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I have inside info from somebody involved in that recording: the trumpeter was pretty well wiped out on the day of the session, and had to take it easy on his chops. This is not an easy piece to do that in. But I have another recording of that same Viviani piece that is a lot more equipollent, and I chose not to put it up. It makes this one sound quite flexible and fresh by comparison. Anybody have a recording of this piece on natural tpt Neil Halliday wrote August 9, : Bradley Lehman wrote: "In expressivity and control and musicality, how do these performances stack up against one another" 1.

I think all the samples demonstrate the lovely expressive capabilities of modern brass. The organ in sample 1 is brighter than that in sample 2, and it is difficult to hear the inner part s on the organ in sample 2. The combination of the chosen organ registration and the timbre of the fugel horn, in 3, is wonderful - a recording triumph! BTW, who is the composer of this lovely music for fugel horn and organ, with the strange title? The balance between the organ and trumpet is particularly pleasing in the final section of sample 4 Viviani.

Rather than drawing futher conclusions in terms of the "gestural" qualities of the four performances in these examples they are all fine, in my opinion , I would like now to go the the substance of Bob's "trumpet challenge", ie, a comparison of the expressive capabilties of period and modern trumpets, and report on my impressions, on hearing Gardiner's and Rilling's recordings of BWV The modern trumpet wins incontrovertibly in the example of these two recordings!

Hannes Laubin, with Rilling, is revelling in his ability to bring the desired expression to his part, while Gardiner's trumpeter appears to be struggling with splattered and cracked notes in many instances. There is also a "breathy" characteristic to the trumpet sound in the middle to lower register, which detracts from the brightness of the aria, IMO.

Also, Laubin is able to play the "melisma" runs in the finale, which imitate the soprano Auger , more clearly and evenly. On the subject of "gesturalism", there is a clear difference in these performances; the 4th movement of this same cantata, from Gardiner, illustrates the failings of excess in this regard. Here we have concerto-like writing for 2 solo violins remininiscent of the famous Double Concerto in D minor , but with Gardiner, one violin seems to predominate over the other, and the predictable emphasis given to certain nin a phrase, from this dominant violin, over and over again, becomes tiresone.

In contrast, Rilling gives equal importance to both violin parts and their elements , and we are treated to a wonderful dance-like intertwining of the two lovely, and clearly heard, violin lines.

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Just a thought, Bob. Is this music in fact so far removed from our own time that the modern trumpet begins to sound anachronistic? I'm not sure.


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I would place this music firmly in the middle ages; Monteverdi on, I would claim as part of the "modern" era, looking at history from the long term viewpoint, and this is why there exist some wonderful modern instrument performances of his work, IMO. But just takng it out of context, I find this performance so thrilling, so elegantly done, that I wanted to share it with the list. Theoretical discussion is no substitute for head-to-head comparison, as Neil's reaction demonstrates.

That's the one I'd characterize as especially equipollent, to a fault I don't hear much musical line from him. It seems that his even delivery is his goal. Yes, each note has a sharper attack than with the first player: but all those attacks and decrescendi are the same, heard next to one another.

Ditto for his organist, who brings out no asymmetric shapes anywhere in the piece. You and I do agree on which performance we enjoy more, and for similar reasons! If you thought the other recording of the Viviani was "well on the equipollent side," get a load of this one. Marvelous tone, clarity, and control Listening to it I wish to hear more characterful shape to the phrases, and less predictability. In his second dance he's more gestural. It sounds more graceful, natural, vocal. I looked up the text; see below. According to the organist's notes, the composer took a "Baroque" approach to the composition.

He doesn't write any tempo or dynamics or articulation into his scores but leaves it up to the taste of the performers. Here he gave them the four-part vocal score and mentioned that the piece can cause weeping, and they should try to play it that way. He didn't specify instruments but agreed that Fluegelhorn is fine, he'd liked what this player had done in other music.

He invited the performers to write or improvise their own parts.

He didn't want to limit the performers' imagination by telling them exactly what to play or not to play. Only, if it induces tears it's right; if it doesn't, it isn't. It doesn't sound like Baroque music stylistically, but seems to have the same goals of rhetoric and Affekt It's kind of a dramatic scene that unfolds with the text, getting more and more personal as the "you are there" imagined experience and emotions come into focus.

The soul and the body about to come apart? Nice gesture. And the swirl on "cloud. Jesus questioning his faith in that dying moment? Is the steady organ the world going on as usual, as background; maybe the people whose emotions are still contained?

