Classes are going well

I haven’t had time to post — or at least, when I have had
time, I”ve been tired. When there isn’t a class or a meal or
dancing or a dropin session, it feels like time for bed.

But on Wednesday, they take a much-needed break from the
concerts and the evening is pretty free, so I decided to catch you
up on what’s happening.

Cornetto Class with Doug Kirk

We did more playing the first day than we did all week when I
took the class 4 years ago. A lot of the advice I’ve gotten is
goingn to be long-term beneficial rather than making me sound
better instantly, but I feel like this class is a success.

I was initially a little disappointed that I ended up playing
serpent in the ensembles instead of cornetto, but it really does
make for better ensembles to have lots of sizes. The piece we’ll
probably play on the student concert is a six part piece with me
on serpent, two tenor cornettos, one alto cornetto (in F) and two
regular cornettos on top. I was having to work very hard to get
the low F’s centered and in tune, and then today Doug said, “I
wonder if this piece would sound better a step up.” And it did.
Apparently the sixteenth century people were always doing that —
if they were playing an instrument that liked sharps better than
flats, they transposed it.


This year there are nine people in the loud wind section — two
cornettos, 2 sackbuts (alto and tenor), 1 tenor and 2 bass
dulcians, me on serpent, and a guy who switches between tenor
serpent and tenor dulcian. I think it’s going to be fun.

The conductor made parts for the major piece on the program
from the score with partify, and didn’t give the parts other than
the top line the measure numbers, but keeps telling people what
measure number he wants to start on. And I can’t always follow
his beat on mensuration chages. But he picked good music and is
enthusiastic about performing it with a cast of thousands.

Afternoon: Gombert and others with Marilyn Boenau and
Pervernage with Dan Stillman

This year, there weren’t any famous brass players on the
faculty, but there is a famous dulcian player, and the
not-so-famous dulcian players have been recruiting new people
faster than the brass or other reeds have. So although they
didn’t want me in any of the advanced loud wind classes, they have
classes for the less-experienced dulcian players that don’t mind
me playing with them.

I was expecting to mostly play cornetto, since I can play
cornetto a bit higher than anyone plays dulcian. But it turns out
they like the serpent, too.

Marilyn even let me play the tenor serpent on a top line that
would have been low on the cornetto, but was the right kind of
soaring on theh tenor serpent. It turns out I sound pretty good
if I hear good pitches to play with and am warmed up on

Dan has been experimenting. Monday, I played cornetto higher
than the dulcians could play. Then yesterday, he had me play
serpent lower for longer than he’d expect a dulcian to play. It
turned out not to be such a good idea on the serpent, either. But
it was educational.

Today he found a 7 part piece with a top line he’s playing on
alto dulcian, and a bottom line that’s fine for a bass dulcian.
So he has me playing a baritone line. 7 parts in that range is
pretty close harmony, and sometimes sounds pretty wierd, with the
less experienced dulcian players playing notes their fingers or
their reeds don’t know what to do with. But it’s a good class of
people working really hard at something they really want to do.

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