The Clarinet of the Twenty-First Century - E. Michael Richards

CHAPTER 4 - Other Resources


Flutter-Tonguing

Flutter-tonguing on the clarinet is achieved by one of two methods: 1) a rapid flutter of the tongue behind the reed, "d-r-r-r" (or a rolled "r" on the upper palate), or 2) a growl produced by the throat (typically a trilled throat 'r') in a manner similar to gargling. The first method, which can be achieved by fewer players, is difficult to achieve at soft or changing dynamic levels. The second method does not produce as dramatic of a tone modification, but is possible throughout a greater range of the instrument. In general, flutter-tonguing by method 2 is feasible from the lowest pitch of the clarinet through C-sharp/D 5 at any dynamic range. It is also possible to produce on higher pitches, but becomes increasingly more difficult, especially at a pp dynamic level.

The first use of flutter-tonguing can be found in Strauss' Don Quixote , where the trumpets are asked to imitate bleating sheep. An early use in the clarinet solo repertoire can be found in Alban Berg's Four Pieces Op. 5 for clarinet and piano (1913). Flutter-tonguing is used here for two different musical reasons: for intensifying a phrase (Example #61a), and for creating a blurred, fleeting texture (Example #61b).

Example #61

click here for mp3 of a - click here for mp3 of b

 

Alban Berg FOUR PIECES FOR CLARINET AND PIANO, Op. 5

Copyright 1924 by Universal Edition

Copyright Renewed

All rights reserved

Used by permission of European American Music

Distributors Corporation, sole U.S. and Canadian agent

for Universal Edition

 

Harold Seletsky utilizes it for similar reasons in his work of 1978, Robin's Piece (Example #62).

 

Example #62 (click on music for mp3)

•  intensification

 

•  blurred, afterthought

Harold Seletsky ROBIN'S PIECE

All rights reserved

Used by permission from the composer

 

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for information on how to see/hear more musical examples of flutter tonguing, click here

 

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