(3) Flute – Supercharge Your Flute Technique
Composed by Peter Bartels
    
    Australian performer and pedagogue Bartels has created a technique book aimed at bridging the gap between materials for the beginner and advanced player and has done so in a creative and engaging manner. Consisting of seven chapters, he covers such topics as scales, arpeggios and broken chords, chromatics, and scales in thirds, but he does so with varying patterns like half scales, sequential scales, continuous arpeggio expansion, and by varying meters. By providing parts of the whole and ways to practice them, students then understand the patterns better and master the whole more fully. The final two chapters focus on working on difficult passages and how to organize practice. Bartels’s clear language, clever titles, copious musical examples, and effective strategies make this a book useful one for flutists of many ability levels. (peterbartelsflute.com) (D.B.S.)

Hi everyone, I’m happy to offer some free small group online sessions (Zoom) to anyone who has a copy of my book. If you’d like to be part of a small group to work through and discuss some of the material then contact me; Messenger, my website, phone, email. I’ll refine the arrangements once I see how many people are interested. It may be a teachers’ group or a students’ group. Of course, if I’m overwhelmed with requests I may need to limit what I can offer. Peter

I’m pleased to let you know that the 2nd print run of Supercharge Your Flute Technique has arrived. It’s a new spiral bound version that will sit nice and flat on your music stand.

Spiral_bound

The Victorian Flute Guild is delighted that Kathryn Moorhead, Associate Principal Flute of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, will be presenting the annual Professional Development Day next Friday, August 30th, at Saint Catherine’s School in Melbourne. This is certainly a wonderful opportunity for flute teachers to learn from a fabulous flautist and teacher. Here is the flyer for the day and please register your attendance in advance.

The Victorian Flute Guild turns 50 this year. To celebrate they are having a 50th Anniversary Gala Concert on Wednesday July 10th featuring Wissam Boustany, Ian Clarke and Matthias Ziegler and some fantastic local musicians. Here is the flyer and hopefully, if you live in the vicinity, you can come along and celebrate this momentous occasion with the Flute Guild. victorianfluteguild.org info@victorianfluteguild.org

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that this articulation marking, a tenuto line and a staccato dot combined, is the one that confuses people the most.

In fact it is quite straight forward if you think about it logically. The tenuto line is referring to the beginning of the note and the staccato dot is referring to the end of the note.

The tenuto is telling you to start the note with that little bit of weight I mentioned in my previous blog on tenuto.

The staccato marking is telling you not to connect the note to the following note; leave a space. How long that space has to be is determined by the music you are playing and your stylistic choices. What sounds good?

Try this process on a one octave ascending G major scale:

  1. Play the scale with normal, basic tonguing
  2. Play the scale with lovely staccato, remembering your detaché
  3. Play the scale tenuto with that little bit of weight at the start of each note
  4. Now play mezzo-staccato. So each note has a bit of weight at the start but is not connected to the next note.

Try this sequence on a few different scales exploring with the length of your mezzo-staccato notes.

When there is a row of mezzo-staccato notes, they are often placed under a slur. This can look confusing as the slur and the staccato seem to contradict each other. It is played exactly the same as when the note is written with a tenuto line and a staccato dot; slight weight on the beginning of the note but not connected to the following note. A half staccato.

The variations in Studies 1 and 2 of Moyse’s 24 Little Melodic Studies are good for experimenting with the length mezzo-staccato notes.  

The opening of the Faure Fantasie is a brilliant example of mezzo-staccato in our repertoire.

And one last thing, string players refer to mezzo-staccato as portato, which means carried and comes from the Italian portare, to carry. This can be a great image of how to play your mezzo-staccato notes.

A common definition of tenuto that is bandied about is hold for the full value of the note. This definition is half right in that one note is connected to the following note, so still articulated but without a gap.

The one thing however, that is often missing from this definition is the gentle weight that is given to the beginning of each tenuto note. It’s a bit like walking along carrying heavy bags and each step requires a bit of effort to keep the momentum going.

In previous blogs, I’ve written about the tongue being just behind the front teeth on the alveolar ridge. For tenuto however; the tongue tends to move back, away from the teeth, along the ridge as if saying the sounds do or da. It is a gentler and somewhat rounded tongue action.

Using this tongue action with a gentle detaché pulse can give the tenuto note the weight it requires at the beginning. You can even try dropping your chin slightly for each note to darken the sound a little if that is appropriate for the music you are playing.

So if your standard idea for tenuto is hold for its full value, try adding that smidge of weight at the beginning of each note to create more interest in your articulation.