A Legendary Collaboration


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A Legendary collaborationby Lois Bliss Herbine 'entrai in the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Leopold Stokowski in the 1930s and 1940s sat 'William Kincaid, the pre-eminent principal flutist, and Marcel Tahuteau, the much-respected principal oboist. They, along with the other principal wind players in the orchestra, played in a style as directed by Stokowskicolorful, expressive, and imaginatively musical. This was the golden era of the Philadelphia Orchestra, considered one of the finest orchestras in the world. All of these players were the founding teachers of their respective instruments at the Curtis Institute of Music, which opened its doors in 1924. They are considered the founders of the "American School of Woodwinds," revolutionizing the playing and instruction of their instruments. They set standards by which orchestra players are still judged. The methodology of Kincaid and Tiihuteau in particular also influenced the performances of other woodwind players, as well as string, brass, and piano players. John Krell studied flute with Kincaid at Curtis and attended wind ensemble classes led by Tabuteau from 1933 to 1941. His book, Kincaidiana, is a compilation of notes taken by him during his years at Curtis. An eventual colleague in the orchestra, he was a member of Kincaid's flute section and would look to both Kincaid and Tabuteau for advice. He became a famous player in his own right as piccoloist for the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1952 to 1981.


Krell passed on his knowledge of the methodology of Kincaid and Tahuteau through his book, his performance, and his teachings. 'I'his article introduces and explains the key concepts in Krell's book with the use of a graded system developed by the author, a former student of Krell's.

Musical LinesKincaid noted three basic concepts inherent in the formation of a musical line: first. Music is made up of musical ideas, called phrases, that can stand on their own or in comhinalion with others. Second, each phrase has direction to a peak or high point dictated by rhythm and hy harmony. Third, as the name implies, music is on a line, which has direction and is always in motion. To create a musical line one must first have an understanding of the underlying chord progressions. The most basic is the dominant to tonic chord progression (V to 1). The dominant resolves to the tonic; therefore the V chord is considered the lifting chord and the I chord is the resolution. Just as things in nature are cyclicday into night into day, the ebb and flow of the tideso must music have lift and resolution. This was a key element in 'lahuteau's teaching example of "up and down impulses," also known as "arsisthesis" or the "lifting and lowering of the foot."

Ex.1. "Hot Cross Buns"

"Kincaid and Tabuteau were sort of the centerpiece of the orchestra. The musical ideas of these two men overlapped and supplemented each other to a remarkable degree."John KrellThe Flutist Quarterly Winlcr 2006

In the simple tune, "Hot Cross Buns," the phrase in measures eight and nine has a V~I progression, which harmonically implifs that ihe resolution should be on the word "hot." Ihcretore, musical impetus through the direction of the air moves to this point in the phrase. So if the word "hot" is on the resolving tonic chord, then, for continuity, we should phrase the entire example in the same manner.

Ex. 3. Simple Gifts