The video above is an audio sample of the horn samples from “Eastwest Hollywood Brass Gold Edition”. You can get the whole set on DVD for $549 on Amazon.com. This video is only of the horn(s); the whole set also has trumpets, trombone, and tuba. I have no idea how easy/hard it is to use these samples in electronic music composition, but my first thought in hearing this (just now, for the first time): as synths and samplers have been displacing live instruments for years, I was always convinced that they will never replace horns with electronic simulacrums; the fake versions always sound terrible, very fake (some instruments are easier to fake than others). But after hearing this, I have to admit: they’re getting closer. A lot closer.
I don’t have a single answer for this next question; I do have a bunch of possible answers and even more follow-up questions. Read the question. Think about it. Then send in your comment and we’ll compare thoughts on the subject.
What is the best thing to play in those situations where you have only a very short time to warm-up, e.g. before you go on stage for a performance (recital, band, orchestra, chamber music) or for an audition, etc.? You only have, oh, 15 seconds. Or 30 seconds. A minute, max.
Ideas that you might address in your answer(s):
What do you usually play in those circumstances?
What is the optimum thing to play?
Funny thing about horn players. As students we get introduced to a warm-up/workout routine in high school or college and we learn it (a good thing) and then proceed to repeat it for the next umpteen years. Routines have one big positive: you know how it goes, they cover a bunch of stuff – all good stuff – and you can zip through them and feel good about yourself. You’ve done your duty, taken your daily vitamins, and now you can go practice. What could be wrong with that?
Nothing – it’s all good. Except that one little thing…
Most of my thoughts on improv go into my other blog, Improv Insights, but this is a lot about horn; I was just asked a question in an email by Jacob Schnitzer, an undergrad horn student in the studio of Patrick Hughes at UT-Austin. He wondered about the role of jazz in a horn player’s experience. Here’s what I wrote back:
You (meaning me) write articles and blog entries and occasionally get feedback here and there, but mostly you send it out there and don’t hear any echo back about it – if it struck any chords with anyone, etc etc. Comments of (nearly) any sort are always welcome; sometimes comments lead to deeper or more interesting discussions than the original post. It’s of course easier to send a comment to a blog than to an article. The following is part of an email I recently received from a good friend, someone I met and worked with at Kendall Betts Horn Camp. It’s about a recent article in The Horn Call, journal of the International Horn Society. I am respecting their wish for privacy by removing identifying names.
Below are further transcriptions from that notebook from long ago. Keep in mind that each paragraph may not necessarily have anything to do with the one before it, that it may have been added days or weeks or months after the last entry.
Dealing with the unenlightened…. There are those, who, because of their own insecurity about themselves and their playing, will attempt to undermine your confidence about yourself and your playing. The easiest to deal with are those who are blunt about it; but most often, these people like to couch cutting remarks in words of pseudo-praise. The defense is to be unconcerned with anything they say – once you let your spirits be at the mercy of praise and criticism, you are completely in these people’s power. They aim to manipulate your feelings and it is your choice to let them or not. e.g.: auditions.
Think of high notes not as being ‘hard’ but only as having different requirements – air, muscle tension, attack, mouthpiece pressure, etc. If you attach the judgment of ‘hard’ to it, then this sends a signal of ‘Danger -flight or fight!” to the body, dumps adrenalin, muscles tighten, fighting each other, breathing hindered, Panic, can’t think straight, clam city!
If you haven’t had a look yet, check out the beautiful web site IHS 45 host and IHS web site webmaster Dan Phillips has set up: http://ihs45.org. Next year’s IHS symposium will be held at the University of Memphis in Memphis, TN July 29-Aug. 3, 2013.
The theme will be “Horn and Song”.
“2013 is the centennial of Benjamin Britten’s birth, and the symposium will include performances of all of his works featuring the horn, including the “Serenade” and the U.S. premiere of “In Memoriam Dennis Brain,” for horn quartet and string orchestra. The overall theme for this symposium is “Horn and Song,” and much of the repertoire to be performed will include voices or have a vocal theme or origin. Repertoire will also include at least two premieres of music commissioned for the occasion: a unique concerto for horn and chorus and another for solo horn quartet, participant horn ensemble and soprano soloist.”Featured and special guest artists include: