Lecture for the 9th International Horn Workshop
The title of this little talk can perhaps be taken as a provocation; isn't a beautiful horn tone exactly what we are all striving for? Yet I ask this question because I am convinced that the tone we produce is the most unimportant aspect of getting the best result, and it must not be the focus of our problems and concentration.
How often don't we say: "Oh, what an ugly Sound he or she has"? Do we really mean what we say? Couldn't there be something else displeasing us? Try to analyze: perhaps he or she has a hard or clumsy attack? Does he end a phrase heavily? Or does he push every note like a "wah-wah?" Or there could be something else I haven't mentioned here. Anyway, if it is any of these characteristics or any other kind of playing behavior, it has nothing to do with the tone; it is the treatment of the tone.
If the tone ideal as such is an important.question, my highest ideal as a horn player wouldn't be Dennis Brain. To my taste he didn't have an especially charming sound, certainly not the so-called "romantic" horn sound. A Iess gifted horn player wouldn't have had such tremendous success with that particular sound. Now then, what is the difference between a master and the less brilliant star? Of course, in the case of Brain, the musicality: the "agogik"(1) and phrasing. That's an important part of the treatment of the tone. But even more important elements of what we are talking about here are:
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