A natural horn.

This project is exclusively focused on the overtone series numbers 8 – 12 (click here if you need a refresher on OTS numbers).

The basis of control of the horn is establishing control of the overtone series. Our goal is to be able move up, down, or up and down any length of adjacent overtones at any speed (from very slow to very fast), first slurred, later tongued. Repeat through all horns (i.e. all fingering combinations on both sides of the horn). After we acquire some control of movement between adjacent overtones, we add the skill of leaping cleanly between nonadjacent tones, such as between OTS 6 and 8 (e.g G4 to C5).

One way to work on overtone mastery is to focus on different regions, say: OTS 2 to 5, 4 to 8, 8 to 10 and 8 to 12, and 12 to 16.

Start with the middle region, say 4 to 8, and work outwards. The lower regions make movement clumsy but are easy on the chops. The overtones of the higher regions are closer together but more strenuous to play.

After 4 to 8 (C4 to C5) is more or less under control (e.g. be able to play up and back from slow to very fast completely in control, moving evenly between tones, slurred, all horns), it’s a good idea to develop a finer sense of control by working in and around OTS 8 to 12, a region where the notes are diatonic steps apart.

There are many melodic shapes that will give us practice (i.e. control) of this kind of movement. Some examples are below:

It’s comfortable to start with C horn, whose OTS #8 is our G4. It’s right in the middle range, so we can practice this kind of control without undue fatigue. All of these examples shown for C horn can and should be then repeated successively for higher horns, e.g. Db horn (F:23), D horn (F:12), Eb horn (F:1), E horn (F:2), F horn (F:0), Gb horn (T:23), and so on up.

Next, extend your investigation of adjacent overtone motion in this region by extending the range from OTS 8 to 12. Examples:
Practice the major arpeggio in this region using 8 10 12 (same shape as 8 9 8 9  10 9 10 9 above; written out here for F horn):