36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 203: Lows, highs, and lip slurs


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 203 — Lows, highs, and lip slurs
21-February-1972 (Montag–Mon.)


Another exciting—boy, am I getting the blahs—day. Seven hours electronic. Half the equipment is broken, but managed to get something done. Then practiced horn for only an hour. I’m really discouraged because even though I’m playing so-so well, it never “feels” very easy, and when it comes to high range tone, slurs and lip slurs, they are very difficult, which means I am doing something wrong. In trying to find this out, I’m not getting anywhere.

Then typed some letters (to music school) for a couple of hours.


Lows. Well, seven hours in an electronic lab is perhaps a bit too much. I need to learn moderation. I’m not complaining so much about the horn, just that it doesn’t “feel” easy.

Highs. All instruments take a lot of work to master, but the horn is notorious for being one of the easiest with which to make mistakes. That’s because the range of the horn is wide and as you go into the high register, the notes are closely spaced and difficult to precisely hit. I had troubles with the high A’s to high C. I could hit the A’s and Bb’s but would also miss them. I could almost never play a C. I blamed it on my embouchure. Remember, I even had the Philip Farkas embouchure book and metal “mouthpiece ring.” The Siegfried Horn Call from the other day is a good example that shows why the horn is difficult to play. The pros make it look easy.

Lip slurs and wide ranges. Transitioning legato notes in the upper register also gets tougher. Wide intervals, as in Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben are also difficult.

So, what do I do nowadays? Today, I actually miss playing the horn and especially playing in orchestras. Maybe when I retire, I’ll pick it up again. I do play keyboards and write music when I get a chance. That’s my creative outlet. Not as often as I would like.


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