How to Develop Flute Trill Speed

Flute trills require rapid alternation between two notes. Since the two pitches played alternate quickly, it is possible to use alternate fingerings to create a trill. Alternate fingerings produce out-of-tune notes or result in a dull timbre; however, since the trill alternates so quickly, intonation problems will not be evident. Amateur and professional players alike must learn to use alternate fingerings to make this process easier.

Step 1: Determine the first note of the trill by looking at the music. In Baroque music, you will start a note above the written pitch; other music uses the written pitch.

Step 2: Consult the trill fingering chart to see whether the notes you must trill appear. If they are not listed, it means that the normal fingerings should be used.

Step 3: Practice the trill slowly by alternating between the first and second note. Once you have a clean transition to each note, gradually increase the speed until you are playing the trill rapidly.

Step 4: Decide how fast to play the trill based on the type of music. If the music is slow, play a relaxed, slower trill. If the trill is fast, increase the speed.

Identify what a trill looks like in the music. Trills appear as an italicized abbreviation, “tr” or a long wavy line attached to the “tr” symbol. In some cases, only one symbol is used. Unless a flat or sharp sign appears, you should play the next note in the key for the trill. Determining the speed of the trill may be difficult. Listen to professional recordings of the piece to hear how professional musicians interpret the trills. Do your best to copy them and in time, you will develop a feel for correct trill speed.


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