euphonium harmonic skips

03Sep08

The high school had afternoon sectionals today. Tuesdays are for brass. I decided it would be fun and probably smart to pull out a euphonium and noodle along as best I could. I’m not a low brass player by any means, but I can get a decent tone on euphonium when i need to. The instrument I was using was in pretty good condition, luckily. However, I found a passage where I alternate between 5th line Ab and third line Db. These notes aren’t in the same harmonic, so it took a bit of a stretch to get the Db to speak easily.

I was going to search for some online documents that spoke to the issue of keeping a consistent sound through multiple harmonic series, but I didn’t find much of one. I did, however, find a wonderful resource about how the harmonic series works in each brass instrument. Beyond this resource, the only thing I have to go on is my own experience, which states that keeping a strong, consistent air column and moving your lips to adjust to the different harmonics (Ab if 4th harmonic, Db is third harmonic and slightly sharp).

I did okay. I think I might have gotten that skip on more than one occasion. In any case, it was a good excuse to go look up some harmonics, because, being a saxophonist, harmonics escape me.

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