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Topic: Glissandos?

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  1. #1

    Question Glissandos?

    how do flute players, i'm sorry - flautists play glissandos? do they play a really fast arpeggio? a scale? first, fifth then octave? what?

    same thing with the french horns.

    sorry if this is a dumb question. a dumb person is asking it... me
    -Keith Fuller

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  2. #2

    Re: Glissandos?

    the flute can't really make a glissando as such. it is capable of small pitch bends through the movement of the lips. or it can play a heavily slurred chromatic phrase. the effect will never match that of a violin for instance.

    the horn on the other hand, can create a glissando of sorts by moving through all the notes of the overtone series via lip pressure. the effect is more of a rapidly slurred arpeggio than of a glissando as would be possible on the trombone or a string instrument.

  3. #3

    Re: Glissandos?

    I believe a glissando is actually not what a trombone does, but it is what a piano or harp does. A portamento is the glide between two pitches. There is no set term and sometimes music dictionaries debate between them.

    And an open hole flute can do both by slowly removing fingers from the holes. It is much easier and more common on clarinet, however.

    A flutist would actually just play a rapid scale between the two pitches. It would be a good idea to notate the first few pitches as grace notes. That way they know what type of thing to play inbetween.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  4. #4
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    Re: Glissandos?

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy

    the horn on the other hand, can create a glissando of sorts by moving through all the notes of the overtone series via lip pressure.
    And this makes the horn a very treacherous instrument!

    Richard

  5. #5

    Re: Glissandos?

    Quote Originally Posted by jesshmusic
    I believe a glissando is actually not what a trombone does, but it is what a piano or harp does. A portamento is the glide between two pitches. There is no set term and sometimes music dictionaries debate between them.
    well, considering that most scores notate the trombone's portamento as "glissando", I'll stick to that terminology.

    if a singer were to "glide" between two pitches, in the same way as a trombone, where it was marked portamento in the score, I would fire them on the spot.

  6. #6

    Re: Glissandos?

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy
    well, considering that most scores notate the trombone's portamento as "glissando", I'll stick to that terminology.

    if a singer were to "glide" between two pitches, in the same way as a trombone, where it was marked portamento in the score, I would fire them on the spot.
    That is the problem with music's lack of standardized terminology. Frankly, as a trombonist I always was annoyed at portamentos being called glissandos because trombonists can do kind of do both. And, on the piano they are called glissandos...
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  7. #7

    Re: Glissandos?

    the thing is if you write "portamento" between two notes and "glissando" between two notes, you SHOULD get very different effects.

    you appear to be supporting the definition that the term portamento be reserved for the sliding effect on a trombone, while the term glissando only for those instruments where one slides the hand along either strings (harp) or keys (piano).

    If I write "portamento" between two notes for violin I KNOW that I do not want, nor will I get a "glissando". A portamento does not slide evenly from bottom note to top note. It "carries" the note from one to the other (thus the name "portamento" - to carry). There is a glide, but it SHOULD be minimal, and is generally most noticeable nearer the destination note than at the starting note. The slide happens, basically, at the last second. It would be in excruciatingly poor taste to perform a portamento as a gliss. A glissando, on the other hand should be relatively even from bottom note to top note, as it literally slides up (or down) the interval.

    Portamento more often than not happens between two notes relatively close together in time, while a glissando more often than not is given more time.

  8. #8

    Re: Glissandos?

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy
    the thing is if you write "portamento" between two notes and "glissando" between two notes, you SHOULD get very different effects.

    you appear to be supporting the definition that the term portamento be reserved for the sliding effect on a trombone, while the term glissando only for those instruments where one slides the hand along either strings (harp) or keys (piano).

    If I write "portamento" between two notes for violin I KNOW that I do not want, nor will I get a "glissando". A portamento does not slide evenly from bottom note to top note. It "carries" the note from one to the other (thus the name "portamento" - to carry). There is a glide, but it SHOULD be minimal, and is generally most noticeable nearer the destination note than at the starting note. The slide happens, basically, at the last second. It would be in excruciatingly poor taste to perform a portamento as a gliss. A glissando, on the other hand should be relatively even from bottom note to top note, as it literally slides up (or down) the interval.

    Portamento more often than not happens between two notes relatively close together in time, while a glissando more often than not is given more time.
    That's fine, I agree with that definition, but my point is there is then no different terminology to tell a clarinetist to do either a "glide" or scale figure.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  9. #9

    Re: Glissandos?

    Quote Originally Posted by jesshmusic
    That's fine, I agree with that definition, but my point is there is then no different terminology to tell a clarinetist to do either a "glide" or scale figure.

    actually, if you want a scale, then WRITE a scale.

    it's not a terribly complicated concept.

  10. #10

    Re: Glissandos?

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy
    actually, if you want a scale, then WRITE a scale.

    it's not a terribly complicated concept.
    Now you misunderstand my point. One does not write a scale when they ask for a glissando on a piano, they write a glissando. A clarinet can do BOTH techniques. As can a flute and any other open holed woodwind or valve brass.

    If I wanted a straight, metered, scale I would write it. That is NOT what a glissando is.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

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