This installment is a nice example of the lyrical writing found in a handful of these etudes, which in many ways are more difficult than the technical studies. Suggested tempo in my edition is quarter note=69-92, and while a range of tempos will certainly work, I tend to prefer a less hurried feeling on the 32nd notes. Use changes in tongue and jaw position as well as air speed to negotiate the skips into and out of the low range.
I’m still tweaking some technical things, and am not sure if I’ll ever get the YouTube upload settings 100% correct using Adobe Premiere CS2. One thing I like about Premiere over Camtasia is that the audio quality is better.
This week’s installment is labeled No. 45 in the Gumpert/Frehse edition, so it is included in parenthesis above. Suggested tempo in my edition is half note=80-100. For me, a tempo of half note=92 -95 worked the best without sounding too frantic. Consider using some B-flat fingerings below the staff in the first section (through mm. 22) to get really clean articulations. One other note about this video is that I’m experimenting with some different video editing software. I’ve used Camtasia Studio by TechSmith in the past, and while very easy to operate, it’s a little limited in what you can do. For this video I used an older edition of Adobe Premiere, which is much more flexible than Camtasia but has a steeper learning curve. At this point I’m not sure if I’ll keep using Premiere or return to Camtasia, but it’s interesting to compare the two.
Another project for this summer is to record some more Kopprasch etude videos, continuing from where I left off back in October of 2011 (Etude No. 34). It was great to take a little break from Kopprasch, but I’m excited about getting into etudes 35-60. If you’ve seen the other videos, much has remained the same – live, unedited video recordings (though with multiple takes as necessary) – but there are a few changes for this summer.
Recording at home instead of at the office – a different acoustic than at work, but suitable for the purposes of this project
Different background color on the credits screen
I’m using a new edition(!) Instead of the Chambers edition I used for etudes 1-34, I decided to switch (with the publisher’s permission) to Corbin Wagner’s Kopprasch Complete. I really like this edition, and highly recommend it for anyone working on these etudes. The engraving is clear and easy to read, and the spiral binding is very handy. The paper quality is excellent, and should stand up to years of use.
I’ll be taking longer between etudes. This should give me additional time to practice the more difficult etudes in this set, as well as time to pursue other projects this summer and fall. If you want to stay up to date when new videos are posted, just subscribe to my YouTube Channel and/or this blog.
No. 35 continues in the same vein as the previous studies, but is longer and more involved, as are all of the later ones. Slow metronome work is very helpful in getting this one under your fingers.
After taking a week off from Kopprasch, I’m back at it again with No. 24. This etude is full of Baroque style figuration, with lots of leaping around over a wide range. Although it’s marked “Allegro risoluto,” I ended up with a fairly conservative tempo, around quarter note=72. Use No. 24 as an opportunity to explore some alternate fingerings, particularly for the often nebulous register just below the bottom of the treble-clef staff. If you’ve already mastered this one and want an extra challenge, try everything on the F side – I have practiced Kopprasch this way before, but am not quite brave enough to record everything on the F side.
This week’s Kopprasch is a study in flexibility, primarily through slurred patterns in the low and middle register. Suggested tempo is quarter note=100-104, although I think it’s a good idea to practice this one much slower. Here are some random ideas to help make this deceptively challenging etude more manageable. 1) For the compound leaps (over an octave), try taking the lower note up an octave until you have the intervals firmly in your ear. 2) Let air speed, along with an efficient pivot in and out of the low register, do the work. 3) Practice the big slurs by slurring up and down the harmonic series until you arrive at the goal note. 4) For more helpful exercises, check out Randy Gardner’s fabulous book Mastering the Horn’s Low Register.
After a week off, the Kopprasch project is back. Like the previous study, No. 18 forced me to deal with my sometimes nebulous mid-low range. I don’t know if you can tell from the video, but I used quite a bit of b-flat horn fingerings down there – the clarity and response were much better for me using some alternate fingerings. Suggested tempo is quarter note = 75-80. One other tip would be to not worry too much about playing ultra staccato. Even though it’s marked “sempre staccato,” I think trying to play too short really makes accuracy a challenge.
Suggested tempo is half note=92. As with No. 8, this study emphasizes patterns largely composed of thirds and whole/half steps. Pay particular attention to those measures where the pattern deviates (i.e. m. 13 and m. 29). Keep it light.
Trumpet teacher and performer Craig Morris has got a great project going on YouTube. Called the “Charlier Project,” his goal is to record all 36 of Théo Charlier’s “Etudes Transcendantes.” He has already got a few of them ready to go, and has posted them on YouTube (see below).
Another part of this project that I find very interesting is that Morris has also pledged to make these recordings “with no editing or effects of any kind.” The rationale for this decision is quoted below from his blog, http://www.livmusic.com/
Besides the obvious insanity, however, there are some good reasons to take on this project. In this day and age there is so much editing and processing that goes into recordings that it is difficult to know what a top professional trumpet player actually sounds like, what his/her abilities truly are. You can decide for yourself if I actually belong in that category, but whatever your opinion, these etudes will give you a very real idea of how I actually play. My hope is that this knowledge will be useful for players who are trying to ascertain where they stand in their progress on the instrument, at least as it pertains to these etudes. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves for playing that we should really be proud of, worried that we just don’t measure up to the players we hear on recordings, especially so called “live recordings”. At other times we aren’t demanding enough, thinking that perhaps top players have perfect recordings simply because of the editing, not knowing how well those people actually played. In this project, however, there is no doubt. For better or worse, this is how I sound. I simply start recording takes until I have one that I am reasonably happy with, and then I continue on, hoping to improve on that. After I’m done, I listen through my top takes and select my favorite to post to YouTube. Simple, honest, and hopefully not horribly painful as the etudes get more difficult (this is where that insanity comes into play).
Morris makes some great points about the level of editing and processing that goes into commercial recordings today, and I look forward to hearing the rest of his YouTube project. Now, on to the horn-related part. We have our own “Charlier” etudes – those that continually challenge us and push us on to higher levels – and I think it would be a great project for a horn player looking for a doctoral dissertation, or simply someone looking for an extended summer practicing project, to record, say, Kopprasch Op. 6, or all of Maxime-Alphonse Book 4, 5, or 6(!) in the fashion that Morris describes (no splicing, editing, etc.). Or what about the Verne Reynolds Etudes, or Gallay Unmeasured Preludes, Schuller Unaccompanied Studies, the list goes on… Even if all of the results aren’t necessarily worth posting in a public forum, think of the musical and technical benefits such an undertaking would bring to one’s playing, not to mention providing a point of reference for others studying or teaching those etudes. To my knowledge, the only complete recording of a collection of horn etudes is Kling’s 40 Characteristic Studies, recorded by Stephen Hager. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m considering a project of this type myself, although I’m not sure exactly which etudes I want to record, and I’m sure the actual recording process will have to wait until the summer. But the great thing is that there are numerous excellent etude collections out there, all in need of solid reference recordings for students and colleagues – there’s plenty to go ’round. I could also easily imagine a collaborative project amongst several performers and teachers to record several collections of etudes – a YouTube Horn Etude channel!