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David's Tip of the Day: Tongue Blocking Tips - Flutter Tongue

David Barrett Admin's picture

Start with a slap and continue to make the slapping motion with a fully supported airstream (not individual pumps of air like that of individual slaps).


Most importantly...
1) Keep your tongue to the left. The most common error is to allow the tongue to drift to the center, essentially causing the technique to turn into multiple pulls.

2) At any point you should be able to stop your tongue on the face of the harmonica and you'll have a single note. Later you can add a little bit of the upper hole (like you do in Bending Study 4, "My Blues") for a thicker texture, but for now your goal is to get that right-most hole in your embouchure to always remain open, without bleeding in adjacent holes when your tongue is on the face of the harmonica.

3) The sound that makes the flutter is the combination of the chord produced (tongue off) and single note (tongue on). Students often mistakenly move the tongue too fast, or not off of the harmonica enough (far enough back in the mouth). You want that big chord, so allow your tongue to travel a good distance back in your mouth, adjusting to have your tongue move less as you desire to speed the flutter up.

Just like the slap...
1) A light touch is key.
2) Using the blade of the tongue will allow the width required to cover the holes without pressing your tongue on the face of the harmonica.
3) Keep the tongue relaxed... a tense tongue is slow and commonly arrhythmic