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Articulation

In general articulation is clearly pronouncing the sound of letters.


With playing flute: the technique of playing legato or staccato. The word tonguing is often
described as the way the tongue is used to articulate tones on wind instruments.
Flutists can use the tongue more freely and quickly than other wind players, and therefore
there are more possibilities.
It: staccare loose/separate
Fr: détaché separate/apart
Eng: tonguing

Literally, staccato does not mean short (although this is mostly assumed).
Never forget that diagphram/abdominal muscles should support every form of articulation.

When do you have to teach articulation?


As soon as the pupil produces an acceptable tone. Do not wait too long (wrong habits are
quickly picked up).
Touch where the point of the tongue is when the mouth is closed.
Only the tongue can move!!
Attack: French ‘tu’ (sometimes also called: te, ta, too, even ti.)

Kinds of articulation (according to Toff)


1. Staccato: Shortest version of tonguing (outer point of the tongue)

2. Mezzo Staccato: du (da & di)

3. Portato: du attack and complete (softest attack = K or Eng. G.)

4. Martelato: sharp/biting staccato that you would use if you played 5


or 8 higher.

5. Legato

6. Flatterzunge RRRR in front or in the back of the mouth

Adapt staccato to the piece you are playing.

Articulation according to Thomas Rainey


Tu against roof of mouth  not against tooth implant.

With legato it is
Low  attack in the back of the mouth. }
Middle  more to the front. } never teeth or tooth implant
High  quite forward. }
5 ways of attack:
1. ‘hoo’ - faintest
2. ‘L’ - softest form of attack
3. ‘di’ - soft
4. ‘tu’ - normal
5. ‘tee-tip’ - sharp

Galway uses scales to practise articulation.


Fauré’s fantaisie is a good example of difficult articulation.

With legato, pay extra attention to minimal finger movement. Stay close to the keys  less
rattle (clatter).

Geoffry Gilbert }
William Bennet }  e.g. L’après-midi applied to breath (say Aw)
Galway } L’arlésienne (Bizet)

Double tonguing: te-ke de-ke (or tuh-kuh / duh-guh)


Triple tonguing: te-ke-te (or te-te-ke)
Flatterzunge: uvula (for lowness, less breath pressure) or tongue (more high, greater
breath pressure) rrr…

Endings: not TUT


Note should be stopped by diagphram control, NOT by tongue or lips!

Articulation exercises without flute:

Kitty-Kitty Doggy-Doggy Giddy-Giddy


Tick-Tock (Ticket-Ticket)

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