Over the years of my teaching experience, the most common problem I have found in my students is an inability to play rhythms correctly. Long ago, it occurred to me that, if rhythmic problems were studied in a systematic way, this situation would not exist. These rhythmic studies were written over a period of time as separate exercises designed to concentrate on specific problems; virtually every study represents a problem from an actual piece of music. Now, with a few basic studies added to make it more complete, this work is offered in an effort to fill the need for systematic rhythmic study.
Perhaps the most basic premise of these studies is that the student must develop a consciousness of the rhythmic breakdown of the beat into a duple or triple subdivision. To make this possible, many of the studies were written in a manner to make these subdivisions easily visualized. Once this has been achieved, the rhythmic ideas may be written in a conventional manner or even in a manner to make the problem more obscure.
Since the idea is to focus on one basic problem at a time, an effort has been made to eliminate, as far as possible, difficulties in range or key. Certain instruments will obviously need to play the studies 8va so that the material will lie well in terms of range.
Dr. Carlyle Manous is Professor of Horn and Director of Bands at Walla Walla College in College Place, Washington.