Saturday, April 24, 2010

Nailing Tannhauser

Welcome to F sharp major and a good lung flush! (Or G flat major if you prefer.) The ending of the Tannhauser Overture is on the stand. Once fingering and intonation are mastered, there is only one thing left - loud sustained notes with no decay just like a church organ. This excerpt shouldn't be a problem. No fast finger-twisting passages to coordinate. Just breathe big and blow.

Oh, one more item not to forget - notice what's on the top of each note, tent accents. Think of a cork being released from a bottle. Or think of a page of music being blown off your stand as soon as your first note sounds. Some call this a sustained accent. If you like pictures, imagine the sudden blast of water through a pressurized hose.

In fact, how about drawing this excerpt on graph paper? Use bricks to represent the notes, big fat cinder blocks. Draw them proportional to the musical line. What color do you like? They could be dark blue or maybe brilliant red. Your call.

Set your metronome for approximately 60 or slower. Painfully slow practice tempos will increase endurance and embouchure focus. Remember not to over-think this. All notes simply must sound good. It must be steady, in tune, loud and clear. Every note counts. Be sure never to crack the high A sharp at the end, and try to make listeners smile when you nail that low F sharp. This is a great warm-up. Have you ever tried it soft?

1 comment:

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