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  1. Backstage at the Minnesota Orchestra

    Once again I had the opportunity to perform with the Minnesota Orchestra this week. I'll discuss more about the musical side in a future post, but I noticed a few interesting bits of trivia while I was there.

    First, as an electronics hobbyist (in my past), I found this really unusual electronic tuner for instruments. It is of the type that sounds one of 12 tones for the player to match. It appears to have a fine-tuning control.

    The next interesting ...
  2. Instrumental Pop Songs?

    Have you heard any top 20 pop songs that were all instrumental? Have you noticed that many popular songs don't even use instrumental interludes? There is an interesting article on Slate discussing and documenting this:

    Words, Words, Words

  3. Music by the Decimal System

    It's pet peeve time! I have played a lot of band music and some orchestra music where the rehearsal numbers are placed every 10 bars. That's logical in one way and it is certainly easy for computers to support, but it does not look right to musicians. That type of system means that many natural phrase points and theme changes occur in the middle of a span of rests.

    I used to copy music by hand and even took a course from a music calligraphy expert. In later years I started using ...
  4. Staff of Car Talk

    OK, this is WAY off the tuba-euphonium topic, but a person needs to laugh now and then. If you ever listen to the NPR show Car Talk and heard the end credits, you may have already gotten a chuckle from the clever names they come up with for their staff. A few examples are:

    Dyslexic Rock and Roll Music Critic: Roland Rock

    Elvis Impersonator: Amal Shookup

    Emergency Preparedness Director: Ron Lykell

    Creative Director: Drew A. Blank

  5. Aaron Tindall Website Now Online

    There is a new tuba/euphonium site online now, made for the tuba and euphonium artist Aaron Tindall. Aaron is currently a Doctoral student in Tuba Performance at Indiana University. His site is early in its evolution, but there is already some great content in the audio section. Here is a list of the MP3 files available for playing:

    John Stevens: Salve Venere, Salve Marte for Solo Tuba (tuba)Steven Daverson: Mangled Snarl [World Premiere, RNCM Commission] (euphonium)Martin Ellerby: ...
  6. Music Appreciation 101, part 7: The Valve Trombone

    I have always been fascinated with the valve trombone. My first instrument was cornet, then I changed to euphonium. It was several years later that I learned to play trombone. Obviously, learning to change pitch with the slide instead of valves was a challenge. The slide certainly gives one access to some nice effects, but it is darned hard to play a chromatic scale! Well, eventually I toughed it out and learned how to play trombone.

    During the All State festival one year we went ...
  7. Music Appreciation 101, part 6: A Glass Euphonium?

    Readers of this blog certainly have a clear idea what a euphonium is. Granted there is some confusion about the difference between euphonium and baritone, but our conceptions are pretty much in the same neighborhood.

    However, there is an instrument that predates the baritone/euphonium by about 50-100 years. It was invented by Ernst Chladni and consisted of glass tubes of different lengths. It operated on the same principal that causes crystal glasses to ring when someone rubs ...
  8. Knowing When to Breathe and When Not To Breathe

    Wind players must always deal with the issue of breathing. Actually, all musicians must breathe in order to stay alive, but for wind players and singers our breathing must be fit around the music. This is fairly easy in many solos in quite difficult in others.

    A common tendency with low brass players is to take too many breaths because we are trained to take in air whenever we have the chance. While this is good practice, one has to be careful not to disrupt the musical flow while ...
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