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BAND/ORCHESTRA to High School Horns Figure 1. Correct hand placement in the same plane as the fingers. Cup the G unther Schuller once observed, Everybody seems bell of the horn hand slightly. to know that the horn is 2. Now hold the hand in a verti- reputed to be a devilishly difficult
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  BAND ORCHESTRA to  High  School Horns G unther  Schuller  onceobserved, Everybody seemsto know that the horn isreputed  to be a  devilishly  difficult instrument; and even the layman,upon hearing some  out-of-place 'blurp' or  'cracked'  note, knows tolook first at the horn section to find the  culprit (Schuller,  Horn  Tech nique Oxford University Press, 1976).  Many high school band andorchestra directors would agree  that the  horn  is one of the  most  difficult instruments to  teach. Horn  playersneed to have very strong aural skills,and they have to learn  horn  specif-ic techniques such as muting, stop-ping, transposition, lip trills, alter-nate fingerings, hand positions, and bell  position. ONE OF THE BIG  CHALLENGES  FOR horn players  is  knowing where  to properly place the right hand in the bell  of the  instrument. Many ele-mentary players place the palm of the hand  against  the  inside  of the bell  or hold the outside of the bell to help  support  the  instrument.  As  theyproceed through middle and highschool, horn players  are  usually given many  different  suggestions  for  prop- er  placement of the right  hand.  In an effort  to  change  from  a  palm against the  bell placement  to a  properplacement, many students put toomuch of their  hand  in the bell.  This results in a  fuzzy,  covered, and out- Figure  1 Correct hand placement  in the bell  of  the  horn  ote Viewed  from  above the  back  of the  fingers should be  flat against  the far  side  of the  bell. of-tune  sound.  In  The Art  of  French Horn  Playing  (Summy-Birchard Music, 1956), Philip  Farkas  recom-mends three steps to proper right-hand placement (see figure 1 for anillustration of this position): 1.  Hold  the right  hand  flat  with the  fingers  held  together  so  that absolutely no  space occurs  between them.  Pay  particular  attention  to the  thumb,  which  should  lie  along the  edge  of the  hand,  and in the same  plane  as the fingers. Cup the hand  slightly. 2. Now  hold  the  hand  in a  verti- cal  plane with  the  little  finger  nearest the  ground  and the  thumb  upper- most. 3. Insert  this  slightly  cupped  hand in  the  horn  bell  so that  only  the backs  of the fingers and the top ofthe  thumb touch the  metal.  The hand  will be against the  side  of thebell  farthest  from  the  body.  (Parkas, pp.  12-13) A  SIMPLE REMINDER  TO  STUDENTS to be  conscious  of the  right hand  will often  help improve  the  sound  of the section. Another issue  affecting  theright  hand is the clothing of the player. A  heavy sweater  or  suit  jacket can  greatly  affect  the  tone  and  pitch of the horn. Tuning with a  sweatersleeve  rolled  up and  playing  twenty minutes later  after  the  sleeve  has  fall- en  down  may  account  for  intonation problems in the horn section. Very  often in  late  romantic  music, the  composer will write bells  up on the score of the horn part.  Although it is fun to  play with  the  bells  up inthe  air,  it is not  recommended  with  a  \h school h embouchure control that  is  required to  truly play bells  up is not  often present  in  high school players.  Even in  many professional orchestras,horn sections routinely ignore the  bells up markings.  4 TE CHING U  S I Ci  KHE  GENERALLY  ACCEPTED  RULE  OF nb  is  that double horn  fingerings   used for  notes above   (a fifth ;  middle  C) and  below  g  (a fourth r middle  C .  Single horn  finger- i  are used for  g  and  g  and  die  notes I  between.  If  some  of the players are ying  on  single horns while others  are )ang  on  double horns, there will  be onation  challenges that  are  almost Bpossible  to  deal  with.  There  are   when  alternate  fingerings  on the jbuble  horn  may be  desirable,  for nee,  to  create  a  more logical  finger   in a  fast  passage.  See figure 2 t  suggested  alternate  fingerings. is s  book  is a  good  reference  for ate  fingerings. For  more general brmation  on  die  horn,  see  David bouses  Practical  ints  on Playing the  orn  [Belwin-Mills,  1983]  and Barry  Tuckwell's  orn  [SchirmerBooks,  1983]. It is  often difficult  for  horn  players to  decipher  the  mute markings  in the score. Words found  in  musical scoresthat  refer  to  with mute or  muted include: ã  mitDampfer  (German) ã  gedampft  (German) ã  avec  sourdine  (French) ã  con  sordino  (Italian). When composers  ask for a  mute, they  intend  the use of a  conical shaped nontransposing  mute  of  cardboard,metal,  or  wood,  with  cork strips  to  reg- ulate  the  amount  of  stoppage.  The pitch  of a  mute  can be  altered  by  short- ening  or  lengthening  the  piece  of  cylin- drical  tubing that  is  inside  the  mute.However,  most school-owned mutes (the  red and  white stone-lined mutesmade  by  Humes  and  Berg)  do not  have this  inside tubing. Students must  usetheir  ears  and  embouchures  to  keepmuted notes  in  tune. Stopping  the  bellwith  the  hand  while playing with goodintonation  is  almost always  a  challenge for  a  high school horn section. Mark- ings  in the  score that  refer  to  handstopping include: ã  gestopft  (German) ã  boucht  (French) ã  chiuso  (Italian) ã  + (placed above  the  note). Horn  players must always transposedown (not  up) a  half-step when playingstopped notes.  