Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Max F. Dalby
When the author commenced his Y~ster ' s program in the summer of 1959, it was decided that a lecture-recital project would be more desirable in his case than the alternative procedure of doing original research and writing a thesis . The writer has never regretted the decision, but it must be confessed he felt more than once that a thesis would have been the easier project. (Naturally, those who have written theses do not usually agree with this statement.) In fulfillment of all expectations, and despite the difficulties encountered, or rather because of them, the performance of the recital and the necessary preparation for it brought about richly meaningful and beneficial results. The author feels he has grown technically in all of the performing mediums engaged in and also realized significant development in his musicianship . The recital experience will undoubtedly be long regarded by this student as one of the most valuable phases of his continuing quest for real music maturity .
The original plan called for numbers to be performed on the French horn, tuba, and clarinet, and also for the performance of several vocal selections . However, it was decided in the committee meeting that it would be difficult to bring the clarinet solo up to the level of performance expected in a Master's recital--a level which could be expected in the other mediums. In addition, the inclusion of a clarinet solo would have greatly complicated the already difficult problem of adaptation which always exists in a mixed-medium recital. It was agreed that the final plan should include vocal solos , solos on the French horn, and a solo on the tuba .
There was some apprehension about a recital that included more than one performing medium, particularly since the mediums did not seem closely related at first glance. There are, however , certain factors which need to be considered.
First , i t must be remembered that, in addition to the obvious and vital aesthetic elements that should be apparent in any musical performance, this recital had the function of increasing the performer's teaching ability. The writer has had to work with choruses and bands in all of the three teaching positions he has held, so it is a matter of practical necessity that he be able to commit himself with credit both vocally and in his major area of the brass instruments.
Second , the difference between the two mediums is not as great as one might as first suppose. To be sure, singing has unique problems, notably those connected with the proper execution of the words, an aspect of performance that does not concern an instrumentalist at all. Also, a performer on a brass instrument has such problems as embouchure formation , fingering, and tonguing, activities that do not enter into singing .
But there are some marked similarities , such as breathing, tone production, and phrasing. Indeed, there may be a greater likeness between singing and playing a brass instrument than between the playing of a brass instrument and a woodwind instrument, although they also have certain similarities. To illustrate, music composed for brass instruments is often more like vocal music than woodwind literature. It is even possible to transcribe many vocal pieces for brass ensembles With surprising effectiveness. The great sixteenth-century choral composition by Jacob Handl , Q Admirabile Commercium (10), has been transcribed for two antiphonal brass choirs by Mac Stratford, a former music student at Utah State University. The writer has performed both versions, and they are both artistic and effective.
There is a t hird reason why a recital involving both singing and playing seemed advisable to this performer. Since his major instrument is the French horn, singing is vital to develop a keen sense of pitch, an absolute requisite of a good horn player. Indeed , this writer has never known a good horn player who could not sing reasonably well. A person who cannot sing has little hope of ever playing many correct notes on this most difficult instrument.
Of course it is necessary when performing a mixed- medium recital to make sure that no ludicrous contrasts occur to dampen the artistic effect . In this case, it was most important that an appropriate Sousaphone solo be chosen, because a cheap number (a common commodity in the Sousaphone literature) would sound even more ridiculous than usual when compared with the noble literature of the horn and voice. A bad number would also detract from the good numbers performed. The author feels that carefUl planning avoided serious problems of this nature.
As stated at the beginning, the presentation of this particular concert has truly been a memorable experience.
Baird, Arlan Randall, "Graduate Recital" (1964). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 552.
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