null Skip to main content

Kuhn, Harald - Diatonics V2

(No reviews yet) Write a Review
Kuhn Diatonics V2
Gift wrapping:
Options available
Adding to cart… The item has been added

Kuhn, Harald

Diatonics Band 2 (Volume 2) - a new approach to scale practice


This collection of exercises allows brass players
of every level to improve their technical skills in a
continuous and systematic approach. Beginners
and professionals alike will find material that suits
their current abilities, and in this way will be able
to achieve more routine and certainty in dealing
with the basic elements of our music.
However, the Diatonic Cosmos is not tailored to
solve fundamental brass playing problems, such
as poor endurance, insufficient range or unsatisfying
tone quality.
If you have difficulties with one or more of these
issues then let me refer you to Malte Burbas
method (Brass Master Class, published by
Schott). There you will find strategies with which
every brass player can effectively improve his or
her playing. You will only be able to truly and fully
benefit from the exercises in the 4 volumes of the
Diatonic Cosmos when your tone production on
the instrument works in a satisfying manner!
The purpose of all of this
Almost every piece of music is based on diatonic
scales and their chords. Even when we
improvise, we usually use these scales, also
known as church modes, or modes. Every brass
player who is serious about music will therefore
practice these scales diligently. In doing so, two
problems keep coming up:
The scales have been practiced well, but unfortunately
the notes of the piece we want to play
are arranged differently. There are leaps, arpeggios
and unfamiliar turns.
As brass players, we have to repeat our courses
of movement and fingerings very often so that
these can become a part of our subconscious
repertoire of movements. Unfortunately our
involved muscles tire out and become fatigued
too quickly!
It would therefore be desirable to have exercises
that repeat different interval orders as often as
possible. At the same time, they should stay in
a comfortable range and tessitura without being
too long, so that many repetitions are possible
flawlessly and effortlessly. One trick to achieve
are so-called permutations. Every time you
play the exercise, you begin one beat later and
then add the missing part of the exercise at the
end. In addition, each scale is only played
partially, for example from the tonic up to the
5th degree, or down to the 4 th degree.
The structure of the volumes
Volume 1 contains 27 different exercises that
are based on five subsequent pitches and are
notated in the ionian, mixolydian and dorian
modes. The structures built around these five
pitches gradually become more difficult. Hence
the level of difficulty increases slowly and continuously.
Part E corresponds to part A, only that
here the notes on every beat are repeated as
triplets or sixteenth notes. The maximum range
of the exercises is a ninth, the biggest interval
between two notes being a fifth.
This group of exercises is then repeated beginning
from three more tonics (transposed). The
other 8 tonics are dealt with in volumes 2 and 3,
without the exercises changing. Volume 4 has 4
parts which include more difficult exercises. The
more difficult exercises are notated as oneliners
in the ionian mode. You should be able
to independently transpose and play the exercises
as permutations at this stage.
How to practice?
Keep in mind the 4 Ss:
Safe range: always practice in the range that
works best!
Soft dynamic: practice as loud as necessary and
as soft as possible. When practicing softly, the
chance of bad sound quality and side noises is
higher. Therefore you should only reduce the
dynamics so far that you can still play in a satisfying
and uninterrupted way.
Slow tempo: If you practice slowly, you have
much better chances to develop new courses of
motion in a lasting and flawless manner and
incorporate them in your subconscious repertoire
of movements.
Slurred articulation: Slurring notes requires a
much better coordination of the exhalation
muscles (breath support not dependent on
the range), vocal cords, tongue and fingers,
especially slow legato/slurred playing (except
for part E which deals with tone repetitions,
meaning tonguing).
If youve mastered one of the exercises with the
4 Ss, then play it tenuto meaning a real soft
articulation and as little space between the notes
as possible. When that works, too, you can
gradually increase the tempo.
The exercises of parts A and B are notated
as permutations. In parts C to E only exercise
number 7 on page 97 of volume 1 has been
notated as an example as such. Nevertheless,
all other exercises should also be practiced in
this way.
I limited myself to the ionic, mixolydian and
dorian modes. That means that every exercise
also includes the key signatures of the next two
keys, descending in the circle of fifths. Of course
you should also practice the exercises in more
distant keys. Keep in mind that the tonic should
not be changed (tip: there are always 7 scales
that share one note).
The more precise and exact you execute the
exercises in parts A and B, the more successful
you will be with the more difficult exercises of
the following parts.
Ideally, beginning players should practice one
exercise from parts A and B. This exercise
should be played from different tonics and with
2-3 different key signatures. The exercises of the
following parts can be added time by time. Part
E can be practiced with single tonguing as well
as multiple tonguing. If in doubt: its better to
play fewer exercises and to play these thoroughly
and every day!