Ricardo Matosinhos
11 Technical Etudes for Horn Op.94a
for Horn
Verlag: AvA Musical EditionsAusgabe: NotenArt-Nr.: E2560 / AVA232966 Level: (1-2) 

11 Technical Etudes for Horn, op.94a

Etudes as the name suggests are intended for studying, but naturally, it's much more enjoyable to practice a piece. So, as a result, this repertoire is often relegated to secondary importance, but I consider it essential for the development of an instrumentalist. I'm such a staunch defender of etudes, that my master's research focused on the vast range of horn studies published since the second half of the 20th century. I also contributed to the writing of numerous etudes: 10 and 12 jazzy etudes, 15 low horn etudes, 13 (un)lucky etudes, 20 easy etudes, the latter included in Getting Started on the Horn, to which 11 more technical studies for horn have now been added by me. During my doctoral research, I delved into the idiomatic writing for the horn, a subject that I consider to be intrinsically linked to the pedagogical writing of etudes, since idiomatic repertoire writing requires deep reflection and practical knowledge so that you can take advantage of the different resources that the horn has to offer. I therefore believe that writing etudes for an instrument not only assists performers in overcoming challenges and improving their performance but also helps composers gain a better understanding of the instrument. Specifically, this publication deals with technical aspects of the horn, and each etude focuses on easily identifiable challenges. However, the way they are written has been meticulously thought out, with numerous details that I will describe.

At first glance, some of these etudes may seem difficult to the point of being impracticable. In fact, my first method was rejected by publishers who justified their refusal by saying that they only published music intended to be played by humans. However several years have passed and my studies and my music in general has been played all over the world and I am not aware of any being played by extraterrestrials. So what at first glance seems excessively difficult can turn out to be much easier and more enjoyable than it seems. This is not to say that these studies are easy; however considering the pros and cons and the way they take advantage of small subtleties in the instrument, they end up being easier than they appear. In doing so, they also help to gradually remove many psychological barriers created by the instrumentalists themselves. Therefore, from a pedagogical point of view, I follow the motto that there is no evolution if everything is easy, nor if everything is difficult. If we don't face challenges that drive progress, we will we'll end up stagnating, but if everything is too difficult, evolution will also become unattainable. So even if a study seems difficult or very difficult, it will certainly have some easy or even very easy elements to create balance. It is up to horn players to approach each of these etudes with an open mind and, above all, have fun while they evolve, as the process will take less time and be more enjoyable.


1 - Seven o'clock, the first etude got its name from the presence of major seventh intervals. When it comes to idiomatic writing for the horn, the various instrumentation and orchestration books warn that, especially as you begin to move up the register, you should use intervals that are easily identifiable as a third, fourth, or fifth but without a doubt, a major seventh is not on the list of recommended intervals. In this study, the intervals of major seventh and augmented fourth are grouped in pairs, with the same or similar fingerings. In this way, although the intervals are more difficult to hear, the fingering helps. There are some optional multiphonics, and an ossia has been included in case the performer chooses not to play the multiphonics.


2 - In the second etude Gliding, the instrumentalist will have to take advantage of different air speeds/temperatures, almost as if the horn were a glider. It starts with minor third intervals, continues with major thirds, perfect fifths and fourths, major sixths and finally an octave. The patterns of this etude are possibly not very different from the flexibility exercises often used by brass players, but let's face it, the way they're presented makes the process more fun!


3 - Two, five, one, or better: ii V I is one of the most common harmonic progressions and serves as the basis for this etude. Arpeggios in root position, first inversion, and second inversion are presented with passing tones that connect them. Other arpeggios appear between sections with this sequence, but the main goal is to make the practice more appealing It's true that you have to practice in order to evolve, but nobody said that the work had to be boring!


4 - The etude Feeling Diminished? is based on the octatonic scale (W-H), also known as the diminished scale. It's an excellent study to practice when you're feeling down, you'll see it energise you and you'll certainly see increased results. Multiphonics can be omitted or transposed to the higher octave if they are played by a performer with a higher voice.


5 - Chromatic Buzz is a chromatic etude inspired by a well-known work by Rimsky-Korsakov , which in this version aims to practice chromatic scales. So from start to finish, there are repetitive chromatic patterns, which in the right dosage can become fun. The tempo of this etude is quite fast, so if you play it more slowly, you'll need to add breaths and eventually cut some slurs.


6 - A hunting-style etude could not be missing, and Riding a Horn fulfils this purpose in a very special way. It's true that other fingerings can be used, but with the exception of the last few bars, the entire study can be played using just the first finger and thumb. This facility adds to the purpose of working at longer tube lengths and increasing the accuracy of pitch and attack. The study covers jumps to notes in the low-mid register, where horn players often end up changing the angle of the embouchure and wasting air in the process. The indicated breaths assume that the etude is played at the indicated speed and that good air management is made, and at the same time it is an extra element of control to determine whether the embouchure is producing sound effectively. At slower speeds, additional breaths should be added.


7 - In Follow the Circle just follow the cycle of descending perfect fifths or ascending perfect fourths. Being able to save air in a tessitura spanning 3 octaves is a sign that the embouchure is producing sound effectively. So the breaths indicated add an extra challenge, but they are only suggestions. If you work on this study at a slower speed, you'll need additional breaths. So that you can work on this study only in the middle and lower register, alternative options were included.


8 - The perfect fifth interval is in essence associated with the horn because it is the interval of calls, existing between the 2nd and 3rdharmonics, 4th-5th; 6th-9th, 8th-12th, etc. Quintessential takes this interval across the horn's range, initially in slow and lyrical movements and later in agile leaps. The fast passages with perfect fifth jumps and sixteenth notes take advantage of easy fingerings. In this way, the horn player can concentrate on the other challenges offered by this study. Lower options have been included in case the purpose of practicing isn't related with the right range.


9 - Somewhat Spanish, as the name suggests, is related to the rhythms and melodic motifs of traditional Spanish music. However, as it is based on the whole-tone scale, it takes on a different sound than you might expect. As it is a scale based on dividing an octave into equal parts, it is symmetrical, and it requires more complex fingerings, where the third finger is used. In some situations, fingerings are suggested to help convert lightness into faster tempos. A lower option has been added for the end.


10 - Rush Hour is a very fast etude ideal for practicing double staccato. For this purpose a key with easy fingerings has been chosen so that the horn player can concentrate on the staccato. As mentioned earlier, this is a great etude for purposely playing long passages without breathing since it serves as an extra control element for the efficiency of sound production by the embouchure.


11 - Unlike the other etudes in this book, Stopping By was written in late 2016, as part of a scientific article on right-hand performance techniques. So, while exploring the different types of glissando that occur when half or fully closing the bell, I ended up writing this etude. Since the stopped notes, when played on the B-flat horn, will sound about a quarter tone higher, I created a symbol with an arrow indicating the notes where the horn player will need to compensate for the tuning with the embouchure. I hope your practice of this etude is not just a passing moment ("stopping by"), but that it actually improves and, above all, that you have fun while doing it!

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