I feel a common misconception that people sometimes have about baroque music is that one needs to articulate more. More separated, more clearly, playing 'drier'. This idea doesn't really reflect the true aesthetic of baroque music, which is the speaking quality. It is actually about using a variety of articulations, with slurring included. In historical playing, we use syllables like D or R (hard like in Spanish), in addition to the common T which is most common for modern flute playing. This really gives the player a lot more options to shape notes, as we can adjust infinitely the intensity of the syllable (lighter or more distinct? More forward in the mouth or in the back?) as well as the quality of air used to play in that moment. By quality I mean the characteristic - faster or slower airstream? Loud or soft? Bell-like impulses or more stretched? Brilliant or dark?
The thing with slurring is that it's an "on" or "off" mechanism. The breath can still play a role, but we simply lose those fine shadings we'd otherwise have with T D or R. That doesn't mean, however, that slurring didn't exist or that it's a bad thing to do. There are MANY examples of slurring in baroque music! It all has to do with the interpreter's intention, what is to be expressed in a passage? Which articulation does justice to the intended affect?
How are you speaking to your audience? Should it sound easy going or is there a more intense message to be delivered? What kind of profile or texture in sound makes sense here?
Make all these decisions a conscious one, based on informed choices. And by including diverse articulation methods AND slurring, we increase our vocabulary in our musical language.
ABOUT THE BLOG:
I got inspired to document my own observations in flute-playing and music-making. Also, I thought it's important to pass on the teachings of the great Wilbert Hazelzet, as well as many other mentors who have influenced my artistic visions one way or the other. Enjoy this potpourri of tips, inspirations, and musings.
I'm specialized in coaching historical and modern flutists. CONTACT ME directly to set up a session, in person or online.