Articulation is the manner in which notes are played. We have learned to silently say DU or TU for each note. This is called Legato. It is the smooth, distinct rendering of the note. There are other ways to play an individual note or passage.
The following exercises may be played on either a C or F instrument. Play each as indicated and listen to how the character of the melody is affected.
Stanza 1. (each musical line is called a stanza.) If two or more notes that are not of the same pitch are tied (have the curved line over or under them), it is called a Slur. A slur is played with the same breath and not articulated by the tongue but by the fingering. Play stanza 1 silently saying the DU's as indicated.
Stanza 2. If a note has a dot above it, this is called Staccato. It is played very short and chopped off. The note is not held for its full value but still counted correctly. The duration of the note should be about 1/4 or less than its legato value. Take special care to play the half notes in measures 2 and 4 legato since there is no dot over them.
Stanza 3. If the note has a dash above it, this is called Tenuto. It is held for its full value plus a tad more, almost running into the next note. Sometimes the abbreviation ten. is written just above or below it.
Stanza 4. If two notes of the same pitch are connected with a curved line, the value of the counts are added together and held for that time. It is a way of playing long notes that are seperated by a bar line. This is called a Tie and you will run into it often. Play the piece legato and hold the notes for their full tied value.
Stanza 5. The long curved lines are called Ligatures. A ligature is the equivalent of a musical sentence. Play the entire ligature with one breath. In between the ligatures is a little apostrophe. This is called a Breath Mark and is an editorial suggestion of where to take in some air. When you play other pieces, you may wish to put in your own breath marks. It is most embarassing when the breath takes a hike in the middle of a long note or passage during a performance.
Stanza 6. Legato slurs. Play the whole piece very smoothly, slurring where indicated.
Stanze 7. Now put it all together and play, Maestro (Italian for Master).
When we blow into the recorder and silently pronounce DU, we are single tonguing. When two or more notes are played in rapid passages, we pronounce the attack like, DIG-UH. We can execute 2, 4, 8 . . . . . . notes in rapid fashion by employing this technique. For example, try this for eight notes, pronouncing the words . . . DIG-UH DIG-UH DIG-UH DIG-UH. This is called Double Tonguing.
When the notes are in groups of three, we can Triple Tongue by pronouncing the words, DIG-UH-DEE.
A Triplet is when three notes are fitted into the space of two of the same notes. For example, in 4/4 time there are two eighth notes to one beat. However, when the eighth notes are in the form of a triplet, there are three notes to one beat. Normally you will see a 3 above (or below) the triplet to indicate this. If a piece has many triplets, the word simile may appear after the first measure. This means that all other measures are simular, that is, all groups of three are triplets.
Stanza 1. This shows how to count a triplet. There are other kinds of this type of musical notation which can employ other groupings than three. It is called a Tuplet and will be covered in the advanced sections. A triplet is just one kind of Tuplet.
Stanza 2. This is single tonguing. Try this exercise without the recorder, pronouncing or singing the words. Make sure to keep the count even. Then play it on the recorder.
Stanza 3. Now practice double tonging, with and without the recorder.
Stanza 4. This is an example of Slurred Triplets. The curved line over the triplets is a slur. It is sung and played by slurring each triplet. It is really just single tonguing with triplet fingering. Sing and play it.
Stanza 5. Notice we have changed the words and changed the lines over each triplet to a bracket. This is legato triplet playing and triple tonguing. Sing and play it.
You now have considerable facility to play any recorder music. In the next part of the lessons you will play some excerpts from standard repertoire. They are all by dead guys but we're pretty sure they were alive when they wrote them.
AWRIGHT!, Take me to the Snappy Tunes!
Uh-Uh, I don't feel like playing anymore.