Flutter Tongue 


Flutter tongue is produced with a rolled [r] tongue behind the teeth while blowing into the flute with a normal embouchure. It can also be produced in the throat by vibrating the uvula (like a soft gargle). The resultant sound is effectively the same for both methods of Flutter Tongue, and players may choose the method which is most effective for themselves.


For composers, it not possible to slow down the speed of a Flutter Tongue with either method of production.


Production Tips

To produce the rolled [r] Flutter Tongue allow the tongue to vibrate in a rolled [r] phoneme while blowing a fast, steady airstream (as with normal flute tone production) to create a continuous, fluid sound. This requires more support than normal flute tone. If your tongue has trouble maintaining the rolled [r] for longer periods of time, you can practice this away from the flute, just blowing air and rolling the [r]. 


However, if your tongue does not vibrate in this rolled [r] phoneme, you can produce a Throat Flutter by gently vibrating the uvula, like a soft gargle sound, while blowing a fast, steady airstream (as with normal flute tone production) to create a continuous, fluid sound. This can also be practiced away from the flute to gain comfort and control over the physical aspect of the technique. Throat Flutter can be very useful in the low register and softer dynamics for a clearer tone. 


Extended Variations

  • Either variety of Flutter Tongue can be produced without tone as a variation of Aeolian Sound by using the "duckface" embouchure.

  • Growl: This is a very harsh Throat Flutter produced with no normal flute tone and less air than usual so that the sound is broken, creating an animal-like growl.


Notation Examples
Video Examples

Flute 1

Flutter Tongue with rolled [r]

Flute 2

Throat Flutter

Igor Strawinsky, Le sacre du printemps, Teil 1, Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes, bei der Ziffer 103.

Audio Examples
Flutter Tongue on Alto Flute - FluteXpansions
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Alto Flute

Flutter Tongue examples

Flutter Tongue on Bass Flute - FluteXpansions
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Bass Flute

Flutter Tongue examples

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