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Who knows what it signifies here, if anything. But musically, that's another Baroque technique: the melody can only be free if the accompaniment stays steady and dependable, ignoring it, marking the regular flow of time so the soloist's fluid presentation of time stands out. I wish we'd hear more of this technique in Bach cantata solo arias!


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  5. Soloists could be a lot looser with their time than they see on the page. Are they afraid to because it's the sacrosanct Great Composer Bach? Perotin as a proto-minimalist! Warning, it's pretty funny. It's so high I can't figure out what it is. Overall, sounds like either Ferguson goofing around, or somebody doing same on a good synthesizer Arjen van Gijssell wrote August 24, : [To Robert Sherman] My guess is that they used a garden-hose. Robert Sherman wrote August 24, : [To Arjen van Gijssell] It is terrible, unless you regarded it as a party trick.

    Most likely, that's what it's intended to be. Assuming this is a real player and not a sythesizer, the guy does have a phenomenal top range, going well over an octave above any thing JSB ever wrote, and staying up there for an amazingly long time. There is a market for trumpeters who specialize in that, although certainly not in the baroque world Peter Bright wrote August 24, : [To Robert Sherman] The greatest exponent being Cat Anderson of course Baroque natural trumpets vs.

    The focus of the Trumpet Challenge was, "Which is better for the Bach Baroque music, a Baroque natural trumpet or a modern piccolo trumpet? In order to play an approximate diatonic scale in the upper reaches of the treble clef and above, its fundamental frequency is an octave below that of a modern valved D trumpet, and approximately 2 octaves below the fundamental pitch of a piccolo trumpet.

    Thus the Baroque trumpet is approximately twice the length of a modern D trumpet and almost four times the length of a piccolo trumpet. Because of its lower fundamental frequency, the resonances of the Baroque trumpet are spaced a factor of 2 closer together than a modern D trumpet, and roughly a factor of four closer than a piccolo trumpet. As a result, it is easy to hit the wrong resonance wrong note when playing above the treble clef, i. It is a factor of 2 easier to hit the right note with a modern D trumpet with valves.

    source

    ABRSM Trumpet, Cornet & Flugelhorn – Grade 3 Syllabus

    But even a modern, valved, D trumpet runs out of resonant efficiency in the octave above the treble clef. The piccolo trumpet was invented to improve the resonant efficiency in that octave above the treble clef. Because of the improved resonant efficiency and the wider spacing of the resonances, the piccolo trumpet is easier to play with certainty for attacking and hitting the right note.

    He makes the lip trills sound as if he had the benefit of valves. He bends the notes with his lip tension to achieve excellent intonation. However, you will notice a few notes where the attack is not clear, like you often hear with a French Horn. The Baroque Trumpet has a long length similar to a French Horn, and the close resonances in the octave above the treble clef make both instruments treacherous for hitting the right note with a clean attack.

    Keep in mind that Niklas Ekland is a highly skilled player of the Baroque trumpet. He began practicing the instrument as a very young child. There are few performers who could match the quality of his performance. That's why the piccolo trumpet is important today. It allows many more trumpeters to play the difficult clarino Baroque music with good intonation, no missed notes, a clear attack to each note, clean trills using valves , and accuracy with other ornimentations.

    There must have been few trumpeters in Bach's era who could muster a performance with as much certainty on a Baroque trumpet as can be routinely achieved today on a piccolo trumpet. What about the tone quality? Consequently, a Baroque D trumpet would be expected to have a much thicker tone. Can You hear the difference? You can hear a thicker tone with the Baroque trumpet in the lower range, but in the upper clarino range they all sound similarly thin.

    This is somewhat surprising in light of the measurements of Arthur H.

    Pieces for 5 Trumpets

    The bottom line is that a piccolo trumpet can sound as good in the Baroque music of Bach, and is much easier to play accurately than a Baroque D trumpet. Robert Sherman wrote October 6, : [To Dale Gedcke] Dale's technical explanation of the difference between the natural trumpet and the piccolo trumpet is remarkably detailed and accurate.

    I would just add a few points to it: Because of its long tube and small bore, the natural trumpet has higher blowing resistance. This has an upside and a downside. The upside is that endurance is easier to get. The downside is that dynamic range extreme loud to extreme soft is less.

    Generally, trumpeters work very hard to build up their strength so that they can play large bore instruments with sufficient endurance. Use of a natural trumpet basically says "don't bother so much with that. You will have good endurance easily but you can't get large dynamic range no matter what you do.


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    But in fact it would be impossible on a natural trumpet. Regarding tone quality, it's true that as you get into the upper register, all instruments tend to sound more alike. Still, the better piccolo trumpet players are able to get a richer, more heroic sound than the best natural trumpet players.