The Super Single B-flat

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Besides presenting a session I will also be performing on the Friday evening concert at the Southeast Horn Workshop this weekend. As I have several different horns I play regularly, part of deciding what to play was deciding what horn to play it on. I decided to opt for my Paxman compensating triple with it standing in B-flat.

When I initially used this instrument my approach was more along the lines of double horn horn with a descant horn on top. I had it set to stand in low F, like a double horn. Initially the big playing use was as first horn in the Brevard Music Center Orchestra in the summer.

Then in 2008 a couple things came together and I ended up buying a single B-flat horn, a type of horn covered in this FAQ. I have long had a habit of adopting one new thing or another into my playing, it gives me goals and keeps things interesting. In my studies I had not been often presented with B-flat horn alternate fingerings; other than working out a some specific works and excerpts on descant horn I had done very little work on an instrument that stands in B-flat. A first big project was learning the Rheinberger sonata, a work I had not previously learned, on single B-flat which was very interesting. It is the type of instrument that many players of that time before the double horn would have chosen to perform works like the Rheinberger, and the work came off well.

This led me to a different approach to my triple horn as well, and I began to experiment more with it standing in B-flat for solo works. For orchestral playing I believe I would have a big struggle relearning everything on an instrument standing in B-flat, I know the works too well with double horn fingerings, but for newly learned solo literature the triple feels great standing in B-flat, mainly using B-flat horn fingerings.

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Thus, at the workshop if you are in the audience you will hear me treating the compensating triple as more as a super single B-flat than as a super double horn, playing perhaps 95% of the time on B-flat horn fingerings.

It has been fun working on these works these past few months with the present setup and I look forward to the performance on Friday. But as a final note I would add the double is my main, go-to horn, it is in the end as described in this prior article my home base instrument.

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