Teaching Notes

This exercise has been written around the material to be found in bar 30 of the study, with the emphasis on articulation. This is one of the major topics of discussion among flute players and as articulation mainly takes place in that dark cavern known as the mouth, there can be uncertainty as to exactly what takes place in there!

To start with, it is important to realise that our respective languages will have an influence over how we articulate. In English, consonants such as T and D are ricocheted off the roof of the mouth. This is potentially useful for the opening of Petrouchka (as an example), but for much of the flute repertoire (both solo and orchestral) where subtlety is required, these consonants are simply too hard and dry.

Doll’s Waltz is a very lyrical study and when groups of staccato notes appear from bar 30 onwards, I believe that they should reflect the nature of the material around them, which is mainly legato.

The staccato notes should be light and flow easily. ‘T’ will come across as over clipped, so I would suggest that you try ‘DAH’ here. Even if you simply speak a string of ‘T’s and then the same again of ‘DAH’s, you will hear that the latter has more resonance and whilst still detached, has a more legato flow.

Try to keep ‘DAH’ as soft as possible and keep the tongue close to the point of contact on the roof of the mouth (in this way, you should find it relatively easy to single tongue fast articulated passages, without needing to resort to double tonguing. This is particularly useful in baroque sonatas). In Doll’s Waltz, in the articulated passages, your tongue should ‘dance’ on the roof of the mouth. It doesn’t necessarily have to keep returning to the same point on the roof of the mouth. By gently varying where the tongue ‘lands’, you should avoid fatigue.

Finally, in this exercise of 4 bars, I have written a crescendo over 2 bars, followed by a diminuendo over the same distance.

Be sure to make the crescendo only by pushing more air through your flute and not by increasing the strength of your tongue. This is particularly important to remember when the exercise arrives in the top octave of the instrument, where there can be a tendency to violently ‘spit’ notes into the instrument!