Here are examples of some of the most commonly found effects employed by composers and musicians alike. Definitions, musical expressions and examples of each effect in practice can be found below.
Vibrato is a slight undulation in pitch. It can also be a variation in intensity of sound. Either way the effect is of a sound that 'wobbles' slightly. Written instruction in the music - Vib. or Vibrato. Sometimes with a wavy line just after the note. Vibrato is integral to flute technique, but can also be specifically notated as a special effect. For example, if a composer wants lots of vibrato, they may write Molto Vib. or if a plain sound is required, Non Vib.
Produced by fingering a fundamental low note, then using keys or embouchure to produce partials. Written as a small 'o' over the notehead. 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.
A trill or rapid alternation between two notes more than a tone apart. Thick slanting lines between two notes. The tremolo shown on the left lasts for one beat. 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 the video clip.
A rapid alternation between two pitches - either a tone or a semitone apart. The example shows a minor trill followed by a major trill, indicated by accidentals over the note. If these are not given, players will choose a trill type based on musical context. Wavy lines to indicate the duration of a trill are optional. On the flute, 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.