articulation on Saxophone is generally heavier than Clarinet due to the larger reed and mouthpiece involved for Saxophone as well as the conical vs. cylindrical bores of the instruments

-most woodwind doublers who begin as Saxophonists will experience more challenge learning to articulate properly on Clarinet than vice versa

-anchor tonguing on Saxophone is a common approach and effective; however, anchor tonguing on Clarinet, especially in the clarion register, in not effective

-jaw movement should be limited on single reed instruments, especially Clarinet; however, jazz and rock accents will involve some movement of the lower jaw

-slight jaw movement while articulating on Flute is acceptable, depending on the tempo and musical style performed