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Historical developments in writing for low horn
thesisposted on 2023-05-28, 06:03 authored by Stonestreet, RJ
Playing in the lower register forms a vital part of every horn player's skill set, however the fact that this is no longer considered a specialised skill has led to it becoming a neglected facet in both the practice and teaching of many students. There are significant benefits to low register work on the horn, as well as many challenges, yet teaching resources that emphasize and develop the 'low horn' skill set are rather uncommon and somewhat limited. Similarly, solo works that truly feature the low register appear to be few and far between; most are rarely performed or recognized for their specific difficulties. However, there are a number of new low horn works that have become available in previous years and these contributions, in addition to the older works that do include challenging low horn passages, add up to a considerable amount of repertoire. Many of these works remain largely unknown amongst horn players although they are certainly capable of filling the currently existing void. This research explores these works, investigating their musical and technical challenges and their historical context through a series of public recitals where solo works were performed. This has resulted in a folio of recordings and an accompanying exegesis. The written component contextualises the works performed within the developments made to the instruments manufacture and how these changes influenced composers, performers and pedagogues alike towards the technique and virtuosity that is now generally expected. This account extends form the historical natural instrument of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, through the implementation of the valve to the well-known solos of Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) and Hermann Neuling (1897-1967) from the mid part of the twentieth century and beyond to include the most recent compositions becoming available. Through their performance and greater exposure it is hoped that an increased focus will be placed on this very necessary aspect of horn technique in the future development of students.
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