What Is a Flute Trill?

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Flute Trill

The flute trill is one of the most fun sounds a flutist can make. You may have heard people mention that they enjoy the chirping, fluttery, sounds that a flute can make. Let’s explore what it really is so you can understand even more for learning how to play the flute.

Around the month of December in many parts of the world stores and homes are decorated in celebration of the Christmas Holiday season. You might see tinsel, winter flowers, ribbons, and brightly colored balls that are placed on a pine tree as ‘ornaments’. These decorations/ornaments are the highlight of the season- ‘eye-candy’ if you will. They are used to excited the visual senses.

Just as these ornaments are to the Christmas Holiday Season, trills are to various melodies. Trills are a way of ‘decorating’ a melody. There are short and long trills, fast or slow trills, as well as trills that don’t follow the usual pattern.


So what is the pattern of a flute trill? The trill is performed by starting on one note and then moving to the note above (usually) and back again in a rapid repetition. Sounds simple enough, right? It is, except there are some exceptions to these rules, and you just have to go through the progression of learning and level to understand them all.

I remember as a beginner player, I thought all trills were the same. When I studied on a more advanced level with a super professor-instructor, I learned that there were many different instances where you must learn to adapt. For example, it’s okay to make a generalization that any piece that was composed before the 1800’s should have the trill start on the upper note instead of the main note.

Trills are a way of ‘decorating’ a melody.

I’ll show you exactly when, where, and how to use this ornament in the appropriate places in certain pieces in the lessons here at LearnFluteOnline.com.  And, I’ll take it in an easy to understand format.

Probably one of the most important things to mention about the trill is that it isn’t usually intended to take over the melody. They are to be used tastefully just as decorations would be used on a Christmas tree. But, then again- some people like ornaments so much that they plaster their tree with them to the point where you can only see the shape of the tree, but no actual greenery is visible. Hmmm. Something to think about if you are composing your own music.

I’d love to show you how to balance the trills, which fingers are proper, and what positioning is suggested for best success. You’ll find these tips and videos in the members area as you move through the lessons here in the Learn Flute Online programs.

Questions? Comments about the flute trill?

See you soon!

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

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

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