LFP 066 | Articulation Markings – Why the Big Deal?

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LFP 066 | Articulation Markings - Why the Big Deal?

Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:

In this episode, you will learn about articulation markings and why they are such a big deal in music.

This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 066.


You’ll learn:

What this podcast will be all about

  • Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
  • How music relates to speech
  • What omission and substitution are
  • Why articulation markings are so precise in music
  • What you can look forward to learning from listening

Learn Flute Podcast 066

Press the Play Button to Listen Now:

Hey all – it’s me Rebecca, here for another exciting episode of the Learn Flute Podcast which is for people just like you who are learning how to play the flute and are looking to do it so they can play really well and in a time-effective way. You’ve come to the right place, and in today’s episode we’re going to talk about articulation marking – why the big deal?

Well welcome back, today is going to be something really good for you to listen to, ponder on, practice, and.. Basically I know that what I tell you today will open your eyes.. Or ears.. Even more so that you can understand and do what it takes to become a really great flute player – or flutist same thing.

And let me first start by telling you congratulations for just being here in the first place. It’s so great that we live in this day and age of incredible technology so that we can interact with each  other in ways that wouldn’t even have been possible before the internet- because you are scattered all over this beautiful earth, and I’m honored and thrilled to be able to be your online flute teacher.

With that- let’s get started!

I”m going to attempt to describe something to you by using a parallel analogy of something you’re most likely used to and that is speech. I mean speaking, you know- your voice. It doesn’t matter what language comes out of your mouth today, because it’s the actual speaking part we’re going to talk about, and I know that every person in the world can understand no matter the actual dialect or language being spoken.

First, let’s talk about the word ‘articulation’ today, it’s a fancy word.

A good definition in a flute- musical sense would be something on the lines of the process of the words that are formed through sounds and syllables by using our tongue, air support, length and duration of air stream and etcetera.

Now, in regular speech, if we’re talking about this is a speech and not a music sense or a moment, someone who has a problem with articulation has a difficulty or deficiency creating the correct sounds or pronounces sounds or syllables incorrectly causing those who are listening to have a hard time completely understanding what is being said.

I have a sister in law who is a speech pathologist and it’s fun to listen to her talk about it- she probably has no idea that I’m very interested in the subject as well since we musicians are learning to ‘speak music’ in a sense, and oftentimes- no, I’d say most of the time have some problems with our annunciation. And, so that brought me to this little discussion today.

In flute music, we have the same issues that a person speaking would have. A couple of things to think about are these: the first one  is the word “ommission” and that means accidentally skipping a sound,.. Or in our musical case that would mean we’ve skipped the most important beginning of a note or an articulation marking. In speech it would be the same as saying ‘oo’ instead of ‘shoe’.

The next in this little list is ‘substitution’. That means changing one sound for another in speaking- like using the word ‘wabbit’ instead of ‘rabbit’.. Well, in flute music that could possibly be the same as tonguing when a note is supposed to be slurred, or slurring when a note is marked to be tongued.

And I made these examples pretty close to the same thing in my musical examples because that’s exactly what I’m aiming for here.

If we read music that has been tastefully composed then there will be markings that we flutists need to read. Those slur marks are super duper important! It’s the difference between saying “Hi, my ame is webeca” and “Hi my name is Rebecca”. There’s just a way to learn how to play so that other people can clearly hear and distinguish what we are saying easily.

Ok- that’s the first part of this articulation talk, now the second has to do with phrasing instead of just one note at a time. So, just to be clear here I’m talking about thinking of whole sentences in speech as the same as whole musical sentences (which are called phrases) instead of just only worrying about one word or note at a time.

There’s more to playing with proper articulation than just watching for slurs and tongue markings. So, what are they? Well, the higher level you are playing on the easier it is for you to put more into it. For example instead of just flatly tonguing a note and moving on in a particular piece it must be known if the appropriate strength of tongue should be hard and explosive or light and smooth. It really all depends on the piece, the time period and composer, and.. Well a host of other details.

Basically, what I’m trying to do today is open your eyes and ears to more little nuances in music, and to understand that they are as important as everyday speech is.

Little children most of the time start their speaking lives with little issues that we think are so adorable and cute sometimes.. Like when their first words are ‘dah dah’ — well, later that gets nourished into ‘daddy’ by a series of episodes where the parents are repeating and encouraging the child to continue trying.

Think of yourself as a youngster in music, and assume that it will take time and practice to learn how to get it all right. It’s just the human process. And, you can do it – especially with all of the resources I’ve put out for you here at Learn Flute Online. I really have designed my learning courses with you in mind, and have complete faith that you can do it.

In fact, in the lesson videos and modules, I’ve designed them specifically for certain skills at precise moments in your development so that you can just add a new little layer to the already growing foundation. It’s fun and cool!

I take a specific song or tune and add my learning twist on it so that it is clear and understandable for you. The mp3 accompaniments are there for your development as well as the videos and pdf sheet music.

If there’s ever something you feel I’ve missed in a lesson, please let me know.

Well, that does it for today and this episode number sixty six where we answered the question of articulation marking – why the big deal?

If you haven’t had a chance yet to join us in the membership area this week at Learn Flute Online in either the Gold Level or the Intermediate slash Advanced level, then I invite you to join us! We’re a happy group of people of all ages learning step by step how to play and how to stand on our own little flute legs.

I just love it when I receive a message from someone who has begun with me as a new student and has been diligently moving through the lessons until they one day are able to even perform a pretty tune for a friend or family member. It really does bring satisfaction and joy on both ends of this equation. Family and friends are happy and proud of you, and also you yourself feel so much encouragement and joy from knowing it’s something you’ve made yourself. It really is quite awesome.

So, here’s to listening and learning even more about articulation this week. See you again soon!


Thank you for Tuning In!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about the flute and articulation markings – Why the Big Deal?  Join us for the next episode.

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller
Get Flutie with us! Learn and enjoy every musical minute.

2 thoughts on “LFP 066 | Articulation Markings – Why the Big Deal?”

  1. I have been a student with you for several years. I believe you answered this question in the past but I cannot find the answer. If I desired to send an email to yourself directly (privately) what email should I use? Thanks.

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