How do I stop doing the polka

Bohemian with a heart: how do you play polka, march and waltz?

TrumpetScout has been actively involved in traditional brass music for around two years. Listening is the best school, but a reference work that familiarizes you with the basics would not be wrong, especially at the beginning. He just happened to get his hands on one of these. The title: “Bohemian with a heart”.

Polkas and marches - that's what the TrumpetScout hated in his youth in the band. There's nothing nice to talk about here. But he never used to eat tomatoes either. Fortunately, not everything stays as it was - today a polka can be on the music stand. It is of course most beautiful when it is played properly. But what does that mean, apart from the fact that you hit the right notes, have a good intonation and blow technically clean?

If you have the opportunity to play in good bands and have informative colleagues who share their experience with you, the phrasing will mostly be - to speak with a song title - From friend to friend conveyed. Those who tend to rummage through the traditional part of the music folder among uninterested or unsuspecting musicians (that was the case with TrumpetScout 25 years ago!), The only way left is to listen carefully to very good recordings. Often there is only astonishment and little knowledge, because extracting rules is not that easy. “They just sound good!” In addition, some experts play like this and others do it differently.

Polka, march and Co. - how do you actually play it now?

With his questions during rehearsals, TrumpetScout often saw question marks on the faces of fellow musicians. Some things were just played the way you heard them from childhood, but sometimes the mundane won the upper hand and in basically the same place every rule was perdu. In short: a manual has seldom been so longed for! The TrumpetScout got hold of it quite unexpectedly after a colleague pointed out a booklet that is dedicated to precisely this topic in 'how to' fashion: the work is called “Bohemian with a Heart” and is available to interested musicians or conductors everything at hand you need to know for polkas, marches and waltzes. The authors, Holger Mück and Alexander Pfluger, can be trusted - they are definitely at home in this genre.

From the line-up to phrasing to different styles

The book is of course not only aimed at trumpeters and flugelhorn players, but also at all instrumentalists, conductors and singers, and aims to deal with all aspects of traditional (Central European) brass music. That is why the first pages are devoted to the various forms of instrumentation and here also introduces the distinction between 'Bohemian' and 'Moravian'.


It is also about the roles of the individual instruments in the entire ensemble and how they are played. The classic melody instruments flugelhorn and tenor horn or baritone have a prominent task that requires the implementation of a certain phrasing - this is no different than in swing music. And this is exactly where it gets interesting for the TrumpetScout. Mück and Pfluger not only write about the build-up and release of tension in one phrase, they also explain and make it unmistakably clear how long the important note values ​​eighth and fourths - in contrast to classical music - are really to be played and how they have to sound . Finally, just like in jazz, phrasing marks are often dispensed with, as there is a consensus among specialists about how something should be played.

In the same way, rhythmic peculiarities are dealt with, such as the delayed look-up or - let's call it that - the 'laid back signal'.


Of course, the task of the obligatory trumpet, quasi the lonely signal blower, is discussed - and warned against taking the role too seriously and pushing yourself too much into the limelight at the expense of the melody: "The obligee part should always be the 1st and 2nd. Subordinate the flugelhorn part. "And" The trumpeter should set accents carefully and sparingly during a concert program with high final signals and tones! "

Finally, the small introductory and reference work deals with different styles and types of composition: What makes the Bohemian polka, what is the Moravian and what is the Egerland polka? How is a march to be played and how is a waltz?

For whom is “Bohemian with a Heart” worthwhile?

Anyone who has no idea how to play polka and march properly is well served with this book. But even those who have already dealt with the music and - like the TrumpetScout - still have no reliable plan, will find the basics and thus security here, especially with the phrasing. But even long-time wind musicians who like to question whether everything is as correct as it has always been done can get absolution or confirm their doubts. And last but not least: conductors and teachers whose core competence is not the Egerland sound and the Bohemian-Moravian repertoire, “Bohemian with Heart” provides the necessary tools to lay the foundation for adequate music-making.

This article is also not an advertisement

This article is also not an advertisement! TrumpetScout does not make any paid content and is not involved in the sale of the instruments, gadgets or this book discussed. TrumpetScout lives on your donation. So it would be nice if you could support the paperwork:

Anyone who reads the theory in this clear volume will certainly perceive differently in the future what the grandees of the genre from Mosch to Mück and Hutter have recorded. Reading is therefore an extremely useful addition to listening - but it’s certainly not possible without it.

Negative criticism: The drawings are a little too playful for TrumpetScout. But that's a matter of taste. Positive criticism: The basics are compressed in such a way that you quickly get the feeling that you know what is important. Then nothing stands in the way of implementation!

"Böhmisch mit Herz" is available in Holger Mück's webshop and at many other online sales outlets.