Preluding for Wind Instrumentalists: Historical and Contemporary Applications
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The practice of extemporaneous preluding was ubiquitous in performances in the Baroque, Classical, and early Romantic eras. Preludes were improvised before beginning a piece of music. Performers preluded in order to have the opportunity to warm up on stage, tune their instruments, and establish the key and atmosphere of the piece they were about to perform. The style of the preludes were meant to match the style of the compositions; as compositional styles and techniques evolved, preludes evolved as well. Traveling virtuoso instrumentalists would champion preluding as a means to show off their improvisational and technical skills in an effort to appeal to a wide audience; preluding became etude-like and lacked emotional depth. The second half of the nineteenth century marked a gradual decline of preluding in performances. The formerly conjoined roles of performer and composer diverged into two separate entities. In the mid-to-late Romantic era, compositions started to become more substantial in quality, and performers of preluding were unwilling or unable to adjust to serve the music appropriately. In addition to the shallow nature of preluding, students were no longer being taught compositional and improvisational skills. References involving wind players preluding ceases at the end of the nineteenth century. This dissertation explores the practical and historical development of preluding throughout the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras as well as possible applications for preluding in modern performances.