Here are some tips and trouble spots to watch out for in the KY All-State Horn Excerpt #2.
This etude has numerous challenges:
- The overall challenge is tempo. The statement below the title indicates that this etude is a study on the theme from the Scherzo (2nd movement) of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. If you’re unfamiliar with that work, make sure you listen to it (you can find it on Youtube and just about any streaming music service) in order to get a sense of the style of this excerpt. The tempo indications I have seen indicate performing this at around 110-120, but I think anywhere around 100 is plenty fast.
- Large and rapid articulated leaps.
- Rapid articulation, with the constant dotted-eight/sixteenth rhythm and also quick rearticulations (sometimes in the extreme low register).
- Quick and dramatic dynamic changes.
- Unexpected or expanded arpeggios.
- There is a change from the above edition: The official All-State edition has a slight change in m. 15. Instead of one upper and two lower D’s, the upper and lower D’s alternate. You can hear this on the recording below.
- Use a metronome! You should be using one at least 8 or 9 times for every 10 times you practice this piece. If you let your technique determine your tempo, you’ll never be able to speed this up steadily (or to the desired tempo)! Make sure you accurately place the 16th note in each bar.
- There are lots of short eight-note rests in this piece. Use those as dividers – don’t try to practice more than two bars at a time until you can play 4 or 5 sets of 2-bar phrases at the a consistent tempo.
- Be careful not to hold the quarter notes too long – if anything, shorten them slightly to give yourself a little more breathing time and to keep the tempo moving forward.
- Blow through the sixteenth notes – it’s all too easy to unintentionally stop your air during each articulation (especially the dotted-eight sixteenth). Make sure you are blowing a steady stream of air (like everything was slurred) and define the front of the notes with your tongue! See this page for a bit more on articulation.
- If the 10 measures are a challenge (and they likely will be) make sure and spend extra time practicing them slowly to hear the musical line(s). Notice how the lowest note generally stays the same or only moves by steps, while the upper notes outline various arpeggios. Practice these out of time, if necessary, to really internalize this ‘tune’.
- As before, feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or would like to schedule some one-on-one help.
Don’t forget to check out my walkthrough of All State #1 as well!