Those Dreaded Soft Attacks

Discussion in 'Wise Talk!' started by wiseone2, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    The ones that come to mind are-
    Rienzi-Wagner
    Francesca da Rimini- Tchaikovsky
    Oberon-Weber
    La Mer- Debussy....that cornet lick
    Concerto for Orchestra-Bartok
    There are others, let's make a list and talk about them.
    Wilmer
     
  2. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

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    Pines off stage solo, my nemesis :x
     
  3. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    We are not quite on the same wave length.I am thinking of those very delicate on-stage entrances that make us quake. The cornet entrance in La Mer is one of the loneliest moments for a player.You enter on that pianissimo F# to G# to A# by your lonesome. That's the kind of entrance I have in mind.
    With the Pines solo, you can at the very least play mezzo forte.
    Wilmer
     
  4. Mzony

    Mzony Pianissimo User

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    Hey Wilmer,
    Great topic...Here's a few that I find to be a real challenge:

    Brahms # 2-at the end of the first.
    Beethoven # 7- Third Movement...Two isolated g's at the top of the staff.
    Anything written by Haydn :-P They always seem softer and higher than you want them to be.
    Sibelius # 2
    The end of the Parsifal Oveture.
    Schumann # 2.
    OK. Now let's talk about makin' these simple. PLEASE!!!!

    :grouphug: GO TEAM GO!

    Mike
     
  5. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Add to that, those nasty little staccato solos in the Shostakovich First Symphony, and would you believe there is a moment in the Beethoven Violin Concerto that has that "time standing still" quality. I played it once with the soloist, Isaac Stern, turning to the trumpets every darn time we played that string of ppp Gs.
    Sorry I can't make these licks easier to play, but they do warrant discussion.
    The secret is in the timed inhale-exhale. Most missed ppp entrances are caused by faulty articulation. If we are relaxed and yet rhythmically on top of the beat we can play with confidence at any dynamic. Sam Krauss devised some studies that helped me immensely. They can be found here-
    http://www.petrouska.com/

    To be continued.............
    Wilmer
     
  6. Mzony

    Mzony Pianissimo User

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    Hey Wilmer,
    I can go all day on this topic.

    How about the ppp G's on top of the staff, in octaves with the first horn in Beethoven 8.

    OK. Let's have a frank discussion and I will bear my soul to you all and share my vulnerability. You ready? Haha. I'm nervous just talking about it. :oops:

    I practice a lot of time breaths, although I can't tell which page of the Krauss stuff applies to this topic. Could you direct me a little more specifically? I do the Shubrek book quite a bit...You know the timed acttack excercise? So I do it at least once a day on all my major horns (Bb, C, and Rotary). I do it once each doing breath attacks and once tounge attacks...and I try never to do it above P. I don't have problems with loud articulations, just soft.
    Here is where the problem is oh great Wiseone :D : I work on these taking full breaths and I do start to hyperventilate or at least create quite a bit of tension in my upper body...So, I practice taking in a Full breath once every other attack or sometimes taking in just less air...BUT, I can't ever think of a time in the ensemble where I would desire less than a full breath of air. Am I doing my self (not to mention the exercise and perhaps music) a diservice by practicing this way?
    Wilmer, what do you think? OK guys, I let you all see me with my pants down...I know, ugly thought...Let's talk about this. I know there are more of you out there that feel like me! :grouphug: BREAK!

    Mike
     
  7. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

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    Wilmer,

    My instructor was getting ready for an audition, and he wanted to run through the section in the Beethoven Violin Concerto with me to be prepared for the round with the section. Man! That is some really tough playing. I was on the low part and I was amazed at how soft he was playing the top line.

    My hat is off to all of you who have to deal with the extremes of dynamics in your everyday job. Wow! Talk about challenging and nerve wracking. I'll enjoy reading about everyone's solution to this aspect of playing.
     
  8. Rgale

    Rgale Mezzo Forte User

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    Chris Leuba taught me one way of dealing with the dreaded high, soft entrance. You lick the upper lip either before or as you are taking the breath before that entrance. Your tongue actually flicks out and licks the upper lip , preferably as you are breathing before the entrance. It takes some practice to get used to, but it's worth it. It really seems to help.

    I know this sounds eccentric, but it helped me.
     
  9. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

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    One that I have come across (and panicked about):
    Veni Veni Emmanuel - James MacMillan

    This is a fantastic percussion concerto that we played at university (with the composer present - we were the first people to perform it without Evelyn Glennie (for whom it was written) as the soloist).
    It ends with the chorale Veni Veni Emmanuel, kicking off with the first trumpet entering on the B above the stave (C trumpet part) marked pp!
    This comes at the end of a piece that has taken you throughout the range of the instrument and utilising dynamics right up to ff!
    During rehearsals I had splattered that note over each and every wall of every practice room and rehearsal venue :oops: , so I had chosen to play it on piccolo (as opposed to the Bb I was using for the rest of the piece - not owning a C trumpet at that point), just to be certain of hitting it accurately. During the final rehearsal, Mr MacMillan was present and afterwards he came up to me and said "very nice, but no." When I asked which particular place, he said that had written the part for the bigger trumpet - he wanted that particular timbre, not the piccolo trumpet. This was hours before the concert.
    It actually went really well (and I got a compliment from him afterwards), but I was quite worried about that particular entry.

    You also need to be able to play bells at pp in this piece, but this is hardly the forum for discussing percussion techniques :D
     
  10. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Think of it this way........breathe on the upbeat of the ppp entrance. Full relaxed quick breaths are the secret. Sam liked to have me visualize piano attacks like blowing out grape seeds.
    You can't tense up if you breathe on the upbeat and attack with the quickness of a cobra. Now there's a picture :roll:
    Wilmer
     

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