Archive for the ‘Oboe to English Horn’ Category

Step # 7 Upper Register Notes for the English Horn Beginner

The upper register notes on the English horn range from half-hole “Eb” to  high “Eb” for the English horn beginner.  The notes between half-hole “Eb” and high “Ab”  are easier to consistently sound full and rich.  However, starting with high “A” using the second octave key the notes begin to sound thinner as you play higher pitches up to high “Eb.”  This is because there are less finger depressed and less of the English horn body vibrating.  One has to compensate by using more air speed directed upward as if you are singing in a falsetto voice, good diaphragm support at the bottom of your lungs supporting faster air speed,  a firmer top lip. and opening up your embouchure as if you were yawning with both lips on the reed.

# 1

Start on half-hole “Eb” and play up the “Eb” scale to high “Bb” remembering that you are using a  half-hole fingering on “Eb” followed by the first octave key on forked “F,” “G,” and “Ab.”  The final note of the pattern is high “Bb” using the second octave key. Play this five-note scale pattern slurred with long tones trying to keep the high Bb as full and rich sounding as the half-hole “Bb.”  Follow the same pattern by tonguing each note in whole, half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth note patterns.  There should be good connections between the notes when slurring and an ease of tonguing when playing all rhythm patterns.  Finally, play a chromatic scale between half-hole “Eb” and high “Bb” by first slurring and then tonguing long and short rhythmic patterns

# 2

Starting on high “Bb” we will play up the “Bb” scale  tonguing each note to high “Eb.” High “D” is fingered as a half-hole “G” with no octave keys and the right pinky finger depressing the low “C” key for good intonation.  High “Eb” is the same fingering as high “D” plus the “Ab” key depressed by your left pinky.  As you tongue the notes in the higher register, you need to increase your air speed and breath support upward towards your sinus area as if you were singing in a falsetto voice. Never push your air downward as if you were singing in your lower voice.

# 3

If you are struggling with high “D” and high “Eb” remember to half-hole these notes and take a little more reed into your mouth until these two high notes “pop out” in your upper register.  Practice going up the scale tonguing all notes from high “Bb” to high “Eb” and going down the scale from high “Eb” to high “Bb.”  Always start with whole notes and progress to faster rhythmic patterns as you are comfortable playing all notes accurately.

# 4

Tonguing octave exercises  in half notes are very helpful in sounding pitches in the upper register.   Start on low “Eb” and tongue one octave higher to half-hole “Eb.”  Follow up the scale in octaves ending with half-hole high “Eb.”  This will help your tone as the lower notes will always be easier to obtain a full rich English horn sound, and this octave patter will help you intonation that tends to be sharper starting on high “C,” “D,” and “Eb.”


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