Kopprasch Project continued, No. 36

Here’s another Kopprasch video from the second half of this project (etudes 35-60). Things have been slower going this summer because of various other projects, but I plan to keep recording and posting videos periodically. Here are a couple of thoughts on this particular study.

  • For me, accuracy was more consistent if I avoided an extreme staccato. Unlike many other etudes in this collection, No. 36 is not marked staccato (at least in my edition).
  • The tempo for me settled around quarter=80-85. Feel free to try it slower or faster!
  • Practice the alternate articulations.
  • In the six measures following the double bar (after the first fermata), avoid the temptation to crescendo as the range increases. Unlike similar passages preceding and following this one, the dynamic should remain piano.

To be continued…

Repertoire Quiz

Here’s a fun little quiz to get you thinking about repertoire.  Actually, this series of questions is very similar to some from my doctoral preliminary examinations, and is a great exercise for current or future horn teachers.

For each of the following categories, name three solo works, three etude collections, and three orchestral excerpts you could use yourself or recommend to a student to develop that particular technique.  For example:

High Range Development: (Solos) Telemann, Concerto in D; Haydn, Concerto No. 1; Wilder, Suite for Horn and Piano (Etudes) Reynolds, 48 Etudes; Gallay, Unmeasured Preludes; Kopprasch, Etudes for High Horn, Op. 5 (Orchestral Excerpts) Beethoven, Symphony No. 7, 1st horn; Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5, 1st movement, 1st horn solo; Ravel, Pavane for a Dead Princess, 1st horn

Try completing the rest of the categories below based on your knowledge of horn repertoire.  You can check other resources if necessary, but try to generate as much as you can on your own.

Low Range                                                                                                                         Stopped/Echo Horn                                                                                                              Multiple Tonguing                                                                                                                        Soft Playing                                                                                                                                  Loud Playing                                                                                                                               Staccato                                                                                                                                          Legato                                                                                                                                      Slurring                                                                                                                                        Flexibility                                                                                                                               Transposition                                                                                                        Phrasing/Interpretation                                                                                                      Extended Techniques                                                                                                                          Jazz Horn                                                                                                                                     Improvisation

Of course, many of the same works can be used in multiple categories.  If coming up with three solos, etudes, and excerpts is easy for you, then go with five (or ten) of each type.  Try coming up with new categories too, as I’m sure my list can be supplemented with other techniques.

Super Studies

As fundamental as Kopprasch, Maxime-Alphonse, Gallay,  et. al are to  horn playing, it’s important to have some variety in our practicing.  One way to do that is to build your library of etude books.  There are a number of newer collections out there that perhaps aren’t well known or just end up getting passed by.  I picked up Philip Sparke’s Super Studies: 26 Progressive Studies for Horn while at a music store in Charlotte, NC, and I’ve been working out of it periodically over the last several months.  Philip Sparke is a British composer primarily known for his concert band and brass band works, although he has published a number of solo and educational works as well.   Super Studies is the third volume in a set of three related etude collections, the first two being Starter Studies and Skilfull Studies [British spelling].  Super Studies (and I imagine the other two volumes as well) is more or less progressive, with each study focusing on one or two areas of technique.  The standard issues are covered, such as flexibility, double/triple tonguing, scales, and staccato/legato, but many of the etudes also deal with some topics less often brought up in other etude books.  No. 4 “Baroque Melody,” is a study on Baroque style and rhythm, No. 8, ‘Threasy Does It,” is a finger strength and coordination exercise, and No. 26, “Threes, Fives, and Sevens,” covers asymmetrical meters (5/8, 7/8).  Although the range is quite manageable (f to a”), there are several tricky technical things well worth studying and working out.  If you’ve ever heard any of Philip Sparke’s advanced concert band works or solo Euphonium pieces, you know his writing can be quite virtuosic.   One last point of interest is that there are no tempo and very few dynamic markings in any of the etudes.  The composer explains the reason for this in the Introduction.

“The studies have no tempo markings as it will be advantageous to play them at different speeds for different purposes.  Similarly, there are few dynamics as it will be beneficial to practise them at a variety of different levels to secure dynamic awareness.”

In short, this is a great collection to supplement the standard etude repertoire, and at around $10, it’s a great bargain.

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