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“A Study of Language and Its Uses In Flute Performance and Pedagogy” 

“A Study of Language and Its Uses In Flute Performance and Pedagogy” is a research project conducted by Dr. Sarah Tuley-Coleman.  Published in 2021, this research document explores the perceptions of flutists and their views on how language may or may not affect a flutist’s performance and/or teaching.  As this is only a preliminary study, the languages focused on in this study include English, French, German, and Italian.  This study discusses some basic differences and similarities between these languages, explores many treatises and publications written by flutists, and includes interviews and a survey from contemporary flutists.  


Various tone colors can be produced on the flute in part by altering the shape of the lips, jaw and tongue movement, and air speed. As these actions are similar to those in the production of speech, flutists and flute teachers often associate aspects of playing with consonants and vowels. However, the shape of the oral cavity can vary depending on the spoken language of the flute-player. By becoming familiar with the pronunciations of different sounds from various languages, the flutist may discover a wider variety of tone colors at his/her disposal. This document will investigate the use of vowels in the teaching and performing of the flute, with specific emphasis on the differences among English, French, German, and Italian languages and possible uses in flute playing. This preliminary study will also focus on European flute teachers and American flute teachers and their perceptions on language and how it affects their own performance and teaching methods.

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