Use of Trombones in Orchestra

ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Thu May 05, 2016 12:14 pm

On this particular topic (David Concerto), maybe it is worth summarizing what we do know :
-The title page reads ''Pour trombone basse avec accompagnement de grand orchestre'';
-The solo part merely reads ''Trombone principale'' - it is in bass clef;
-The three orchestral parts are labeled Alto, Tenore and Basso (with alto, tenor and bass clefs);

From this, we can safely say that it was written for ''bass trombone''. Now the question is, what would be considered a bass trombone for Queisser? No easy answer there

However :

-Sattler introduced the Quartventil (thus inventing the Tenorbaßposaune) only 2 years later, and claims it could replace the quart-/quintposaune completely. We know Queisser tested and publicly approved the instrument in March of 1839, which he later used to play ''a powerful solo'' in a vocal and instrumental recital on April 22, 1839.

We would need more evidence (which we will probably never get) to prove it without any doubt, but I think it is safe to assume that the new Sattler trombone became his main instrument, and that he probably used it in further performances of the David (including one on March 31st, 1839 and later at the Lübeck Festival on June 27, where he also performed the Müller on June 28).

Maximilien
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Thu May 05, 2016 12:18 pm

Quote from: mlarsson on May 05, 2016, 10:00AMThe C.G. Müller concertino goes all the way down to pedal E-flat and covers four full octaves.


Does it? As far as I knew, it has pedals between Bb and F (which are described by Berlioz as playable on tenor (except the F)), and a couple low Ebs (not pedal) which you can fake. It also goes extremely high for a ''true'' bass trombone...
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Thu May 05, 2016 12:20 pm

Do we have sources showing that Queisser played in the section? It might be that he only played as a soloist. He was the principal violist, why would he go play trombone in the section when they certainly had other subs (there are 3 trombone parts in the orchestra for the David, in addition to the solo part).
ttf_mlarsson
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Post by ttf_mlarsson » Thu May 05, 2016 12:45 pm

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on May 05, 2016, 12:18PM
Does it? As far as I knew, it has pedals between Bb and F (which are described by Berlioz as playable on tenor (except the F)), and a couple low Ebs (not pedal) which you can fake. It also goes extremely high for a ''true'' bass trombone...

At bar 67, there is a decent from a pedal Bb down to a pedal Eb at bar 68. (2001 edition, by Pfefferkorn Musikverlag).
I also note that the solo part is marked as "Trombone Basso principale" and that the piece is dedicated to Queisser.




ttf_Douglas Fur
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Post by ttf_Douglas Fur » Thu May 05, 2016 2:35 pm

Following on my comments on the extra musical impacts on the availability of musical instruments I looked into military events of the time.

Taking Austria as an example, its involvement in wars during the time under discussion was nearly continuous:
1618–1648 Thirty Years' War, 1655–1660 Second Northern War, 1663–1664 Austro-Turkish War, 1688–1697 Nine Years' War, 1700–1721 Great Northern War,1701–1713 War of the Spanish Succession, 1716–1718 Austro-Turkish War, 1716–1718 Austro-Turkish War, 1718–1720 War of the Quadruple Alliance, 1733–1738 War of the Polish Succession, 1737–1739 Austro-Turkish War, 1740–1748 War of the Austrian Succession, 1756–1763 Seven Years' War, 1778–1779 War of the Bavarian Succession, 1787–1791 Austro-Turkish War, 1792–1802 French Revolutionary Wars, 1803–1815 Napoleonic Wars etc.*

I list the Thirty years war first as it was Sweden's use of artillery then which changed the role of cannons in war. Cannon quickly became a must have weapon and the impact on the cost of non-ferrous metals rose in response:

The main disadvantage of bronze guns was their price, which was generally three to four times higher than iron guns (Cipolla 1965: 42). In 1570 England, iron ordnance cost £10 to £20 per ton while bronze cost £40 to £60. With improvements in iron casting techniques, the price of iron began to fall by the turn of the century, and the difference in cost began to steadily increase, so that by 1670 iron cost only £18 per ton, while bronze cost £150 for the same amount (Lavery 1987: 84). As the principle maritime powers continued to increase the size of their navies in the 17th century, this cost became prohibitively expensive.**

This cost differential with bronze and improved the quality in iron casting drove a shift to the use of iron cannons Starting in navies, as ships could accommodate the heavier iron weapons.
Despite the many advantages of bronze cannon, the navies of England, France, the Netherlands, and other principal maritime powers increasingly armed themselves with iron guns starting in the mid-17th century,  ...and most navies had all but abandoned bronze cannon by the 1770s**
The shift to iron was slower for armies because the lighter weight and maneuverability of bronze weapons.
While the British army in 1816 officially declared heavy caliber bronze pieces obsolete, lighter caliber field artillery continued to be manufactured and utilized. ...still being cast in English foundries as late as the Crimean War of 1854-1856**

