When you are first learning how to read music, there are just so many different dots, lines, and symbols to learn. In this article we will be learning about flute articulation markings so you can be on your way to reading music like a professional.
First, you need to know how important it is that you follow all these articulation markings. Articulation markings give the style, tone, and overall feeling of the piece.
Articulation markings make a world of difference!
Imagine with me for a second that you want to learn a beautiful slow melody to play at your church. One of the most important things about learning slow pieces is to make the notes smooth and connected. What if you get up during the meeting to play your piece and all the notes are choppy and short? Being able to understand and follow articulation markings makes a world of difference and will set you apart as a musician who knows what their doing
Now let’s get started.
This symbol is called a staccato and is placed above a note in a piece. When a note has a staccato your job is to
play the note short and fast. You do not hold the note out for its full value. Staccatos add a feeling of excitement and anticipation to music.
This symbol is called a tenuto. You will find it above a note as well. If a piece is in legato style, then you will find many tenuto markings. A tenuto line is placed on a note that needs to be held for its full value or even slightly more than its full value. Tenutos help to add a smooth and connected style to music
This marking is called a slur. A slur is used to connect two or more notes and gives direction when you should tongue. A soft tongue should be used at the beginning of the slur and then not again until the slur is finished. For the notes underneath a slur, a constant stream of air is used. This marking is also a way to connect the notes and is used more often in slow pieces.
This last marking is called a fermata and is most commonly found at the end of a piece of music, although it can be placed anywhere. It can be placed above a note or rest. A fermata marks a pause of unspecified length. If it is above a note, you can hold that note for as long as you feel (usually longer than the note value). If it is above a rest then you get to choose how long the rest is before continuing on to the rest of the piece. The best rule of thumb for following a fermata is to add emotion and feeling to your piece so you can feel how long to hold a note or rest.
There are many more articulation markings that you will find as you continue on in your flute studies, but this should get you started.