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Low range!

01 Sep 2013 18:24 #746 by Jorge Mejia
Low range! was created by Jorge Mejia
I've been playing professionaly for over 8 years now, though I haven't had any major problems when facing the orchestra parts my whole world crumbles when I have to play the solos from either "hero's life" , "till" or any solo were you are forced to go down the "basement". I have a decent high range which I think is what it got me into the orchestra I play for now, we do about everything, unlike so many orchestras here in South America that usually tend to stick to a particular kind of repertoire, my orchestra covers up a hughe amount of diferent music during the year, from Bach to those crazy works from Latin composers, I've been playing for about 18 years now and I've tried everything, switching mouthpieces, opening my hand when going down, and lately just keep at doing low range etudes that sound very nice in my house, but once trying to apply that to my job my nerves get the best of my and I don't feel comfortable playing anything below written G, I use and have been using for a long time now a Bach 10, Iove the tone I am able to produce with this mouthpiece and that is a reason why I don't seem to like any of the other mouthpieces I try, the low range improves with a bigger mouthpiece but the sound quality goes to hell and my section usually notice when I'm trying a bigger mouthpiece, they don't seem to like it........any suggestions?

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01 Sep 2013 20:30 #747 by Jeffrey Cook
Replied by Jeffrey Cook on topic Low range!
I'm not sure if you can get/already have a copy of Randy Gardner's "Mastering the Horn's Low Register", but that book shares a number of great exercises to help open up and make for an efficient low register. Another great resource is the new book by Eli Epstein, "Horn Playing From the Inside Out", where Mr. Epstein talks about the "monkey face" for low playing (think of a gorilla saying "oo-oo").

I would also mention that, for me, playing in the low register is a combination of thick air and oral cavity space. I am not sure how open your jaw position is, but if you can either drop it or extend it out from it's position while playing in the /mid high register you should have more success.

Regarding low etudes, I think there are plenty of good books but I honestly like to play Mozart Concerti down an octave. If you can play such works with the same artistry and ease as in it's original range you are probably going to find some success.

Good luck!

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03 Sep 2013 06:41 #748 by Ricardo Matosinhos
Replied by Ricardo Matosinhos on topic Low range!
The low range it's also my nightmare. Over the years I've been improving, but I feel that I have to practice a lot of low horn everyday.
Mouthpiece size... Well it really depends on your lips.
The mouthpiece ring should be comfortable if is too big for your lips/teeth it won't work. The mouthpiece deepness will change your tone coulor, but if it's too deep will make your life harder and harder.
If you were a student, I would recommend you try to make changes and see what happens. As you are playing professionally, making changes can make decreese your playing level and of coure can let you even to loose your job.
So, for this, instead of changing mouthpiece, for now I recommend you widely open your mouth and then close your lips.
The idea is to increase the space in the oral cavity, while be able to vibrate the lips inside the mouthpiece.
This exercise is just for let you know how much can you open it without compromising your lip vibration.
Then, just open your mouth the necessary to play each note.
I found that making free buzzing on the low range, helps a lot to understand how your low range works. The next step is to be able to take the free buzzing feeling within our narrow horn mouthpiece.
If nothing works with your current mouthpiece, instead of picking up a different mouthpiece, try a similar but with just some little differences, this way you can see if it works without compromising your works. Small changes every day...
I've finished recently a research on horn etudes and I've found some low horn etudes, Ekman (2000) Frehse(1954), Denniss (1993), Hackleman (1990), McCoy (1986), Miles (2009), Neuling (1951, 1952, 1985), one of the books that Pitarch (2002) published, Ware (2006) 3 books that Weingärtner (2009) published. My dissertation included only etude books from 1950-2011 and after delivering it, I've created the website where you can find the full bibliographic details for those books I've referenced.
I've been updating this website including now books published before and after those dates. So now I've included also the 2 Kopprasch books, and the Gallay 12 Etudes for 2nd Horn. You might find useful also the "Twenty Difficult Etudes for the Horn's Middle Register" that Mr. Daniel Grabois wrote in 2009.
Finally, I've release recently a Low horn Etude book.
The etudes are somewhat different from usual, something that helps to practice the low range. It helped me a lot, and as I'm not a low horn player, it was written taking in account what's difficult/easy in the low horn playing making the whole process easier and fun!

Good Luck!

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