KÖHLER STUDIES – MEMBERS

— SPACER —

New edition of Köhler Studies – Book 1 op. 33

Have lessons with Paul every day!

— SPACER —

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Although only a study, this elegant and lyrical masterpiece from Köhler would easily stand on it’s own as an interlude during, or even an encore at the end of a flute recital. There are also several technical issues and challenges within, which makes it engaging, constructive and musically stimulating to play.

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Within this highly lyrical study lie many traps for us all to fall into! Specifically written exercises (in every key) deal with articulation in passing notes, the gymnastics of downward intervals, slurring in groups of two notes and getting to grips with octave intervals.

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This technical firework of a study is all to do with agility in the fingers. Exercises (in every key) tackle fast moving arpeggio passages, swiftly moving intervals, chromatic scales and descending diminished intervals.

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No. 3 is a beautifully crafted little waltz that oozes charm and could comfortably be played in a concert, as a solo item. The exercises (in every key) cover repeated, single tongued notes, finger co-ordination, seriously wide intervals and slurring across the beat.

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This busy and energetic little study in A minor requires swift finger action and contains some quickly passing leaps from the top of the instrument to the bottom. Stamina is required! Exercises (in every key) cover intense work on semitone motifs to secure fingers, followed by triplets for evenness, descending patterns for lip control and support work and sequences, focusing on establishing a clearer and more intense tone in the bottom octave.

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Almost operatic in its style, this ‘heroic’ study is a treat to play. Although initially simple looking, it requires both style and energy. Focus in the exercises (in every key) concentrates on working on the pattern of two slurred and two articulated notes in every beat (with intervals), slurring across the beat in scales in thirds, fast finger work in small intervals, swift interval leaps in excess of an octave and quick arpeggio patterns from high to low over two beats (to work on gaining an instantly strong sound in the bottom octave).

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In this study, Köhler almost ‘throws’ the flautist around the flute with octave leaps upwards and arpeggios hurtling back down to the bottom of the instrument, all within a very short amount of time. Exercises (in every key) naturally work on those octaves to get some bounce in the sound, flowing arpeggios over more than two octaves for quality of sound across the range of the flute, some fiendish finger work outs and finally more octave work combined with arpeggios…not for the faint hearted!

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Scales are never at the top of a flute players list of things to practice (but of course should be!) and this busy study (with echoes of Taffanel and Gaubert EJ 2), irritatingly highlights why we struggle with these necessary, but annoying little evils. Exercises (in all keys) cover repeated digit actions to establish greater independence and smoothness in the fingers, the difficulties of a diminuendo at the end of a phrase when the final note is higher up, playing fast moving sequences in comfort and interval leaps of more than an octave.

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Marked ‘grazioso’, this is a charmingly romantic study that comes straight from the heart! It also demands some serious work on our low notes. Exercises (in all keys) focus on falling arpeggio motifs, to work on the concept of very gently ‘fanning’ the air stream (lower, or more downward for the bottom octave), fast alternating intervals of thirds and fourths and wide, briskly moving intervals.

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Fed up with your tongue acting like a hammer on the roof of your mouth? With its different styles of articulation, this little study, along with the exercises, should sort that problem out once and for all. Exercises (in all keys) include: creating agility in our single tonguing, working on fast semi tone passages for the fingers, fine-tuning mordents and through a series of sequences, making the tongue gently dance on the roof of your mouth.

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Mastering scales in thirds for annual exams at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama was a total nuisance for me. I hated them and couldn’t understand why we had to learn them! The technical exam usually took place in February and for four weeks before, most of us would be in a blind state of panic, as we attempted to get all our scales up to scratch.

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This busy, ‘fun fair’ ride of a study in A minor, is as much about looking forward, as it is about the complexities of playing the flute. With a constant and swiftly moving triplet theme, the performer has to negotiate plunging arpeggios, lengthy passages in the bottom octave and interval leaps with added articulation.

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This pretty but also busy study in E flat major, on first viewing, doesn’t look as though it contains that much to bother us with. The four bar phrases appear to be innocent enough and there is a repetitive theme to it, which makes us believe that it won’t take us long to master the contents.

 

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The secret to both working on and to performing Study No. 13 is in the instruction at the beginning in italics, a guisa di barcarola, meaning to be played in the manner of a boating song, sung by a (Venetian) gondolier….

 

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The more that I delve into the significant quantity of educational material that the great Italian flute player, Ernesto Köhler put together in his lifetime….

 

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A good study should provide us with the opportunity to improve on certain technical aspects of our flute playing….

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