Hungarian March

Below are some tips for working on the excerpt from Hungarian March from Berlioz's Damnation of Faust.

1. Half note = 88 is a generally acceptable tempo. ALWAYS play this excerpt with a metronome. If you're anything like me, your natural tendency will be to rush. Set the metronome to half notes and think about the subdivisions as you play. For audition purposes, avoid the temptation to slow down during the last few bars of the excerpt. Just play straight in time from start to finish. Play through the excerpt several times at half tempo. Playing this slowly is a good opportunity to ingrain the habit of playing with extremely accurate slide positions. Be extra careful with 2nd, 3rd and 5th positions. There are no Eb's or Ab's in this excerpt. Be sure to always play precisely. Never play halfway between 2nd and 3rd positions or halfway between 4th and 5th. Come all the way in for 2nd and go all the way out for 5th! 

2. A good exercise for getting your slide coordination down on this exercise is the "hot note" exercise. I was introduced to this exercise by Joe Alessi. Basically, go through the excerpt note by note at half time. Play the first note staccato and immediately move the slide to the next position so that the slide arrives well in advance of the time when you need to articulate. Play the next note, and then continue forward in the same fashion. Practice a few bars this way. Then go back and do it again, this time shortening the space between the notes. Continue closing the gap until the notes occur in real time. Ideally, your slide should be reflective of the rhythm. As a test, make a video of yourself playing the excerpt or just moving the slide. Check to see if your slide motion is a clear rhythmic dictation. Watch the video again without the volume. Could someone who doesn't know what you're playing give a dictation of the rhythm?

3. Starting on the ascending scales 6 bars before rehearsal #4, begin with a dynamic that is COMFORTABLY SOFT. Don't start this excerpt at a dynamic that makes you nervous. Rather, play with a firm articulation at a dynamic that is soft but speaks easily. Think of making one long musical line from the beginning of the excerpt all the way to the second bar of #4. The intensity of articulation and dynamic should grow consistently from the beginning to this point, making the downbeat of the second bar of #4 feel like a true landing point. 

4. A major pitfall in this excerpt is stopping and starting the air. Often times, people struggle with keeping the air flowing consistently while moving the slide accurately. We use good air and move the slide sloppily, or we move the slide accurately and keep stopping the air. Work to do both good things at the same time! Otherwise, the music begins to sound choppy and the dotted quarter notes are cut off too early. There are a few exercises that I find helpful in resolving this issue from the second bar of #4 to the end... 1. Gliss the excerpt using a loose slide motion. 2. Gliss the excerpt using an accurate slide motion. 3. Flutter tongue the excerpt using an accurate slide motion, never allowing the sound to stop. 4. Play the excerpt playing all eighth note subdivisions. 5. Play as written. Try these exercises at slow tempos first to make sure you are doing everything correctly. If doing this for the entire length of the excerpt is too much, start by doing one scale pattern (3 bars) at a time, and then see if you can fuse 2 3-bar segments together.

5. Choose a dynamic that is comfortably loud. Try to avoid having a "swing for the fences" mentality with this excerpt. Never play a dynamic that is beyond your control. In a very generic sense, I view FF as being as loud as you can play with a beautiful sound. Avoid a sound that is raucous, blary and loses its center. If you're unsure about where you are dynamically, err on the softer side. It is preferable to play cleanly and in time with ultimate control than to err on the side of being over the top. Often times, playing too loud can compromise your ability to play in time and in tune. Begin your practice of this excerpt at a nice MF dynamic. Get your pitch, rhythm and articulation organized at this easy to control dynamic. Bump your dynamic up daily, but only as much as you can without compromising any fundamentals. Record yourself to make sure that you are playing with a full dynamic that doesn't sound the least bit out of control. 

6. In the last few bars, pay attention to the notes that are slurred. They are the only slurred notes that you have in this excerpt, so take advantage of the opportunity to show a contrast in articulation. Avoid clipping the second eighth note of the slur. Play full lenghth notes here, and use natural slurs as much as you can. 

7. Find a good recording to study. I would suggest listening to the entire opera Damnation of Faust. There's a ton of really great music, and there are more interesting trombone parts than just the Hungarian March. Check out the DVD recording we did a few years back at the MET. The production is really cool!


1 comment

  • Stephanie White

    Stephanie White

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    As you keep us updated from latest evens and news with share of posts on here this is very nice work buddy. For writing of best works you can use assignment help melbourne that is offered by registered online company.

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