Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Flautists Who Sing

Flautists Who Sing
By Jane Rutter

I  gave a flute masterclass yesterday  at the Australian Institute of Music.Coming away from it, the main thing I talked about  to the class,was the concept of Bel Canto. The notion of connecting the sound with a sense of voice. The technical ability to follow the vocal line in the music.

Jane Rutter
So here are my initial tips for  playing with communicative intent. Margaret Crawford commented on how lucky she–and I- were to be exposed to the wonderful Rampal school of flute playing in Paris.So here is the legacy of Joseph & Jean-Pierre Rampal and Alain Marion.… it’s my legacy to my students now too!

Flute players who sing through the flute–first tip from Jane Rutter: 

1. Use Marcel Moyse’s brilliant ideas from the Art of sonority, and tone development through interpretation. These books themselves are fantastic but they also are meant as a guide for you. If you have trouble technically sustaining the sound–particularly in fast passages–apply the same rules to your pieces. Play Marcel Moyse’s examples in every octave. Play them piano, Forte, with different tone colours. In fact  invent your own hoops to jump through!

A) Start with the first exercise in the art of sonority, which is like a yoga stretch for flautists, and play it chromatically. A good extension of this exercise is–when you get to low C, go back up in the same manner as high as you can. Turn around at the top and go back down to C3. This exercise illustrates the simplest possible form of phrase: from one note to the next semitone. You should play it from the heart and is musically as possible.

B) follow the same ideas as scales–connect the notes and imagine you’re playing a rhythmically and harmonically interesting piece. Place scales with emotional and communicative intent.

C) play difficult, fast pieces very slowly as if they were at tone exercise (see above). Join the notes and give them exactly the same line they would have if you were playing at the correct tempo. If they involve double or triple tonguing, you can still apply this principle: articulate as you would normally but join the notes together as part of one phrase. If the phrase is for today and you run out of breath playing it slowly, briefly unique to commence the new part of the phrase buy beginning with the last note you’ve played before your breath. This method allows you to practice any phrase in music and will improve your vocal line, your control of expression and your breathing. More later!

*Jane Rutter performs on a 14K Powell Handmade Custom Flute.  Find more information about Jane on her website:

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