Graphed out, the use of brass for military weapons would show a sharp rise in the late 16th and 17th centuries with a gradual fall off to a minimum in the mid 19th century.
This costs of manufacture noted above would also be reflected by increased cost of manufacture and material shortages**** for brass instruments.
This suggests that the military demand for brass may have limited the availability of a full spectrum of trombones. That in times of dearth trombone sections may have been cut back to the three tenors*** playing alto, tenor and bass parts ala the French example. As the shift to iron cannons occurred during the  17th, 18th and 19th centuries there was a corresponding increase in availability of brass for instruments, so the alto and bass trombone became more prevalent.

The musicological record may fall out into the "ideal" expressed by writers from Praetorious to Berlioz for a full range of trombones whereas the actual use may have reflected availability of instruments whose cost of manufacture was driven by military demand for non-ferrous metals.

Duff Radke-Bogen
Seola Creek




*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... th_century
**http://www.staugustinelighthouse.org/LA ... Bronze.pdf
*** unintentional allusion
**** When Drake returned to England he was allowed to keep a cut of all treasure, gold, silver and jewels. All bronze from weapons however, became property of the Queen
ttf_Dombat
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Post by ttf_Dombat » Thu May 05, 2016 4:02 pm

Quote from: Tim Dowling on May 05, 2016, 10:38AMI think the title SOLO posaune is a more 20th century designation. No doubt that in the early nineteeth century the bass trombonist was the highest paid player. Did Queisser play the bass trombone part in the orchestra? I don't really know. What would be interesting to Will Kimball is the salient detail that the three trombone jobs created in 1842 were specifically alto tenor and bass. But the bass was certainly a B flat instrument, perhaps with a valve (invented as we know in 1839 by Sattler) but not necessarily. I had the good fortune last week to examine the Sattler tenor bass trombone (in straight Bb) which is in the Grassi Museum in Leipzig. Even more fortunate that I was in the company of Sebastian Krause who has written a useful piece on Queisser published in Brass Bulletin. I know this much. Queisser walked from his house to the Gewandhaus (to play either the viola or the bass trombone. He walked past Sattler's workshop most days on his way to work. We can reasonably presume that Queisser and Sattler were well acquainted and it's likely that Queisser played a Sattler instrument possibly very similar to the one on the museum. Queisser was the first endorser of the Sattler F valve as well. There is no surviving example of that alas.
Sebastian was kind enough to let me play on a Penzel bass trombone (also without a valve) which is of very similar dimensions to the Sattler. Very full and rich sound, and worked well on David. Penzel was Sattler's son in law and took over the workshop after Sattler died in 1842. Brass inners but surprisingly good if heavy slide action. Considering how large the bore is on the tenor and tenor bass trombones of the Sattler set, it is surprising how small the alto trombone bell is. Hardly any larger than a modern trumpet bell


Don't say that. There are solo trombonists on this forum and they are very proud that they do half as much work as the bass trombonists.
ttf_BGuttman
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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Thu May 05, 2016 4:12 pm

I think calling the Principal Trombone "Solo" is a European thing.  Maybe even Central European.

In the US he is called Principal.
ttf_wkimball
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_wkimball » Thu May 05, 2016 5:09 pm

Quote from: BGuttman on May 05, 2016, 04:12PMI think calling the Principal Trombone "Solo" is a European thing.  Maybe even Central European.

In the US he is called Principal.

I don't think I've ever seen it in the US. It would be rare, for sure.
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Thu May 05, 2016 8:35 pm

Quote from: mlarsson on May 05, 2016, 12:45PMAt bar 67, there is a decent from a pedal Bb down to a pedal Eb at bar 68. (2001 edition, by Pfefferkorn Musikverlag).
I also note that the solo part is marked as "Trombone Basso principale" and that the piece is dedicated to Queisser.

The edition I have gives that line two octaves higher, in the staff.

That pedal Eb is certainly not original - that scale down would be impossible on either the F and Eb bass trombones, as the gap in the register of these horns is (descending) between B and F, and Bb and Eb, respectively - so it would be missing either the Bb, Ab and G, or the Ab, G and F.

