Kopprasch Project “The Final Five” No. 60

No. 60 is a very interesting study, and a bit different from the other fifty-nine in Kopprasch’s Op. 6 collection. It can be practiced quite slowly – which makes for a good single tonguing exercise – or when practiced at faster tempos (quarter note=60 +) it is a great workout for multiple tonguing. However you approach it, strive for five perfectly even notes (whether single or multiple tonguing), with some length on the eighth notes. For the quintuplets I used a combination of double and triple tonguing , with the syllables “ta-ka-ta-ka-ta” or “dah-gah-dah-gah-dah.”

I’ve often wondered what the composer’s goal or inspiration was for this particular etude, especially since there isn’t anything in the orchestral repertoire of that period with similar writing for the horn. However, if we look at solo horn music from that era (late 18th/early 19th century) we find some connections. Here is the first measure of Etude No. 60 as found in the Breitkopf and Härtel Edition on IMSLP.


And for comparison, here is the same measure in the Gumpert edition (also on IMSLP)


It’s very interesting to note the editorial changes in the Gumpert version, especially the added “staccato” marking, and the slight notation change. I assume the articulation markings were not necessary in the earlier edition as natural horn players would probably have tongued the fast notes without needing to be instructed to do so. Valved horn players were surely in the minority when these etudes were first published. By Gumpert’s day the number of valved horn players would have increased, so perhaps he felt the indication was necessary. However, in his excellent, meticulously researched article “The Original Kopprasch Etudes,” John Ericson cites evidence which suggests Kopprasch composed his etudes for the valved horn.

In either case, if we look at a solo horn work such as the Concerto No. 11 in E by Giovanni Punto (1748-1803), it is clear that Kopprasch knew the kinds of passage work that horn players might be required to play. Here is a short excerpt from the Third Movement of Punto’s concerto (Revised and arranged by Edmond Leloir, published by Hans Pizka Editions)


While not identical to the Kopprasch example, the relationship is immediately apparent.

This brings my Kopprasch Project to and end! I am working on some summary comments about the entire project – which has taken over three years to complete – and will post them next week.


Kopprasch Project “The Final Five” No. 56

Instead of a review this week here’s another installment in the Kopprasch Project. No. 56 will test your agility and flexibility (in arpeggiated and stepwise patterns) through a two and a half octave + range. Suggested tempo in my edition is dotted-quarter=72-96, and dotted-quarter=ca. 80 seemed to work for this recording. The most challenging part of this study for me was centering isolated staccato notes, particularly when leaping downward from a note in or above the staff. B-flat fingerings seemed to help for the notes just below the staff.  For the compound interval leaps in the last five measures experiment with different jaw and tongue positions to help negotiate them.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 50

Etude No. 50 is similar to No. 48, but focuses primarily on diatonic (instead of chromatic) scales and arpeggios. Suggested tempo is quarter-note=104-120, although a more brisk Presto can work as well, provided that everything is clean without sounding frantic. The “espressivo” marking is interesting, and there are probably several ways to interpret it, including shaping the phrases through dynamic changes (beyond what is marked), varying the intensity and strength of articulations, and perhaps even a small amount of rubato.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 49

No. 49 is an excellent study for developing a consistent sound and accurate intonation in and around the mid-low range. Changes in air speed and jaw position are very helpful in tackling the large leaps. Try playing the entire etude on the B-flat or F side to help learn the different intonation tendencies for each set of fingerings. Tempo range in my edition is quarter note=66 to 84. A slower tempo will work, but breath control can become an issue, especially in the lower range. *Apologies for the unusual formatting of the video (black box around the video). I was trying out a new setting when converting the footage from my camera into a format that Adobe Premiere could open, and unfortunately it resulted in the weird formatting.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 47

This installment in the Kopprasch Project is another challenging study in mid/low range flexibility. These types of etudes really work out the range around my break, which is an area where I can use the practice! The time signature used in my edition is 12/16, with a suggested tempo of dotted-eighth=76-92. The more familiar Gumpert/Frehse edition uses 2/4 in the time signature, so a suggested tempo range there would be quarter=76-92. Finding the right tempo took a little of bit of experimenting; too fast and the low register skips became less clean, too slow and making the phrases in one breath became an issue. Eventually I settled around dotted-eighth (or quarter)=88. One practice tip is to slur slowly through this etude, breathing wherever necessary, just to find the centers of each note.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 46

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.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 44 (45)

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.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 43

After an extended hiatus, here is another installment in this series. No. 43 is deceptively tricky, especially when played at faster tempos. My edition suggests dotted-quarter = 104-132, and I topped out around dotted-quarter = 120. Try practicing this etude slurred or legato tongued to work on centering every pitch.

Kopprasch Project continued, No. 42

As with No. 13 and No. 21  (0r No. 22, depending on the edition), this study is an exercise in consistency and flexibility. Slurring through this etude slowly can help with centering each note. Suggested tempo range in my edition is quarter note=104-160, although 144 seemed fast enough to me for Allegro Moderato.  If you’ve seen the last several videos in this series you’ll notice that I’m sitting in a different position for this recording. Normally my bell points towards the curtains in my practice room at home, but this time I thought it would be interesting to face a different direction. The sound is ok with this setup, but the flat, hard surface directly behind the bell created some undesirable echoes.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 41

Here’s another Kopprasch video to start off the week. Suggested tempo in my edition is quarter note=63-88; this recording is somewhere around quarter=72. In preparing this study it was helpful to think of it less as a technical exercise and more as a melodic – albeit disjunct – one. To that end, I tried to approach everything as linearly as possible, rather than vertically, no matter how wide the skips. Making sure that the second note of a group of slurred sixteenths remains full value and isn’t clipped helps achieve this effect.

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