KMEA Kentucky All-State Horn Etudes 2020-2021


This year’s All-State etudes for horn are Shoemaker 17 and Kopprasch 31.

As usual, I’ve put together some helpful practice tips and some recordings to help you prepare these etudes!

Shoemaker 17

Etude #17 (from John Shoemaker’s Legato Etudes for Horn) is the more lyrical of the two All-State etudes this year.

Style

Make sure you understand the musical terms present in the music!

The word andante refers to your tempo – moderately slow (walking speed). The amabile refers to the style – in this case, pleasant or friendly. Even with the big jumps, accidentals, and marcato accents, this etude should not sound forceful or aggressive. Notice the dolce (sweetly) marking in the first measure too!

While you’re looking at the terms, also check out the key and time signature.

Key/Time Signature

The key signature is one sharp – our G major – but make sure you know the relative minor scale as well (you can find my scale sheets here), since this will be important.

The time signature is 3/8. That means that there are three beats in a measure, and an eighth note gets one beat. So you will count eighth notes like you count quarter notes in 4/4 time. You’ll count the sixteenth notes like eighth notes (in 4/4 time) and the thirty-second notes will be counted like sixteenth notes (in 4/4 time).

While it does look like it goes fast, since the tempo marking indicates eighth note = 88, the actual tempo will be on the slow side.

Scales/Arpeggios

This etude mostly follows the keys indicated by the key signature – G major/ e minor. While there are quite a few accidentals, most of them are just “decorations” to the main melody. For example, measure 9, although it looks like a lot of chromatic notes, is just a “fancier” version of measure 1.

This type of elaboration occurs throughout this piece. Spending some time analyzing these patterns can pay off big when you’re practicing!

Kopprasch 31

The “technical” etude for this year is (as usual) a Kopprasch etude – this time it’s #31.

Like most technical studies (and most Kopprasch etudes), knowing your scales and arpeggios will make things much easier when you’re practicing this piece.

Style

It seems like most Kopprasch etudes are articulation studies (at least at some level), and this one is no exception. The traditional “slur-two-tongue-two” articulation occurs in almost every single measure of this piece (except the last one).

Remember that the last note of a slur (in general) needs to be a bit shorter than it looks. Playing this note on the short side will help the articulation clarity of the following tongued notes. It will also make it easier to increase the speed of the etude. Keep this note short even when practicing it slowly.

Key/Time Signature

This Kopprasch etude sticks to the common C major key and 3/4 time (although notice that it’s not written in some editions).

Scales/Arpeggios

Here’s where Kopprasch generally goes very wrong (or very right).

Like most Kopprasch etudes, this one generally sticks to arpeggios and scales in the tonic(I) or dominant (V) key. In C major this means the C is the I and G is the V. There are a few “excursions”, where we dip into other keys – D major shows up since it’s the dominant of the dominant (also called the V/V). But most of this etude is in one of two keys.

There are quite a few accidentals that don’t fit into either of these keys, though. These accidentals usually come from a repeating pattern (called a sequence in music). For example, in the second-to-last measure the pattern of the first four notes (A-G-F#-G) is repeated two times, but the intervals between the notes is the same for each four-note-pattern. So the A# in this measure isn’t suggesting B major, it just kind of “happens” in the pattern.

While this kind of analysis may seem a bit involved, it really does make it easier to play!

Videos/More Help

Like previous years, I’ve also done a recording of these two etudes to help you hear what they sound like and gauge your progress.

This year, instead of two videos, though, I’ve combined them into a single video. Hopefully this makes it a bit easier to use!

As usual, if you have any questions about these etudes, please contact me. While it’s not easy to “teach” over email, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have to the best of my ability. Of course, if you want to do some (online) lessons, you can sign up for those here. Whether you want help on a specific piece or if you want something more long-term, I’d love to help you!