And now that I think of it, for this very reason, with or without that pedal Eb, it is very, very unlikely that this work was written for a genuine bass trombone : there are pedal Bbs, As, Abs, Gs and one pedal F - in both cases, there are 4 notes that are in the gap of the range. You could argue that they are playable using falset tones, but that seems to me very unlikely - they're a series of octave skips (in a descending scale) in quite fast motion, and are marked with staccato dots. That's without even mentionning the fact that large portions of the piece are in a range that is somewhat high even for a tenor, plus there is no way you play that high Eflat on top of a crescendo on an Eb bass...

It is FAR more likely, looking at the music, that this was played on a Bb ''bass'' trombone, in which case there is only one note that is outside of range, the low e flat, which can very easily be faked in the context, (and it has an ossia 8va)

Maximilien
ttf_Tim Dowling
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Post by ttf_Tim Dowling » Thu May 05, 2016 9:02 pm

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on May 05, 2016, 12:20PMDo we have sources showing that Queisser played in the section? It might be that he only played as a soloist. He was the principal violist, why would he go play trombone in the section when they certainly had other subs (there are 3 trombone parts in the orchestra for the David, in addition to the solo part).
I too doubt if Queisser played much trombone in the section, but according to the Handrow book he was contracted as both a viola player and trombonist. The source was the Gewandhaus archives. But Queisser did perform as a soloist at the Gewandhaus no less than 26 times between 1822 and 1843, playing the Müller Concertino 10 times and the David 4 times including the premiere in 1837. He also played a Concertino by Meyer 7 times. The other pieces performed were his arrangement of the Weber Horn concertino and a Concertino by Krummer. In 1841 he gave a premiere of the David Concerto militaire. The orchestral material of this piece seems to not be extant.
I also have not the slightest doubt that he played a "bass" trombone in B flat without a valve before 1839 and after that who knows. His endorsement of the Sattler valve doesn't necessarily prove that he played that instrument. There is also hardly any other instrument builder of note in Leipzig who built trombones at that period than C.F.Sattler. There is also a piece quoted by Handrow by one Hermann Schiff in a Hamburg newspaper in 1860 recalling that Queisser played a trombone made of silver. That would certainly not have been Nickel Silver which was only used in brass instrument building from the 1860's and Queisser had long passed away by then. An instrument built in solid silver would have been a very costly and prestigeous thing in those times. Queisser's instrument has not been preserved.


ttf_Tim Dowling
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Post by ttf_Tim Dowling » Thu May 05, 2016 9:18 pm

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on May 05, 2016, 08:35PMThe edition I have gives that line two octaves higher, in the staff.

That pedal Eb is certainly not original - that scale down would be impossible on either the F and Eb bass trombones, as the gap in the register of these horns is (descending) between B and F, and Bb and Eb, respectively - so it would be missing either the Bb, Ab and G, or the Ab, G and F.


It is FAR more likely, looking at the music, that this was played on a Bb ''bass'' trombone, in which case there is only one note that is outside of range, the low e flat, which can very easily be faked in the context, (and it has an ossia 8va)

Maximilien

I was talking about the lack of any examples of Sattler's F valve invention in museums or private collections with Sebastian Krause at the Grassi Museum. His theory is that Queisser and his contemporaries who played the Bb bass trombone were so adept at producing a good faked low register that the valve didn't catch on immediately. According to some the Sattler valve was a "Stellventil". In other words not linked to the thumb with a spring but to be manually engaged. So one had to play all the notes as if on a F trombone while the valve was engaged and one would have to stop playing to engage or disengage the valve. So it was quite impractical until Penzel added a spring and cord and thong, to enable the valve to be engaged while playing.
It's not even out of the question that Queisser could have played a very decent sounding pedal E flat on that very large trombone of his. Schumann called him the "Trombone God" after all.

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Post by ttf_Tim Dowling » Thu May 05, 2016 9:33 pm

I just re-read the chapter on Queisser in Rolf Handrow's book. Before he joined the Gewandhaus orchestra as a viola player, he was a member of the theatre orchestra in Leipzig as trombonist. He was also a member of Ferd. David's string quartet. His first solo performance with the orchestra took place in the year before he joined the Gewandhaus by the way, while he was still a student of the "City Musician" Barth. Also worth noting that Quiesser had studied as a Stadtpfeiffer, which meant he had learnt all instruments from flute to double bass. It was like an apprenticeship.
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Thu May 05, 2016 10:08 pm

Quote from: Tim Dowling on May 05, 2016, 09:02PMHis endorsement of the Sattler valve doesn't necessarily prove that he played that instrument.

In itself no, but a review of a vocal and instrumental concert on April 22, 1839 published in the Allgemeine musickalische Zeitung has him playing ''a very powerful solo on the new perfected trombone by local instrument maker Sattler'', just a few weeks after he publicly endorsed the instrument.

