Articulation in music describes the playing method used to shift between notes. This transitions can selection from smooth and also connected (legato) to an extremely detached and separated (staccatissimo). Just like when we are speaking and emphasise specific words, various combinations of coupling in music help to interact a story through a atmosphere or emotion behind it. Imagine, if you were telling someone “I love you.” girlfriend wouldn’t pronounce those indigenous short and sharply, virtually spitting lock out. You would (hopefully) speak them through some tenderness.

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Some typically used symbols in addition to their descriptions and abbreviations are offered in the table below. This is not an exhaustive list, however will absolutely get you started at the beginner play level.


As woodwind football player we have the right to use a an approach called tonguing to disrupt the currently of air we blow into the flute. When we use this method whilst simultaneously moving our fingers to beat the following note, this offers the effect of unique separation in between the note sounds. Make the sound the the letter ‘t’ is the easiest means to perform this. By utilizing this syllable easy whilst we room breathing out, the guideline of the tongue flicks behind the teeth off the roof the the mouth and briefly cuts off the wait flow. Your flute embouchure need to remain formed and the jaw in place resting against the lip plate adhering to the tonguing that each succeeding note. (Opening and closing the mouth in between notes isn’t necessary and also will seriously border the rate at which girlfriend will have the ability to play).

For quick notes (such together the staccato or staccatissimo) briefly preventing the circulation of air in addition to the tonguing the the note may be necessary to give the wanted effect. Permitting the note to ring in spite of being quick is important so shot to protect against strangling the note by allowing the tongue too much movement. Come tongue or separate notes in really quick succession, double tonguing or also triple tonguing is a an ext advanced an approach that uses an ext syllables (such as ka, da and ga). 

On the opposite finish of the spectrum, play notes legato method there is basically no motion of the tongue to separate the notes. Wait is repeatedly blown into the flute and the fingers execute the work-related in moving from one keep in mind to the next. The note smoothly ‘melt’ native one come the following without separation. Bent lines (called slurs) team the note that call for the legato articulation together. Beware! because ‘sound’ is consistently being created, care must be taken the finger transforms are clean and coordinated. If moving more than one finger for the next note, any type of slow changes can result in ‘blips’ or halfway notes appearing making the music sound messy.

Playing note tenuto lies somewhat in the center of the spectrum in between tonguing and slurring notes. Similarly to legato notes, waiting is blown continuously into the flute so the notes aren’t reduced off and are continual for their complete length. But whenever a finger change is required, us now add the tonguing technique. The notes are long and also sustained, however the tonguing springboards you to the next note.

And what’s with the portato or mezzo-staccato notes? How can you play both detached yet associated at the same time, i hear friend say?! This articulation calls for the lightest touch of the tongue, producing a smooth pulse and also only the most subtle that breaks between notes. Utilizing a softer syllable such together a ‘la’ deserve to be helpful.

Playing accented notes method we are forced to win the note more forcefully to do it stand out from the notes neighboring it. Accented notes can be play tenuto (played long and hard) or together staccato (short and also hard). It can be simple to over-tongue and practically spit the note out in our initiatives to perform this, causing the keep in mind cracking right into its harmonics or also jumping an octave. To protect against this, fairly than utilizing a an extremely deliberate and also loud ‘T,’ use much more abdominal assistance to force a solid puff the air out (more the a HA) the is likewise tongued v your usual pressure.

Symbols either over or listed below the music employee instruct us which articulation fads to usage on every note. Throughout the course of your playing you might need to all of sudden switch between a selection of coupling techniques, such together in the instance below… 


In this piece, many articulation patterns are offered simultaneously. The very first note D is accented (picture leaning ~ above the note) and also then slurs smoothly under to the C i m sorry is play extremely short (the keep in mind is cut off almost as soon as that starts). The 3rd note low F is played for its complete length prior to the sample is repetitive again several times throughout the piece. The quavers top top the first line are all personally tongued, yet this changes on the second line where numerous are now slurred smoothly into groups of four.

And… if you plan on progressing through any flute examinations her articulation will absolutely be tested through playing your flute scale (yikes!). You deserve to be asked come play any kind of of your collection scales through a variety of different articulations (see some examples below). Notification that the tonguing and slurring techniques may be linked in a variety of ways.


 Need come hear some examples of these to yes, really ‘get it?’ I show some instances of coupling in music in this quick video tutorial.

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