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Basic Flute Method
Method book for those beginning to learn flute.


Getting started
Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5Lesson 6

Playing the flute
Lesson 7Lesson 8Lesson 9Lesson 10Lesson 11Lesson 12Lesson 13Lesson 14

Building on skills
Lesson 15Lesson 16Lesson 17Lesson 18Lesson 19Lesson 20Lesson 21Lesson 22Culmination

LinksLearning a piece of music

Related books
SaxophoneMusic TheoryBaroque Flute HandbookWestern Music History

Basic tonguing[edit | edit source]

Unless specified in music, notes should always be tongued. At this point you should know how to produce sound. If you do not, read the previous lesson. If you do, begin by producing sound a few times. As you begin to blow each note, move your tongue as if you were saying "tu" (pronounced "too") or "du" (pronounced "do"). Practice this until you have a smooth sound. After this, play several notes. This is done by blowing a single stream of air separated by the sylables of "tu". As you practice this remember a few things: When tonguing, use the tip of your tongue to produce a clearer sound, this also prevents the sound from sounding like "lu". Also listen to the sound, if the sound stops completely, you tonguing is too heavy. If this happens, just don't say the syllables as heavily.

The objective of basic tonguing is to produce notes with a clearer-sounding attack. The tongue should act like a pressure release valve, attacking each note with a strong stream of air.

Staccato (short) tonguing[edit | edit source]

From the basic tonguing, change the syllable to "ta" or "da", and cut the air stream off after half of the notes value. Do not, just lower the amount of air you use, or you will produce a marcato effect. Also, do not use too much air, or you will get a rinforzando or accented note.

Tonguings to avoid[edit | edit source]

Do not use "ba", "ma" or "pa". These start with the lips closed, and cause the sound to be ambiguous at the beginning of a note, which is for the most part a bad sound.

For now, do not use "ku" or "qu" (pronounced "Coo") or "Gu" (pronounced "Goo"). These tonguings will be used later with double tonguing, but get used to basic tonguing first.

Don't use "la", "ya", "sa" or "za". These produce a vibrato like sound. "Ha" is used to produce a vibrato, but don't worry about that now.