Response of articulations

The alto flute has a bigger tube and uses more air than the C flute. As a result, articulation is slower to respond, particularly in the low register. However, this does not mean that playing fast articulated passages on the alto flute is impossible or impractical. The skilled player will articulate in a more delicate way, taking care not to allow the action of the tongue to interfere with sound production. Light tonguing and strong diaphragm support should mean that the composer has only to make little concession to the size of the instrument, through a slight reduction in maximum speeds.

Staccatos are difficult on the alto flute, especially in the low register, and should be avoided if precise rhythmic placement and true staccato is required. In these situations, percussive articulations and/or key clicks are sometimes more effective, as the note lengths are shorter and can be more accurately placed.