An undulation in pitch, that may be notated with a verbal instruction or a wavy line:
Vibrato is integral to flute technique, but can also be specifically notated as a special effect.
Vibrato on the flute:
Vibrato on the piccolo:
Vibrato as a special effect:



A slide in pitch between notes. Very limited on all flutes. The total absence of key holes on the piccolo, and the limited key holes on the flute, mean that lipping is the usual way to alter pitch. A glissando over a perfect fifth would be executed as a very fast chromatic scale.



Produced by fingering a fundamental low note, then using keys or embouchure to produce partials.
Harmonics begin on sounding G5 (written C5) on the flute and sounding A6 (written D5) on the piccolo. Anything below these pitches is a normal note on the instrument.
Harmonics on the flute:
Harmonics on the piccolo:
Tuning harmonics:


Tremolo or "Shake"

Tremolos on flute and piccolo
A trill between two notes more than a tone apart. Low down on the flute, tremolos do not work so well because of the large number of keys to depress. This is especially true of shakes on a bottom C. However, a rubber band can be applied to the C-key to make these possible, as is demonstrated in this video clip:



Trills on flute and piccolo
A rapid alternation between two pitches. The notation above, read in treble clef, shows a minor trill followed by a major trill, indicated by accidentals over the note. If these are not given, players will choose trill type based on musical context. The wavy lines indicating duration of trill are also optional. Low C to C# trills are so difficult as to be impossible. Timbral trills are trills on a single note, using different fingerings. These are only possible above the point at which harmonics are used (i.e. sounding G5 (written C5) on the flute and sounding A6 (written D5) on the piccolo.
Timbral trills:

The Orchestra: A User's Manual is a free resource and will remain so. It still receives between 8,000 and 16,000 unique visits per month from all over the world. See the testimonials. Thanks to all the donations, I have been able to create this responsive re-design. But the movies and sound clips recorded in 2004 do show their age. I would really like to re-record everything and add many more techniques, especially for solo and ensemble writing. I estimate this will cost around £30,000. If you know a source of such funds, please contact me: a.hugill [at]