How to Flutter?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Hessle47, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Hessle47

    Hessle47 New Member


    I wonder if anyone can advise me (a relative beginner) on how to "flutter" a note?

    We have been given a lot of new music, and one of the pieces not practiced yet is "Overture to Mack and Mabel". My tenor horn part has two passages marked as flutter, one on three minim A's and the other on G's.

    I really would like to have some idea of how to do this before we actually start practicing it.

    Any advice gratefully received, thank you.
  2. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Have you ever done any singing?

    If so, do you know how to roll your Rs?
  3. Hessle47

    Hessle47 New Member

    No, I cannot roll my R's either!
  4. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    I cant do this either. I make a growl in my throat instead. Its not brilliant but it isn't as obvious as a straight note.
  5. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I'm not sure I can help on this one.

    I used to be unable to both roll my Rs or flutter and I used to "growl" in my throat like Donna does but I "Learnt" how to do it (If that makes sense).

    However, I couldn't tell you what I did to be able to do it.

    It's like flaring my nostrils, and changing the direction of one eye whilst keep the other one straight. I can do it, but couldn't tell you how I figured it out!

  6. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    According to the one biology lesson I can remember, some people just can't roll their R's. I can, but not when I'm playing, so when I have to I turn my tongue on to it's side and roll the side of my tongue. Strange, but it works for me!
  7. al74

    al74 New Member

    Anyone can flutter tongue in my experience, but it may mean adding a letter as a prefix, either a G or a K.
    So you end up with a Grrrreat aka Tony from the Frosties advert, or a Krrrate like a scary line from film, where someone finds a huge crater in the ground.
    Daft yes , but does work
  8. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Paddy Flower might be the one to help on how to flutter :rolleyes::biggrin:
  9. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I think the ideal way is to roll your "Rs" like you were speaking Spanish.

    However, as stated above, I have also heard that some genetically cannot do this. In that case, rolling your "Rs" as if you were speaking German (the back of the throat, "guttoral" roll) is the best substitute.
  10. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Me too. It's almost impossible to hear the difference most of the time. I can roll my Rs (learning Welsh I pretty much had to) but I can only do a proper "front of the tongue" flutter when playing loud.

    2nd cornet part in Eden has bottom C pp flutters tied to straight note, back to flutter again without re-articulating. Only way I could do these was at the back of the throat, every time I tried to do it at the front of the tongue I got a stupidly loud "attack" at the start of the fluttered note.
  11. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member

    B-boom-ching... :clap:

    You beat me to it Maestro

    Seriously thou, I just relax the back of my tongue and raise it to the roof of my mouth. I know some people find it easy others don't. Did Paddy just make a comment on something musical rather than just betting? heavens above
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  12. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    I can't roll R's but I make a sound like a cat purring, and it has a pretty similar effect, although it does sound it but duff on Low BB notes :oops:
  13. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    Not for me! So no, not everyone can flutter!
  14. Hessle47

    Hessle47 New Member

    Well thanks a lot people, it seems to be rather a difficult thing to master for a beginer. But at least you have given me lots of ideas.

    Thanks again for all the help.
  15. al74

    al74 New Member

    So try G & K ,as stated , does work
  16. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Definitely NOT the case.
    Just like some can roll their tongue, some can flutter tongue, others could practice until hell freezes over. I think there are several "body" things like this!

    I can do it, never needed to try, it just worked for me first time, but far more accomplished players than I have failed miserably.
  17. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Can take some practice to do effectively, especially maintaining the sound and pitch of the note. Was presented with some fierce flutter-tonguing on double B when playing for a community opera a couple of years back - quite hard holding it down at the written pitch and punching out the sound from the gallery of the theatre - poor old string players down in the pit wondered what had hit them :eek: ;)
  18. Hessle47

    Hessle47 New Member

    Well we tried the piece in practice on Sunday, a number of the longer serving (more skilled) players did it effortlessly, or so it seemed!

    The more I learn about playing, it makes me realise just how much there is too learn and how big the hill is I have still to climb.

    I also found that there are a few bars of semi-quavers runs finishing on top C, a bit much for a second horn I thought!!
  19. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    This website has a lot of useful info:

    With regard to those who've struggled to learn the skill and concluded that there must be something genetic to it as an easy get-out, it has this to say:

    It gives a number of techniques for trying to master this skill (including the "dR" idea posted previously), and lots of info about how the effect is produced. Very few people find it easy to achieve, most find it hard (I know I did!), but once you've learned how to do it, it becomes simple.

    FWIW, a growl is generally an adequate substitute, though lacking something of the percussive force of a true flutter; however, I have occasionally come across music that has asked in separate places for both growl and flutter, so it is useful to be able to produce both...
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  20. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Depends upon the Section I suppose - I wouldt expect that from 4th Section, but would be shocked if Champ Sectn 2nd Horn couldnt do it.