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.
There are a number (growing all the time) of dissertations on horn-related subjects that are available gratis online. We will post links to these one at a time now and then. If you know of such dissertations that you think we have missed (or might miss), please send us the link(s) and we’ll post them here. Thanks, and thanks to the authors who have made their work available online for all of us to benefit from.
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.
When I first started playing professionally in an orchestra many years ago, some interesting things happened. Life was a little different than I had imagined before that. Everyone’s experience is different; what happened in mine back then was, first of all, the job was a different experience than I expected. I had imagined musical excitement every day – what a dream to get to play music for a living! Well, sometimes. A good bit of it was, after a while anyway, pretty routine. A small part of it was sheer terror. But that part is not what I want to talk about here. I want to talk about the other thing that started happening back then…
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: