Upcoming Presentation: An Introduction to Solo Duet Training for Horns

[This is the third and final post in a series related to events at the upcoming 47th International Horn Symposium. You can read the first one here, and the second one here.]

I will round out my week at the 47th International Horn Symposium with a presentation titled “An Introduction to Solo Duet Training for Horns.” In addition to providing some background and more information about my new book from Mountain Peak Music, I’ll also demonstrate several excerpts, assisted by Dr. Gina Gillie from Pacific Lutheran University. Here’s an overview of the main topics to be covered in the lecture.

  • What is Solo Duet Training for Horns?
  • Pedagogical Duets: A Brief Historical Background
  • Contemporary Pedagogical Duets
  • Creating Solo Duet Training for Horns, with Demonstrations
  • Suggestions for Use, Other Comments

My goal for this presentation is to hopefully go beyond just plugging the new book – although I will have a few copies for sale afterwards! Duet playing has a long history in horn pedagogy, and I think attendees will come away with a better understanding of the history and practical applications of these materials, both past and present. There are lots of great online resources with sheet music and background information on historical horn duets, including the PDF library at Horn Matters and the horn page at IMSLP. In addition to these, one other site I plan to mention is “Plays Well with Others: Duets in Instrumental Treatises,” an online exhibit at the Yale University Music Library (curated by Eva M. Heater). If you haven’t visited this exhibit yet, make sure to check it out because it’s really well done!

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, creating these duets was a great learning experience, and at the very least I want to share some of the information gleaned along the way. The presentation handout will contain lots of examples, including some free samples from the book and suggestions for creating your own duets.

The presentation is scheduled for Friday, August 7th at 9:30 a.m. in the Grand Rehearsal Hall at the Colburn School. I’m really looking forward to presenting, and hope that you can join us. To close out this post, here’s a video demonstrating excerpts from a couple of the duets.

Advertisements

Excerpt Duet Revisited, or Making a Multitrack Recording with Audacity

I have been revisiting some of the excerpt duets I put together a while back (Beethoven 9, Brahms 3, Mendelssohn Nocturne), and decided to try my hand at making a multi-track recording. In other words, I recorded both duet parts separately, and put them together using Audacity, a free, open-source audio editing tool. The first excerpt I tried was the 4th horn solo from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Here’s the excerpt duet again, which is created from the original solo and woodwind parts.

And here’s a recording of the duet, made using an Edirol digital recorder and Audacity. This is a “raw” recording, with little to no editing, other than what was needed to align both parts. The recorder was placed on my music stand, approximately 2-3 feet away.

Looking at this little venture in hindsight, it was not that difficult to align both parts. I used a click-track (metronome with headphones), and copied and pasted both .wav files into the same Audacity project. From there, it was a trial and error process getting the files to begin at exactly the same time (I cut and trimmed, and re-cut and re-trimmed, several times). Once the parts were aligned, I tweaked the balance some using Audacity’s “change volume” plug-in. Without both parts playing simultaneously, it was difficult knowing how loud to play the duo part in order to balance correctly with the solo. There are a few places where the lower voice pokes out too much, but overall it isn’t too bad.  One area that was very difficult to gauge while recording – and impossible to fix in Audacity – was intonation. Again, without the other part playing along with you, it is impossible to temper the intonation exactly. If I try this again in the future with the other duets, I’ll probably play along with a recording of the solo part while recording the duo part. If nothing else, the intonation discrepancies in the recording can serve as an example of how this duet might be used in a lesson situation. Making sure the open intervals (4ths, 5ths, 8vas) are exactly in tune is very important in the first part of this solo.

Thinking in even more practical terms, the multi-track idea would be a great way to practice any duet (or trio or quartet) excerpts in the repertoire, such as Beethoven’s 3rd, 7th, and 8th Symphonies, or the opening of Weber’s Overture to Der Freischütz.  For some expert examples of multi-track recording, have a listen to Richard Chenoweth’s recent CD The Horn in Opera.

Excerpt Duet Based on Mendelssohn, Nocturne from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Following up on last Friday’s post, here’s another instructional duet, this time based on the Nocturne movement from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As with the Brahms Symphony No. 3 duet, the solo part is in the original transposition, with the second part for Horn in F. This time the duo part is based on the second bassoon part, and it should be noted that this passage is really a trio for the horn and both bassoons. In fact, it might be worth creating another duo or trio incorporating the first bassoon part. If you have only two players though (as is usually the case in a private lesson), this duet can be useful in developing good intonation and rhythm on this important excerpt.  Click the link below to download the PDF.

Mendelssohn Nocturne Duet

%d bloggers like this: