Flutter Tonguing Tips

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Domination3785, May 3, 2015.

  1. Furcifer

    Furcifer Pianissimo User

    Jul 26, 2010
    If you can do a horse lip-flap (similar to getting a buzz on a tuba, LOL), well, it's just about the same thing with your tongue. The middle of the tongue stays in place while the tip just flaps against the roof of the mouth, just behind the upper teeth. It's just a sound effect. Most people learn to do it as a baby.

    Now, just for giggles and FYI, I can even do something I call a "double-flutter" where I get the back of the tongue (about halfway between the "growl" area and the tip of the tongue, going alternately with the front, with the air stream narrowed almost to a hiss. It sounds very stuttered in the horn, and I've never found a use for it at all, but there it is. Somewhere along the way, I actually figured it out early in my playing. I can actually growl, double-flutter and horse-flap the lips all at the same time. (It sounds gross and it's absolutely useless, LOL!) Some of the aptitude for this sort of thing comes does come from native language, but some of it may also come from an infantile predisposition to making sound effects. I've noted studies where it was found that male babies are more prone to this, and also more prone to making sound effects in animated conversation later in life.

    There's a second type of growl sound where you actually hum a note that causes a harmonic "growl" or distortion-effect with the lip-buzz in the horn. It's a really dirty sound, great for bluesy stuff. I have a hard time with it. I had a friend who was just a natural master of it, so, again, aptitude for the freak-playing sound-effect stuff is a big factor in how effortlessly a player can pull it off. Listen to a lot of George Rock and even older 20's and 30's radio-show stuff to pick up most of the novelty sound-effects that might show up on a chart sometime, LOL.
    Sethoflagos likes this.
  2. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 6, 2012
    Ft. Worth, TX
    I can talk like Donald Duck. I'm a big hit with kids everywhere, but have yet to translate that rare and amazing ability into anything useful on the trumpet.

    I also speak Spanish as well as any Mexican*, and roll my R's with reckless abandon. So far it hasn't made me a better trumpet player, but I can flutter tongue if I need to.

    *If you happen to be a blue-eyed gringo with the ability to switch between natural drawling Texan and impeccable Spanish, you can have a lot of fun messing with the poor kids at drive-through windows.
  3. limepickle

    limepickle Piano User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Dallas, TX
    Your description seemed similar at first, but what threw me off was the stuff about the "p sound."
  4. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    That just adds an initial explosion or pop to the air flow such that the movement is started crisp and at the time the entry for the flutter work is required.
  5. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    As was previously stated, some languages make it much easier to produce a good flutter tongue. One of the greatest teachers (and a superb player) ever, Vincent Chicowicz, knew that it did not come naturally for some players and it seemed impossible for them. It is a movement that must be learned specifically for the instrument. He also noted that some pedagogical literature suggested that some people are genetically unable to flutter tongue.
    It can be learned but one must take the time to practice rolling the r until it becomes easy.
    I had to practice flutter tonguing constantly to "get" it and it took a month or two of a few minutes every day to achieve it. I still must do some daily to keep the ease of flutter tonguing going properly.
    Rich T.

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