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Topic: Question About Pedal Note on French Horn

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  1. #1

    Question About Pedal Note on French Horn

    I have a question for French Horn players. I have a single horn in my score for the musical theater. In my overture, the horn plays a short counterpoint line going down the harmonic series in its middle register (i.e. on the bass staff). Then I need it to jump down an octave to the third Bb below middle C, which I think is one of its pedal tones, for a single staccato note. I put a rest in, just before the note, to give the musician time to adjust (and for the horn to "speak", because I know it is slower than the other instruments). I know it is possible for the horn to make this sound, because it's in my sample library (Westgate). The question is whether it is playable (and whether the horn player will hate me for doing this).

    The quality of the pedal note, and to some extent, the pitch, don't need to be perfect. It will be doubled with the cello playing the note an octave above (spiccato) as well as the string bass (pizzicato) and the first note of fast harp arpeggio going up the scale in counterpoint (at the unison). The pedal tone's function is to add some weight and support to upper parts of the score (trumpets, playing the main theme in harmony, flute and piccolo trills and violins doubling the harp arpeggio above). It's a very full moment in a small orchestra, at the end of the overture, and all these parts make musical sense and flow from the lines preceding them. But I won't use the horn pedal note if it isn't playable or is likely to always be played so badly as to ruin the effect.

    I have a Bass Clarinet in the underscoring, which begins immediately after the overture, but it doesn't come in for several measures. I could use it as a substitute for the horn pedal note in the overture, but to my ears it sounds a little out of place to bring it in for just that one note and then not hear it again for a while. Not terrible, but not as good as using the French Horn, if it's playable down there.

    Thanks.

    Allegro Data Solutions

  2. #2

    Re: Question About Pedal Note on French Horn

    Hi, I am sorry, but I don't really have an answer for you. However, I wonder if you were to broach the same query over on the Composer's Forum (http://www.composeforums.com/) you might get the best answer.

    Worth a try, at any rate.
    Cheers,

    Kevin F..

    KM Frye- (SOCAN)
    Music Director- Four Seasons Musical Theatre- 2016

    Bella Vista Studios
    Canada

    GPO4, JABB3, Garritan World Inst, REAPER, Roland VS2480 DAW

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Question About Pedal Note on French Horn

    Is the note muted or bell in the air? If not, a reasonably accomplished horn player should be able to handle it with the understanding a "blat" sound may occasionally occur.

    Quote Originally Posted by ejr View Post
    I have a question for French Horn players. I have a single horn in my score for the musical theater. In my overture, the horn plays a short counterpoint line going down the harmonic series in its middle register (i.e. on the bass staff). Then I need it to jump down an octave to the third Bb below middle C, which I think is one of its pedal tones, for a single staccato note. I put a rest in, just before the note, to give the musician time to adjust (and for the horn to "speak", because I know it is slower than the other instruments). I know it is possible for the horn to make this sound, because it's in my sample library (Westgate). The question is whether it is playable (and whether the horn player will hate me for doing this).

    The quality of the pedal note, and to some extent, the pitch, don't need to be perfect. It will be doubled with the cello playing the note an octave above (spiccato) as well as the string bass (pizzicato) and the first note of fast harp arpeggio going up the scale in counterpoint (at the unison). The pedal tone's function is to add some weight and support to upper parts of the score (trumpets, playing the main theme in harmony, flute and piccolo trills and violins doubling the harp arpeggio above). It's a very full moment in a small orchestra, at the end of the overture, and all these parts make musical sense and flow from the lines preceding them. But I won't use the horn pedal note if it isn't playable or is likely to always be played so badly as to ruin the effect.

    I have a Bass Clarinet in the underscoring, which begins immediately after the overture, but it doesn't come in for several measures. I could use it as a substitute for the horn pedal note in the overture, but to my ears it sounds a little out of place to bring it in for just that one note and then not hear it again for a while. Not terrible, but not as good as using the French Horn, if it's playable down there.

    Thanks.

  4. #4

    Re: Question About Pedal Note on French Horn

    A "blat" sound would work here. It doesn't have to be muted, but I wouldn't want it too loud. It's just there to give a little more weight on the bottom end and do what horns do (i.e. blend) so the bottom jab doesn't sound only like piz strings (double bass, harp) + short cello note .

    Allegro Data Solutions

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