Random Friday: Nerves and Muscles

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Forget the blue horn, this one is way cooler!

With relatives visiting, work, and symphony and opera, it has been a hectic few weeks. While I haven’t written any new articles, I still think of Horn Matters: tweaking the logo (added some brassy hues), fine-tuning code (as always), re-instating our advertisers and their ads, and collecting random horn-related items of interest.

Here is some of that random stuff:

Bulletproof auditions
I really like the name of this web site. We musicians take things too personally and sometimes it helps to let things roll like water on a duck’s back. Check out this article on preparation tips for auditions.

Conductors and horns
Julia Rose continues the discussion on the odd chemistry that can evolve between a horn section and a conductor. She addresses that famous Simon Rattle quotation:

…you never eyeball a horn player. That’s one of the real rules. You just don’t. They’re stuntmen. You don’t eyeball stuntmen just before they’re about to go near death.

The French horn scam
At Yeah, He Did!, Luke Kingma tells of  “An Old French Horn and the Wonderful Scamming Capabilities of Craigslist Users.”

The story relates one of the perils of selling an instrument online.

Nice pictures
A crusty horn in black-and-white. A painted horn. The infamous Blue horn.

The benefits of church gigs
Bruce Richards spells out why church gigs offer more than just money; they can also offer you a chance to try new things and take risks.

Transposed thoughts
Jonathan West ponders on transposition.

Sight reading frightens a lot of people – many think that it is a black art only mastered by professionals and not to be vouchsafed to mere mortals in the amateur world. Certainly professionals have to have a high degree of mastery of it, but decent sightreading skills are not beyond amateur players.

Defeating the nerve monster
Phil Collins takes up a sword and shield:

Lurking behind the curtains or perched high on the catwalks, our old nemesis the Nerve Giant resides. Sneering silently, he watches for each contestant to make his and her way to the front of the stage. Today is audition day, and he is having himself a good old time. At just the right moment, he begins to make his moves on each unsuspecting victim. Quickly he pounces and inflicts his debilitating tactics on as many as he can. Strangely, he is never seen, but surely felt.

Random videos

These videos have appeared on the Horn Matters Facebook page previously – they are worth re-posting here.

This video focuses on the diaphragm.

The second video is without narration. It adds internal organs and illustrates the rib cage in action.

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And speaking of conductors, this clip from Riccardo Muti is worth a listen.

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I am a “hand-tuner” – in addition to slide adjustments, I use my right hand to make subtle adjustments on-the-fly. In the context of an orchestra performance this technique has helped tremendously. For myself, too much pitch adjustment with the embouchure leads to clams.

Here is the “hand-tuner” technique spelled out in a nice video.

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A nice Cole Porter rendition from Giovanni Hoffer. The audio quality is not so great but the groove is sweet.

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