Monday, August 3

Lecture (Horn Study and Pedagogy)

  • Colburn School, Grand Rehearsal Hall 200 S Grand Ave Los Angeles, CA, 90012 United States

Time Spaces/Sound Spaces/Harmonielehre
(A One Hour Interactive Session—Bring your Horn!)

Presenter: Randall Faust

“It’s not the notes, it's the rests that trip me up.”
(Commentary from a young hornist who was working through a
new contemporary composition.)

“The horn is sometimes considered a difficult instrument.
Actually, it is not difficult. However, its reputation for slipperiness is well deserved—owing to its use of so many partials of the harmonic series.”
(Commentary from an experienced horn teacher.)

Both of these commentaries reflect the many we hear from various students and teachers in the process playing and teaching the horn. These commentaries also have additional variations—depending on the playing situations, demands of conductors, and certainly the complexity of the music.

As hornists, we live daily with these realities. We also contend with historic perceptions (and jokes) about missed or “cracked” notes on the horn—and much of our pedagogical material focuses on these “notes.” By contrast, this presenter believes that the secret to improvement is the study of the spaces between the notes. The study of TIME SPACES—the time from the beginning of one note to the other (including rests)—can improve rhythmic accuracy. Likewise, the study of SOUND SPACES—the space between one pitch and the other can improve pitch accuracy. Add to this HARMONIELEHRE. This name was used by Schoenberg as the title of his book discussing the study of harmony. For me, this is a bit of a pun, (in the tradition of horn humor), also meaning the “study of the harmonic series.” It is this presenter’s observation that unlike the piano—where the SOUND SPACES are equidistant half steps—the distance between the SOUND SPACES on the Horn are not equidistant. So, the study of the harmonic series helps to clarify this understanding of SOUND SPACES.