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Boost your flute finger technique with baroque ornamentation

by | Sep 26, 2018 | Ory's Tips | 0 comments

Ory’s Flute Tips

Boost your flute finger technique with baroque ornamentation

 

 

I’ve recently played a concert with my orchestra, the Geneva Camerata, in which we performed the Hippolyte et Aricie suite by the French baroque composer Jean Philippe Rameau. The last number of the suite was a set of 2 Rigaudons – a quick dance, originated as a folk dance in France.

I had to play a piccolo solo with percussion at the beginning and the whole orchestra joined after one round of the piece (unfortunately not on the video below) and I wanted to make some ornamentation for the repeats. In the case of this dance, the ornaments should not interfere with the rhythm of the dance and should just make it sound lighter and virtuoso.

Here’s a short recording from the performance (we were repeating the Rigaudon few times and in this round I don’t use all the ornaments):

 

These were the original notes I got (played an octave higher):

Rameau Premier Rigaudon

And I came up with this ornamented version for the repeats (marked in red):

Rameau Rigaudon With Ornaments

 

♻ From an ornament to an exercise

If you play the ornamented version in a very quick tempo (we played in a tempo in which a whole bar equals 82), then the first bar turn to be quite challenging for the fingers and coordination with the staccato. I therefore thought I could make out of it a great exercise for you for improving your finger technique and control – and it can become an ornament you can use in many other pieces – in whatever key you’ll have to play.

The main difficulty of the passage comes from the ‘turn’ in the middle of the passage: Going down, up, down and again up creates the challenge to our brain and our fingers.

You can practice it in many various ways:

  • In various rhythms (dotted rhythms works very well for practicing).
  • Play twice each note written for working your double staccato.
  • Add some different slurs to practice your tonguing with different articulations.

Here is an example of the exercise:

Rameau Rigaudon Exercise Example

I’ve created for you a FREE PDF with the ornamented Rigaudon and the exercise you can easily download, print and use immediately for your next practicing session:

 

 

If you haven’t read it yet, you can find my guide for Baroque interpretation and articulation for the modern flutist (including 3 parts about the hierarchy of the bar, micro dynamics, articulatory silences, Bell notes and many exercises – all for FREE).

Try it out and let me know how it feels. Ory.

Ory Schneor is a principal flutist with the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Tongyeong Festival Orchestra and member of the Geneva Camerata. He is teaching masterclasses around the world and he is the founder and instructor at FLUTEinWIEN

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