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David Hite: Melodious and Progressive Studies, Book 1

Andante cantabile

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I have now used this book for about fourteen months, and I thought I should record some of my impressions of it. I have no formal music qualifications. The following comments should be read from the perspective of a learner.

The book was arranged by David Hite whose name will be familiar to many learners. It is published by Southern Music Company, San Antonio, Texas. It has 64 pages and costs US$13.50 when ordered from the US.

29 pages are taken up with 36 expressive studies by Friedrich Demnitz (1845-1890), going up to four flats and four sharps. Each major key is followed by its relative minor. The first eighteen studies are based on scales, the second eighteen on chords. I found that they vary greatly in difficulty. The first few are quite easy, but they then increase in complexity. The second eighteen seem to be more demanding overall, and they do require work.

The next ten pages are taken up with 9 melodic studies by Domenico Nocentini (1848-1924). To me these are the most attractive pieces in this book. They are all in easy key signatures and they will reward expressive playing. I would not describe as easy. I am only working on four of them at the moment.

Then follow 14 melodic etudes by Carl Baermann (1810-1885). These also are full of melodies, but not necessarily easy to play. They vary in length from one to two pages, and they go up to three flats and sharps.

Lastly there are four progressive studies by Heinrich Kaiser (1815-1888). The first can be played in all sorts ways, e.g. all legato, all staccato, etc. The second is a staccato exercise, and the third promotes legato playing. This one can be played in the manner of a bravura piece.

It should be fairly clear that this book is aimed at people interested in classical music. Hite says that “the materials are of medium difficulty”. This of course is an elastic term. They are definitely not for beginners. Many of the pieces use the complete range of the saxophone except for the top F#. The pinkies get a fair workout. This book is not used in the Australian (AMEB) syllabus, and I cannot offer any views on the how it fits into the grading system. But it seems me well worth a look by players able to cope with “materials of medium difficulty”.
 
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