Pairing orchestral excerpts and etudes: A new approach to tuba audition preparation

Date

2022-05

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Abstract

This study analyzes the musical challenges presented in the top twenty most commonly appearing orchestral works on 92 professional auditions in the United States from 1979 to 2022. All of the orchestral works from all 92 auditions were put into a table, then sorted by highest rate of frequency on audition lists. For the twenty works that appeared most commonly, the cut-off percentage was greater than 25%. After this analysis, etudes from the top six etude books used at 21 of the 74 Power Five universities and conservatories in the United States, as well as Ben McMillan’s 15 Orchestral Etudes for Contrabass Tuba, are paired with each work. All of the etude books listed on either undergraduate audition requirements or studio syllabi were put into a table, then sorted by frequency for this process as well. For the etude books, the cut-off percentage was greater than 23%. The pairing of orchestral works with etudes was based on the similarity of technical and musical challenges in both the orchestral work and the etude. Some orchestral works had several options, while others did not have any appropriate options. The etudes listed for each orchestral work in this study are not comprehensive, but merely intended as supplemental material to assist in preparation of the orchestral work. The study found that pairing orchestral works with etudes is a valuable resource in addressing the musical and technical demands of the orchestral repertoire. However, a deficiency exists in the supplemental material for bass tuba, which is nearly non-existent. There is a clear need for materials that can help the aspiring professional musician address the musical and technical demands of orchestral bass tuba repertoire.

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Keywords

Excerpt, Etude, Audition, Tuba, Orchestral Excerpt

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