This year, the two KMEA All-State etudes for French Horn are:
- Kopprasch #21 – measure 38 to the end
- Shoemaker Legato Etude #14 – measure 1 to the downbeat of measure 36
As in previous years, I’ve created a single-page PDF with both etude excerpts and temp markings, along with measure numbers to make referencing practice areas easier (especially in online lessons). You can download the PDF here:
I’ve also created reference recordings to make learning the etudes a bit easier. You can find these recordings on my Youtube channel, or you can listen to them directly below:
Etude #1 – Kopprasch 14
This is obviously the more technical etude of the pair, although there are some small lyrical moments.
Like every year, this etude is as much of a test of your practice technique as it is of your playing technique. This etude has lots of repetition that benefits an attentive musician.
This etude is the key of F major/Bb concert (one flat).
Be aware that this excerpt starts in the middle of the etude, so you don’t start in the “home” key – you start in the dominant key of C major. This means that it may sound a bit unusual to end in F until you get used to this etude – don’t let this throw off your note accuracy!
This etude is similar to the second half of many Kopprasch etudes (especially arpeggio studies). It starts off in a “logical” key (C Major), but it moves through some more distant keys on the way back to F major. Make sure you understand what arpeggio (or scale) you’re playing in in any given phrase and that will make it much easier to be accurate on pitches.
This etude has a bit more rhythmic (and stylistic) variation than your typical Kopprasch technical etude, although none of the rhythms are difficult.
However, don’t let the simplicity of the rhythms lull you into inattentiveness. Pay attention to the little things – for example, the ending notes of many (but not all) phrases are quarters. Similarly, count the longer rests carefully and plan out your breathing so that you don’t enter too early off the 8th rests (or rush the slurred quarter notes).
One important note that is missing from this etude – the beginning of this etude (which starts like measure 19 of this excerpt) has the marking sempre staccato. Make sure that all the contant 8th note patterns are played with this style.
There are two exceptions to this staccato marking:
- The quarter notes at the ends of phrases should not be especially short – since they are the final notes of the phrase.
- The slurred notes are obviously not staccato.
Within the quarter-note slurs, make sure you tongue where indicated – the slurs are not especially long (three notes only).
When you have slurs over the 8th notes, make sure that the last slurred 8th note is played a little shorter to get back into the staccato 8th note style.
Etude #2 – Shoemaker 14
This etude is the lyrical etude of the pair (as Shoemaker Legato etudes generally have been in the past).
In addition to the practice ideas mentioned below, make sure that your practicing smooth slurs by spending time practicing your harmonic series and lip slurs.
This etude is in the key of Eb major/Ab concert (3 flats).
Most of this etude consists of scales and arpeggios in Eb major or in closely related keys (the dominant – Bb major, the relative minor – C minor). Make sure that you can identify these arpeggios and scales when they occur in the music.
There are a few enharmonic spellings that you don’t often see – Cb and Gb. If you’ve never seen these notes before, make sure you consult a fingering chart before you play through these measures. These notes are not challenging, but make sure you get them right the first time!
This etude begins with a syncopated rhythm. Make sure you understand how to count this rhythm, and that you know which notes are short and which are accented. The first measure of this etude (and the others like it) should feel like they have a bit of a “lilt” to them.
Subdivide quarter notes (or longer) carefully. This etude has both duple (8th note) and triple (triplet) subdivisions. Make sure the dotted 8th note rhythms don’t feel like triplets, and make sure your triplet rhythms are as even as possible.
In the “off-beat” sections (mm 17-19, for example) make sure to subdivide the “down” beats to keep from rushing ahead. You may consider practicing these sections with an 8th note subdivision to ensure steady rhythm.
The style of this etude is overall lyrical, but make sure you understand some of the nuances to give a musically appropriate performance.
The two markings in measure 1 andante con sentimento and con anima are both important – make sure you look them up!
As mentioned above, make sure you notice how the articulation, accent, and rhythm all work together in measure 1 (and similar measures) to give the music a lilting, bouncy quality while remaining legato.
While the overall dynamic of this etude is p, that doesn’t mean that everything should be quiet. When you have the crescendos, make sure that the phrase goes somewhere! Just remember to come back down when you have the decrescendo.
Finally, notice that you have two different articulations for your > accent. Tongued (as in measure 1) and slurred (as in measure 17-19).
While there’s a lot more to say about both of these (and I’m sure I’ll say it over the next few months), this should give you a pretty good start on both of these etudes.
As always, if you need any one-on-one help, please get in touch. I’m happy to help with in-person or online lessons.
Additionally, if you need some help getting back in the practice groove, this blog article from last year may provide some motivation (and links to additional resources).