Tongue Ram


Tongue Ram is an explosive percussive gesture produced by sealing the embouchure hole completely with the lips and strongly propelling the tongue into the embouchure hole. The sounding resonance produced is not the same pitch as the fingered note. Generally speaking, the C-flute resonates a major seventh below the fingered/written pitch. Alto- and Bass-flute resonate either a major or minor seventh below the written pitch depending on the fingering. Piccolo resonates a minor ninth below the written pitch. 


For C-, Alto- and Bass-flute, the resulting resonance when using a short air column (left hand notes) can vary to a minor seventh below the fingered pitch. Whereas notes using a long air column (both hands) are typically a major seventh below the fingered pitch. This can also vary with the diameter of an instrument. 


This technique produces a pitch resonance in the first octave only, low B- middle C# (up to middle F by using the trill keys). The speed at which a player can produce repeated Tongue Rams is unique to each player. 


Production Tips:

There are three methods of producing a Tongue Ram:

1) exhale a fast burst of air, propel the tongue forward, stopping it in the embouchure hole sealing it completely

2) exhale a fast air burst, stop tongue suddenly on the hard palate of the mouth, like in the syllable [hut]

3) inhale a fast burst of air sucking the tongue quickly onto the hard palate of the mouth, like in the syllable [whit]. 


It is critical to have the embouchure hole completely sealed by the lips for any Tongue Ram.


You can use more or less air ahead of the Tongue Ram. Using less creates a more compact sound. Using more creates a 'whoosh' quality before the pop.  

Notation Examples
Video Examples

Flute 1

Basic technique of exhaled Tongue Ram with more and less air ahead (with and without flute)

Flute 2

Inhaled Tongue Ram (with and without flute) 


Exhaled and Inhaled Tongue Rams


Exhaled and Inhaled Tongue Rams


Exhaled and Inhaled Tongue Rams

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