The 4th étude is a wonderful exercise in flexibility and finding life in the sound in a very short time. Again, Andersen gives the flute two voices – a melodic line with accompaniment. In 4 (a), he uses staccato triplets throughout and in 4 (b), the rhythm is changed to demi-semiquavers (32nds) with two different articulation patterns. The challenge, much like the 3rd etude, is to bring out the melody without stressing the accompaniment.
The melody for both 4 (a) and (b) starts like this:
- Practise legato with a broad singing tone. Follow the phrase marks to the second bar of each phrase. Try to make a contrast between the bass melody (mm. 1-4) and the soprano melody (mm. 5-8) – this gives the study more variety- it’s two pages long! Always think of this étude as a piece that you would perform- if you play everything the same only working on technique, you will bore yourself and your audience.
- Next, play the melody as long, but detached notes. Connect as much as possible to keep a long line.
- Detach the notes a little more – play bell tones (like in Etude no.1)
- Now make the bell tones shorter, but still with the same life and reaction as the longer bell tones.
Remember that in the melody, the first E is a crotchet (1/4 note), so the G starting the second triplet of bar 1 should not be stressed. Use the last two notes of the second triplet to help phrase towards the D sharp as if they were an upbeat (pick-up). Follow this shape for the remainder of the etude.
Try to bounce the accompaniment notes like a violin spiccato, keeping them light yet precise. So, melody notes on the string (although briefly), then accompaniment off the string. In flute terms, this means give a bit more weight and stress to the melody (not in an aggressive way).
The same idea applies to the variation 4 (b).
Try not to cut the second note of the slur. For this practise 3 notes slurred with one tongued:
Then try as written.
If you are having trouble getting up to the top notes quietly, practise it in stages, Moyse style! Lift the airstream as you go to the high note. Try to float out the top note without pushing.
Remember when the melody line goes up to the soprano line and the accompaniment falls to low notes, do not push those out and distort the melody- they must be within context of the melody.
Over the page when the articulation reverses, try not to stress the slurs. This time, the first articulated note needs stress.
I hope you found this useful.
Thanks for reading and happy fluting!