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Topic: Lesson 8 Discussion - Melody in the Brass

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  1. #31

    Re: Lesson 8 Discussion - Melody in the Brass

    Hi Jim,
    thanks very much for taking the time to reply so thouroughly; that's really cleared up my confusion.

    Ben

  2. #32

    Re: Lesson 8 Discussion - Melody in the Brass

    this tuba discussion is VERY interesting...
    we, as composers, sometimes feel that we are "under-using" an instrument - having the musician sit there for pages on end without uttering a sound. This, of course, pushes us to add notes wherever we can fit them in (including places where they just do NOT fit).

    My favourite tuba solo is by John Corigliano - from the Promenade Overture. Anyone who's had the pleasure of seeing this piece in concert will understand why.

    Obviously, studying tuba repertoire, particularly audition material, is not going to push us to writing good tuba music... just really HARD tuba music!

    Can someone recommend some relatively recent (ie: 20th century) pieces where the tuba parts are particularly felicitous? not solos, not band music, but good old normal orchestral playing that is well balanced and not inhumanly demanding of the musician.

  3. #33

    Re: Lesson 8 Discussion - Melody in the Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy
    this tuba discussion is VERY interesting...
    we, as composers, sometimes feel that we are "under-using" an instrument - having the musician sit there for pages on end without uttering a sound. This, of course, pushes us to add notes wherever we can fit them in (including places where they just do NOT fit).

    My favourite tuba solo is by John Corigliano - from the Promenade Overture. Anyone who's had the pleasure of seeing this piece in concert will understand why.

    Obviously, studying tuba repertoire, particularly audition material, is not going to push us to writing good tuba music... just really HARD tuba music!

    Can someone recommend some relatively recent (ie: 20th century) pieces where the tuba parts are particularly felicitous? not solos, not band music, but good old normal orchestral playing that is well balanced and not inhumanly demanding of the musician.
    Hi...
    A few quickies before I run off to church...

    Hindemith, Symphonic Metamorphoses
    Tchaik 4,5,6
    Bruckner/Mahler-various
    Revueltas, Sensemaya (solo tuba @ beginning)
    Shostakovich 10
    Prokofiev 5

    More later...Jim
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  4. #34

    Re: Lesson 8 Discussion - Melody in the Brass

    Re: long held notes on tuba, etc.

    An important consideration is that the horn, owing to its narrower bore, has a lot of back pressure, allowing horn players to hold pitches for much longer than most other brass (or woodwind) instruments - we often must let air OUT during some slower sustained passages or risk our heads exploding.

    So rather than making that poor tuba player hold out a note for 8 bars, give it to the 2nd and 4th horn in unison and then you not only have the added bonus of an instrument with better sustaining power, you also have two players who can alternate if breath is needed and since the timbre is identical, the audience will never know.

    And don't take RK's statement that the horn is incapable of any but slow and lugubrious passages too seriously. He wrote that comment a long time ago - a modern horn player is capable of playing passages almost as agile as the trumpet (in the mid-to-high registers of the horn, anyway.)

    And just to give an example for anyone interested of horns playing melodically in the lower register, try the beginning of the Pines of the Appian Way from Resphigi's Pines of Rome. It often sounds very tuba-like in recordings, and if you've never played it or followed the score, you might think it was a tuba, but it is in fact low horns. It is a great passage for horn in that register - not too fast, but very ominous and a perfect choice for the mood invoked.

  5. #35

    Re: Lesson 8 Discussion - Melody in the Brass

    So, about how long can a horn hold a note, reasonably speaking? I imagine it differs throughout the range.

  6. #36

    Re: Lesson 8 Discussion - Melody in the Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeterna
    So, about how long can a horn hold a note, reasonably speaking? I imagine it differs throughout the range.
    It does indeed vary by the range. Sort of a bell curve - longest in the middle, shorter on either extreme.

    It would not be unreasonable to have sustained pitches of 8-12+ bars (a minute or longer of time?) of even a slow tempo at a soft or moderate dynamic. I don't know that I've ever timed how long I can personally hold pitches in various ranges, but I'm by no means a top end professional and even I can sustain pitches for a long time, as can most other hornists of decent ability. It is one of those things that the instrument is "good at." Very effective for pedal tones.

    Louder, of course, takes more air and will require breaths.

    Wagner calls for some pretty sustained pitches in some of his works in any and all registers and at any and all dynamics, but then, Wagner was a horn sadist. One breif example that jumps to my mind at this late hour is the beginning of Sigfried's Death and Funeral Music, where the horns have loud, angry notes sustained in the low register (where you get that nice buzzing growl effect). The end of the Meistersinger overture, as I recall, has the horns sustaining a higher pitch for equally as long and at a forte dynamic. Very annoying. The poor, crazy man thought horn players were machines, I think. Great stuff, but dear God, let us rest at least every once in a while!?!?!

  7. #37

    Re: Lesson 8 Discussion - Melody in the Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by snorlax
    Hi...
    A few quickies before I run off to church...