In  addition, they should continued  on  page  8 jure 2. Fingering Chart ended y   o T —^5 _j; f ttrt 0 IW 1-2-3 1-3 t fl  y — 2-3   —  g 1-2 O .  i —fro  P^ 1   2   0 -.| 0 lag  — T-2-3 -fc fcg  5 T 1 2   T-1   0—  >o none available none available none available none available none available T 1 2 3  T 1 3 1 2 3 1-3 T-3 2 3 _^ C T-2 - K — ^TO   X T   —  ff 2 ri n O   ft. vO tt 0 2-3 j^ 1-2   We  v° 1 la \>° —  fl   2   ã9- 0 0  y_ rm 1-2 —  o 1 1 2 3 1  T 1 2 3  T 1 31 3T 2 3  T 1 2  T 1 T 2 T T 3  T 1 2 3  T 1 3 3  2 3T 2 3 1 2 3 T 1 2 T 3 1 3 T£ ^>  ^ \o  — 2   | 0  = 1 o   2 —  o  —  ^* s 0 £ j T-2-3 O T 1 2 —  JtT  —  ja F ^  — T1 —  r 2 T2 o   TO o —  ka  —  W  — T 2 3   —  t   T 1 T-1-Z-3 2-3 T 2 T 1 31 2   T 2 3 T 1 2 T 3T 1 T 1 31 32 3 1 T 2 1 2 3 T 3T 0 10 2 3 2 T 1 2 3 1 21 3 0 1 2 3T 1 3 1-2 2 3 -@ *^  T 1 2  >  0 1 T 3T 1 2 T 2 1-  3 T 2 a T 1 2 T 3 1-2-3 T 1 T-1 T-2-3 1-3 T 2 2 T 1 2 T-1-2-3 2-3 T   0 T-1 T-1-31-3 1-2-3 T-2-32-3 T 2 1-3 T 1 2 T 3 1-2 3 2-3 T-1 T 1 2 T 3 1 1-2 3 T 2 J2.T-2-3 T-1 2 1 T T-1-3 T-2-3 0 1-2 3 IBRUARY  1998  A  Director s Guide  to  High School Horns iT GI S TEACHING Me  for  Mi ods  Cl Developed  by  MENC's Society for  Music Teacher  Edu- cation the  Guide for Music Methods  Classes  is  intended  for use  in  training preservice musicteachers. Provides  exemplary strategies to  enable  teachers  of methods  courses  to introducetheir students  to the competen- cies and skills  called  for in the K-12 National Music Standards.A vital  connection  between thepreparation of music teachersand the practice of music educa- tion. Compiled and  edited  byLouis  O.  Hall with Nancy  R. Boone John  Grashel andRosemary  C.  Watkins.  1997. ISBN  1-56545-093-0.  1656. $25.00/$20.00 MENC members To  order me the  MENC  Resources  order  farmon  page  56 Continued  from  page  35 always  play the stopped note on the Fside  of the double  horn.  It is  impor- tant when stopping the horn to try tocompletely  cut  off  the air  with  the hand. If the students are having trou- ble  with a  stopped  horn, the use of a brass  stopped mute  is  recommended.Ahhough  the  brass stopped mute  ismore  expensive (about  $70),  theadvantage  is  that intonation will  be more accurate.  When  using a brassstopped mute, the student must still use  a  half-step  transposition. VV  HEN  WRITING  A TRANSPOSED part  for  horn  in bass  clef composers often  notate  an  octave lower  tJian is actually  played. A nontransposed part in  this old notation will include bass clef  notes written  a  fourth belowsounding  pitch.  Although new nota-tion includes transposed parts written as  played  and  nontransposed parts written a fifth  above  sounding pitch, many modern composers still use oldnotation  for the  horns.  A  general rule to  follow  for  high school horn players is  that  if the  part seems unreasonably low it's probably written  in old  nota- tion and the student should play thepart in the more comfortable range. There  are two  kinds  of  trills usedon  the horn. If the  written trill calls for  a  half-step  motion,  the  trill  is  donewith  the  valves.  A  whole-step trill  is to be  performed with  die  lip.  Although lip  trills  are  difficult  to  perform well, the use of the  valves  on a  whole step trill  never results  in the  desired sound. Students  should be encouraged to work on the lip  trill. Sometimes problems in the  horn section sound  may be  caused  by  poorembouchure positions  of  individual players.  A  poor embouchure  maycause  intonation  and  range problems in  addition to generally poor tone quality.  However,  it is often  difficult in a large group  setting  to work onindividual embouchures. Also,  at the high school level, most students  have been  playing with  a  particularembouchure  for  several years,  and it is  hard  for  them  to  change. Farkas  suggests that  the  setting  ofthe  mouthpiece  on the  lips  generally should result  in a  proportion  of  2/3upper lip and  1/3  lower lip on themouthpiece The  Art  of French  Horn Playing p.  21).  If a  student  in the high school program plays with  an embouchure  that  does  not fit  thismold  and  appears  to be  having  into- nation, range, or tone quality prob- lems,  the director should encouragethat student  to  seek  professional  help from  a  horn player  to  rework  the embouchure.Much  of the  traditional band  and orchestra literature includes horn parts in  which  the  entire section heads up to high  B-flat  or high C.These notes  are  extremely  difficultfor  an  entire section  to  play  at thesame  time. Upper-register notes require  three elements  and if anyone is  missing,  the  player will  be unsuccessful.  First,  the  player  must hear  the  high pitch  he or she is  try- ing to  play.  A good  way to  preparehorn players  is to  have them singtheir part  as  much  as  possible.  Indi- vidual  students should practicesinging alone  as  well. Second, stu-dents must support the upper  note with lots of air.  Third,  the concen- tration  level must  be  solid.  In  gener- al,  the conductor needs to work with  the  horn  players in a positive,supportive way.   By Colleen Conway assistant professor of  musi education  at  Rutgers University New  Brunswick New Jersey.  8 TEACHING MUSIC
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