Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

Live horn & trumpet test recording, + score. At least partially educational!

I previously posted regarding some horn and trumpet recording I was planning, but something happened to speed me up a bit - I was studying a score and saw that there was almost no articulation on the trumpet and horn solos where I had assumed there'd be more. I realised I knew less about brass-specific notation than I thought, so instead of getting all the parts recorded at once, I did a test for my test. I sent the player a very short full piece, some dynamic tests on chords, and then variously notated iterations of the same theme for solo trumpet and horn.

The scores are a little scattered so in order:
4 hn, 2 tpt playing a short action fanfare
The same fanfare but played ignoring the staccato notation
4 hn, 2 tpt playing the same chord 4x, with different dynamics
Solo horn playing the same theme 4x with different articulation and ranges
Solo trumpet likewise

To some, the differences in performance and feel from these varied notations will be second nature and obvious, but I present them here for anyone interested. The second solo horn theme, for example, is my almost perfect blend of staccato accents and slurred portamento. In future recording I would remove the staccato from the 2nd two notes, as at that speed it's not necessary, but otherwise the balance is just right. The first solo is great but with a little too much separation in the longer notes; the 3rd solo I slurred almost everything and so the character is totally different, not ideal for the style.

Or the first piece - the difference between staccato and normal playing is huge. The former sounds bright but muted, the second darker and broader. The perfect blend there would probably be staccato trumpets under normal horns.

The final trumpet theme approaches the very top of the playable range. Ignore samples that produce perfect tones here and play safe, I only went this high to see what would happen.

Hope you enjoy or get something out of this. Thanks to Mike who suggested some of the tests, rest assured more are coming!

Views: 107

Attachments:

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The scores for the final solo horn and trumpet themes.

Attachments:

Dave,

Some observations from a brass player. 

Why would you assume there would be more articulations. 

First fanfare-too blatty. The second in much more musical.

Portamento is not an articulation normally attributed to brass playing. To me, the second horn solo just seems like slopping around. Even more so, the third.

But, here again, different groups will play the same articulation ( or lack there of) differently.

A good set of tests. I hope you learn from them. That's the point. What I think, isn't.

I don't mean more articulations than available to other instruments, I mean more usage of those that exist. What I had assumed would be notated staccato wasn't, for example.

It IS too blatty! That's why I had him do it twice, I assumed my markings were redundant at that tempo.

Funny old world. I find slurred horn a beautiful quality - in moderation - though 4 horns in a tutti phrase might lose some clarity compared to detache. 3rd one was "slopping", again I assumed something like this would happen. Certainly it's enough to inform how I write the main batch of test pieces.



Bob Porter said:

Dave,

Some observations from a brass player. 

Why would you assume there would be more articulations. 

First fanfare-too blatty. The second in much more musical.

Portamento is not an articulation normally attributed to brass playing. To me, the second horn solo just seems like slopping around. Even more so, the third.

But, here again, different groups will play the same articulation ( or lack there of) differently.

A good set of tests. I hope you learn from them. That's the point. What I think, isn't.

Objective achieved Dave. It's great that you have posted these for others to listen to - phrasing such an important part of the compositional process. I bet you will think differently when writing a line after this....

Yes, good job Dave, interesting indeed.

Ray, I hope you didn't think I was sarcastically advocating for plastic waste back on your thread. I was sarcastically advocating against people who sarcastically complain about not getting free plastic bags.

Mike - absolutely! Somewhat as I hoped/suspected, a talented player performing an unmarked passage will make it sound great, but just a few touches can add so much. Glad I checked on slurs, which I've used in a lot of places I actually didn't need them.

Guess whose score I was studying to realise the brass had such sparse articulation. Just guess.

Dave,
It's your place to make the decision of going off on tangents on your discussion. I simply wasn't having it on mine.
Nothing personal, just my curmudgeon spirit of not getting sidetracked on things we have little control of other than in our personal life. I recycle but, I do not melt when I'm in contact with the ground. There is no black or white, North Pole or South Pole in my life.
I live in the now, not what may be the future. It absolutely would have taken legs there so I removed the oxygen.
Sorry for going on here.

Dave I'm interested in your music and that of most others here. Nothing else, other than the odd laugh.

No problem, I've done the same on my own discussions. Just didn't want to be that guy. Maybe ask Greg to delete the later comments so the thread can be opened again? Would be a shame to lose it.

Ray said:

Dave,
It's your place to make the decision of going off on tangents on your discussion. I simply wasn't having it on mine.
Nothing personal, just my curmudgeon spirit of not getting sidetracked on things we have little control of other than in our personal life. I recycle but, I do not melt when I'm in contact with the ground. There is no black or white, North Pole or South Pole in my life.
I live in the now, not what may be the future. It absolutely would have taken legs there so I removed the oxygen.
Sorry for going on here.

Dave I'm interested in your music and that of most others here. Nothing else, other than the odd laugh.

Ask for the deletion of comments? I don't think so............slippery slope, although..........I can delete all my own,

Anyway, enough about that, how are you getting on with your tests?

Greg LOVES deleting comments! He'd already done it on yours. It's his heroin.

I've not done any more specifically on the brass writing and tests (I sidetracked myself into other musical endeavours) but these recordings will definitely influence the stuff I'd already written as well as future. Might even do a second round of mini-tests before sending over the "real" pieces.



Ray said:

Ask for the deletion of comments? I don't think so............slippery slope, although..........I can delete all my own,

Anyway, enough about that, how are you getting on with your tests?

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2017   Created by Chris Merritt.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service