How can we explain the articulation?
Articulation can be compared to human speech.
It is important to play clearly as it is to speak clearly. It is an important segment in the performance of every flutist. Actually, it’s the signs next to the notes like curved lines, dots, dashes etc. Those signs show us the way we should play a musical text.
It is both significant to play the precise musical text and to play the notes correctly – with the right articulation.
At the very beginning, each flutist must learn to breathe regularly. This is very important in order to play the right articulation because the correct diaphragm breathing helps us play the right articulation.
Types of the articulation on the instrument – flute
There are different types of articulations.
At the beginning of learning notes on the flute we learn to pronounce ‘ta’. We touch the upper part of our lip with the tip of our tongue and then return the tongue to the back. After this, all the other types of articulation are learned.
The types of articulation mostly used by flutists:
- Legato – notes are connected with an arch. They are played on a single breath without the usage of tongue.
- Staccato – pronunciation of ‘ta’.
The combination of these two articulations are commonly used:
- Double tongue – ta-ka, ta-ka is pronounced alternately.
- Triple tongue – ta-ka-ta is pronounced alternately.
- Flutter tonguing – pronunciation of the letter ‘R’ by rolling our tongue to the upper palate.
There are also other types but these are most commonly used in the flute literature.
When can a student master all the types of articulation on the flute?
At the beginning the students first learn a staccato and two by two legato notes.
Legato articulation is said to be more demanding because it requires a diaphragm support. Playing the legato in the third register is extremely complicated and it is learned after 5 or 6 years of playing as well as playing the legato in longer phrases.
The double tongue is also difficult, especially in the first register. Students master this technique after 3 or 4 years of playing.
We can conclude that articulation is one of the crucial segments. At first, students find it hard but after the first year of learning and constant practicing, they manage to master the legato articulation in short phrases and the staccato as well.
The ABRSM program requires students to learn the staccato and legato through scales.
We can say that after 6 years of learning, a student can master all the types of articulations and can perform them on their own.