    Hindemith, Symphonic Metamorphoses
    Tchaik 4,5,6
    Bruckner/Mahler-various
    Revueltas, Sensemaya (solo tuba @ beginning)
    Shostakovich 10
    Prokofiev 5

    More later...Jim
    Well, now is later. Here are tuba audition lists for two orchestras, and links to a few of the parts. Please see my comments below about these parts

    ORCHESTRA 1.
    Berlioz - Benvenuto Cellini Ov., #16 to 5 after #19
    Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique, mvts., IV& V (tuba 1)
    Berlioz - Hungarian March, reh. #20 to end or #4 to end (concert version)
    Bruckner - Symphony #7, mvt. IV, letter F to 4 before letter I. Letter P to letter S.
    Gershwin - An American in Paris, 4 after reh. 67-68 (solo)
    Hindemith - Symphonic Metamorphoses – mvt. II, 4 after L to 2 after N.
    Holst - The Planets: Jupiter, 8 bars before reh. 17 to 8 after reh. 17.
    Mahler - Symphony #1, mvt. III, 4 before reh. 3 to reh. 4.; Symphony #5
    Prokofiev - Symphony #5, mvt I, reh. #3 to 2 bars before reh. #6. One note before #19 to 1 bar before #20. Mvt III, 1 bar after #65 to 4 bars before #66.
    Respighi - Fontana Di Roma. Fontana di Trevi: #11 to #14
    Strauss - Till Eulenspiegel: #13 to 2 bars before #14. 7 bars after #18 to 6 bars before #20. 3 bars after #23 to 7 bars before 26. 4 bars after 37 to 4 bars before #38.
    Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra: #6 to 5 bars before #7. 7 bars after #50 to 6 bars before #51.
    Stravinsky - Petrouchka: Peasant with Bear #188-#191
    Wagner - Die Meistersinger , beginning to reh. A. Reh. J to reh.L.
    Wagner - Die Walkure, Act III, Ride of the Walkure (B Major) #125 to #142.
    Wagner - Lohengrin, Prelude to Act III, reh. B to 3 bars before reh. C. 6 bars after reh. D to reh. E.

    ORCHESTRA 2:
    SYM. FANTASTIQUE==> CHECK IT OUT
    Hungarian March from the Damnation of Faust==> CHECK IT OUT
    Mahler Symphony #1 - third movement, rehearsal number 1 - 4 ==> CHECK IT OUT
    Prokofiev Symphony #5 - first movement, rehearsal number 3 - 6 ==> CHECK IT OUT
    The Ride of the Valkyries==> CHECK IT OUT
    Overture to Die Meistersinger==> CHECK IT OUT
    Pictures at an Exhibition - Number 4 "Bydlo"==> CHECK IT OUT

    COMMENTS:
    1. Re Berlioz: These started out likely as ophecleide parts. The "Dies Irae" in Sym. Fant. sounds absolutely menacing (as it's supposed to) on 2 ophecleides. These days it is played on F and CC tuba or euphonium and CC tuba. Not nearly as ominous, I'd say.

    2. Re Bydlo in Pictures: This part was conceived with a FRENCH TUBA of the 20s-50s in mind. That instrument was pitched in the C ONE STEP ABOVE THE MODERN EUPHONIUM, but had the bore of a TUBA and was played with a TUBA mouthpiece. It had six valves. Bydlo is supposed to represent an ox-cart that labors up & down the street. One current custom is to play this excerpt on a euphonium, but that doesn't really sound labored enough. (Since everything I play sounds labored, I was frequently asked to play this excerpt ) I would play it on an F or Eb tuba--the G# is a good note on F tuba and the passage will sound labored enough. The tuba chronicles are rife with stories of major orchestral artists who tried to play this excerpt on CC tuba and crapped out on the high G#, which is not a great note on CC tuba. No need for heroism! Play it on F or Eb!!

    GENERAL COMMENT: None of these passages is excruciatingly difficult as concerns the notes. You see a lot of overlap between the 2 orchestras. Neither one is a major-city orch, but the major-city orchs' lists would not be much different, actually.
    Why do these same excerpts show up on so many audition lists when they are not terribly difficult technically?

    1. They are exposed--solos or solis--in many cases they are "the tune."
    2. They require musical precision and interpretation==>You would be surprised at how many tubists with technique out the wazoo are rejected at auditions because their rhythm in the Valkyries excerpt are lopsided or because their intonation in the Meistersinger Prelude part stinks.
    3. They require stylistic unity with other parts of the orch such as trombones or low strings.

    SO: The challenges of these parts are mostly MUSICAL, not TECHNICAL. It is assumed that all people auditioning will have the notes down. The winners do not crack under the pressure of the audition and have an interpretation that satisfies the audition committee.

    So for those of you who posted here or emailed me asking for typical tuba rep. that shows the instrument at its best, here's your list. HUNDREDS OF TUBISTS WILL THANK YOU FOR WRITING GOOD AND INTERESTING TUBA PARTS!!!
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  8. #38
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
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    Re: Lesson 8 Discussion - Melody in the Brass

    Snorlax,
    the jpg in the link for Overture to Die Meistersinger has the one for The Ride of the Valkyries in it.

    David

    PS: Thanks for all the info you posted.

  9. #39

    Re: Lesson 8 Discussion - Melody in the Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by Leaf
    Snorlax,
    the jpg in the link for Overture to Die Meistersinger has the one for The Ride of the Valkyries in it.

    David

    PS: Thanks for all the info you posted.
    FIXED. Check it out!!
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

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