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.

Coming Soon from Mountain Peak Music: Solo Duet Training for Horns

In my Semester Preview, I mentioned a new book project for Mountain Peak Music. Work on the publication has been going well, with an anticipated release in 2015. The title is Solo Duet Training for Horns, and it will consist of duo adaptations of several standard solo works for the horn. David Vining, owner of Mountain Peak Music and author of Solo Duet Training for Trombones, has written a very nice description of the concept behind the series. The comments are applicable to both trombone and horn players.

These duets are designed to assist trombone players in learning six of the most popular trombone solos. The two parts are equal in importance and difficulty. Solo Training Duets can be used to help students learn style and technique, as recreational musical diversions or even as additions to recitals.

The horn edition will contain the following:

  • Paul Dukas, Villanelle
  • Alexander Glazunov, Rêverie, Op. 24
  • W.A. Mozart, Horn Concerto No. 3, K. 447 (All 3 movements)
  • Camille Saint-Saëns, Romance, Op. 36
  • Camille Saint-Saëns, Morceau de Concert, Op. 94
  • Franz Strauss, Nocturno, Op. 7

In choosing works for this project, they needed to meet these criteria.

  1. Popular solos which appeal to a wide range of ability levels, with a special focus on advanced high school and college level players
  2. In the public domain internationally. (Sorry, no Strauss Concerto No. 1!)
  3. Work well as duo arrangements

There are of course more than six works which fit these requirements, so I had to use my best judgement as a teacher and performer to narrow down the list. Hopefully these duets will be useful to horn teachers and students. Briefly, here are some of the benefits to studying solo material in this manner.

  • Because each part contains an equal amount of solo and accompaniment material, they are actually more difficult than the original solos in terms of endurance and technique. By learning the duo parts, students will be more than prepared to perform the solo version.
  • Students will gain a much more thorough knowledge of the entire work, both solo and accompanying parts.
  • The duets can function well as etudes or in performance as concert works.
  • They are fun to play! I have confirmed this with my students!

To  generate some interest in the project and to give you an idea of what the finished book will contain, here is a short “teaser” video. The source material is the first movement from Mozart’s Concerto for Horn, K. 447.

As you will notice, I am performing both parts, through the magic of multi-track editing and recording. Because of the somewhat impromptu nature of the recording, I decided not to put any of my students on the spot. However, in the future I will definitely invite my students to join me (if they are willing!) for additional videos.

I am having a great time working on this project, and look forward to its completion. Adapting these works for horn duo is a tremendous learning experience, requiring in-depth study of the entire score. In some instances a small amount of re-composition is required in order to make the voice leading work for two voices or to make a part more playable on the horn. In all cases, I have tried to be as faithful as possible to the composer’s score.

Stay tuned for more updates!


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