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The secret of playing with great articulation

by | Jan 25, 2019 | Ory's Tips | 2 comments

Ory’s Flute Tips

The secret of playing with great articulation
with Rossini’s excerpts


Articulation is a very common topic that I discuss very often with the students during the intensive masterclasses I teach.

As in the case of practicing your tone quality (see my article about it here), while practicing your articulation you need to have clear and defined objectives rather than just ‘practicing your articulation’. You have to define to yourself exactly what it is that you wish/need to improve: would you like to articulate faster? Clearer? Shorter? Longer? Louder?
Each one of these points would need some small adjustments to the way you practice while concentrating on other aspects of your playing.

I can’t stress enough the importance of having first a good tone quality in order to be able to improve your articulation. You absolutely have to be able to play a phrase with a beautiful, focused tone quality in legato first, in order to be able to play it with the same tone quality when it’s articulated. If your tone quality lacks of focus already during the legato, it will be much harder for you to focus your tone while articulating.

🎯 Rossini – the master of articulation

We are very lucky to have great flute (and piccolo) excerpts by Rossini that require from us the control of an extremely light, clear and short articulation. Very common types of articulations he uses are the couples of 1/8th notes slurred and triplet with the 2 first notes slurred and the third note in staccato. Here are 2 examples of me playing excerpts with the Geneva Camerata:

With the flute:

With the piccolo:

Improve Your Articulation in Days!

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🙊 THE secret for really great articulation

One of the biggest secrets for playing a great articulated note is actually the note before the staccato/articulated note. In Rossini’s case, very often the articulated staccato note come after a slur and the last note of the slur must be extremely short. That will allow your actual staccato notes sound really separated and they’ll stand out much better.

Here are the 2 examples from the videos:

Rossini La Scala di Seta Excerpt

🎵 How to practice?

I suggest practicing these passages for example very slowly and play the last note of each slur extremely short – really cut the notes endings. Gradually, you can repeat the phrase with a quicker tempo till you gain the control needed to play in tempo with very short and clear staccato.

You can as well practice your daily scales in the same manner: Turn each scale you are playing into a Rossini style articulation. That will allow you to play with great articulation in whatever passage you might encounter in the repertoire you play.

Try it out and let me know how it feels.

Enjoy experimenting,

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

" In 5 days I got more practicing tools than in my 20 years of playing all together! "

Oshrat, Intensive Masterclass Participant

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