That doesn't prove that he permanently adopted it, or used it to play the David. But it is probably as good an indicator as we'll get to see unless the actual instrument resurfaced...


Maximilien
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Post by ttf_Tim Dowling » Thu May 05, 2016 11:24 pm

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on May 05, 2016, 10:08PMIn itself no, but a review of a vocal and instrumental concert on April 22, 1839 published in the Allgemeine musickalische Zeitung has him playing ''a very powerful solo on the new perfected trombone by local instrument maker Sattler'', just a few weeks after he publicly endorsed the instrument.

That doesn't prove that he permanently adopted it, or used it to play the David. But it is probably as good an indicator as we'll get to see unless the actual instrument resurfaced...


Maximilien

I agree, and that also gives credence to the theory that he played on a Sattler trombone.

Interestingly enough we compared the bell flares of the 1841 Sattler with that of the Penzel 1860's and visually they seemed exactly the same. It's not too far fetched to imagine that the two bells were spun on the same mandrel, Penzel having taken over Sattler's workshop. Comparing the two further, the Sattler bell section is longer in relation to the slide than the Penzel. The Penzel was very well in tune up the harmonic series by the way. Better than the measured and recorded results of the Sattler. I was unfortunately not permitted to play the Sattler, but a good session on the Penzel was certainly a clear indication of how the trombones played. It's a very rich full and fat sound.

It's worth noting that measurements and tests of the Sattler trombones seem to suggest that while he can be credited with the development of the large bore tenor trombone and the F valve, it was indeed Penzel and his followers who moved the design further to improve intonation and response.

 
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Post by ttf_Edward_Solomon » Thu May 05, 2016 11:56 pm

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on May 05, 2016, 12:14PM-Sattler introduced the Quartventil (thus inventing the Tenorbaßposaune) only 2 years later, and claims it could replace the quart-/quintposaune completely.

I would be very wary of claiming that Sattler invented the Tenorbaßposaune. That designation was already in use before the introduction of the rotary valve attachment to the B flat trombone and applied to a straight tenor trombone in B flat with the bore and bell profile of a bass trombone. This is also confirmed in Orchester und Orchesterpraxis in Deutschland zwischen 1780 und 1850 by Ottmar Schreiber.

I would also not underestimate the influence of Richard Wagner, who is also described in Schreiber as having travelled the length and breadth of the German states, making recommendations on the constitution of the orchestras and stipulating the substitution of the alto trombone by the tenor trombone wherever prevalent.
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Fri May 06, 2016 12:05 am

This thread is really becoming a must-see of trombone historical information! We are veering slightly off topic however. I'd like to pedal back a little and offer a response to Mr. Weiner's rebuttal of my arguments about the use of alto trombone (or more precisely, my arguments against the dismissal of the alto trombone).

I'd like to thank Mr. Weiner for his response.

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AM(At least two sources relevant to the period after that treated in my article have come to my attention -- they'll be presented in an article on Bruckner in the upcoming issue of the Historical Brass Society Journal, but since it's not my article, I can't say anything more at this time).

I really look forward to reading that article about Bruckner!

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMThe answer is simply: because the Tuba mirum solo is in the tenor range, and the first trombonist would probably have been using a smaller mouthpiece more suited to the relatively high tessitura of the first part.
I find that answer unsatisfying, for two reasons
1) as pointed out by Mr. Kimball, it is very unlikely that Mozart (or any composer, for that matter) was aware (or cared, really) of the size of trombone mouthpieces...
2) You use the exact reverse logic to support your claim that the concertos/serenade and divertimento movements for solo trombone were written for tenor : that the tenor is the logical choice for a virtuoso because it can play in the whole range of the instrument and offers the best sound all around [insert Praetorius part-quote about the alto sounding bad in the registers it shares with the tenor]. Now you suggest that the Tuba Mirum would not have been played by the first trombone because he would have been using a mouthpiece more suited to the high range (and thus not allowing him to have the best sound in the solo's range). So, then, if the tenor played with a trumpet mouthpiece has (predictably) a bad mid-low range, which is the range where the alto is said to have a poor sound, what exactly is the advantage of playing tenor over alto?


Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMNo, not to start with. My "bias" developed while working with and thinking and writing about the sources.

But you admit in your very article that you have an aesthetic preference for the sound of tenor trombone, aside from historical questions, when you write  ''While there are surely trombonists today who make a nice sound on the Eb alto, I would contend that they, too, make an even nicer sound on the Bb tenor.'' This is of course a valid point of view, albeit very subjective. But you can't make such judgements and then claim to have no bias against the alto trombone when a significant part of your argument is based on the question which horn sounds better and would thus have been chosen by trombonists?.


Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMDoes everything still line up to perfection when you take chamber pitch into consideration? Just wondering.

After some reflection, we had decided to play it in D major 466, with the orchestra reading from transposed parts.
Obviously, this would not have been the case when the entire serenade was performed. Of course, in D major at 466, the arpeggios and scales were extremely natural. As for playing it in 415 (or in C), I can't say for sure without trying it, but I think it would still line up better on alto than tenor. It's like playing in Ab vs playing in Db on modern tenor. I don't think the trills are a problem in any of those cases. They'll still mostly be on the same partials.

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMSorry, I also only know the Esterhazy estate copy, which is in Haydn's own hand.

Apparently there is another copy in Kremsmünster, in the hand of Estlinger and Raab, who are certainly reliable sources. If it turns out that copy effectively has ''alto trombone'' written on the score or part, that would be a definitive answer, at least for that specific work.

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMThe types and performance of trills varied depending on the time and place. And in any case, comparing Castello with Bertali or either of them with Michael Haydn would be a rather absurd undertaking. I see no reason to discount the importance of trills in this question.

To begin with, please allow me to quote your own article : ''It might seem like a long stretch from Bertali to Mozart and Haydn, yet for most of this period a certain continuity in Viennese trombone playing can be observed.''


Of course, though, I'm not comparing the musical style, and of course the style of trills varied, as well as the way they are approached and used compositionally when they are notated. And of course trills are a lot more numerous in Haydn, Mozart et al. But in all good faith, the mechanics involved - rapidly alternating between two partials - are the same. Arguably, 18th century trills are made easier by the appogiatura that precedes them. If trombonists of the 17th century were expected to play trills efficiently on partials a fourth or a major third apart, then there is no reason to believe the trombonists of the 18th century would have had any difficulty playing the trills in Haydn, Mozart, Albrechtsberger (and arguably, Wagenseil, although I'm not saying it was written for alto). Especially since you pointed out the teacher-student lineage in Vienna, which extends from the 17th to the late 18th century at least.

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMa late 18th-century listener/musician/critic with a musical astuteness equivalent to that of Praetorius would very likely have come to a similar conclusion as he did a century and a half earlier.

That ''the alto trombone can naturally play descant parts perfectly well''? Indeed, they would very likely have come to a similar conclusion...


Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMThen find a better source documenting trombone playing in early 19th-century Vienna! Until you do, Nemetz is all we have. Whether you like it or not!

I don't think the Nemetz book should be seen as more than a single trombone player's point of view, for the reasons stated previously, and to which you haven't responded. I believe my arguments are valid. It is certainly a valuable historical source, and an indicator of what was done by some trombone players, but I don't think we should try to make it into something it isnt. It isn't a census of what Viennese trombone players used, it isn't a neutral or uninterested account, and it isn't a generalization of a whole artistic practice.

You asked for a better source. I think that is not an entirely objective question. There are various reasons to believe various contradictory sources more than another. We will probably never find sources that offer a definitive answer either, and that does not confirm Nemetz as the ultimate source by discrediting them, nor would a ''better'' source discredit Nemetz. But anyway, here is my opinion :

I do not think Seyfried should be dismissed so easily (by the way, I find very revealing that you acknowledge him when he reinforces your point about the bass trombone, but ignore him altogether (no pun intended) when he contradicts your view about the alto - I know you do state he has the alto in Eb, but you haven't given any reason to why he is a reliable source that back Nemetz on the bass trombone, but apparently not reliable enough that is can counterbalance Nemetz on alto).

He was an important figure of musical Vienna at the turn of the 19th century. He gives complete position charts, which he could/would not have done unless he had had basic knowledge about the instrument, which raises the question where, when and why would he have learned about the alto trombone if it wasn't being used?. His treatise is a reedition, and I can't see any reason why he would have modified/added information about the alto trombone to Albrechtsberger's original, and specified the nominal pitch, if the alto trombone in Eb was effectively not being used. That wouldn't make any sense. One might argue that he simply copied his material from any of the (numerous) treatises that also list the alto as being in E flat. But why then would he copy those sources about the alto, but not about the bass?

Another important reason why his account has to be highly regarded is that he was a friend and collaborator of both Mozart (at least to some extent) and Beethoven. He was assistant conductor during the original run of Die Zauberflöte, and he conducted the premiere of the original version of Fidelio. He was there at the dress rehearsal and premiere of Beethoven 5 and 6 (I imagine he was there at the premiere of the Ninth and a number of other Beethoven works that use trombones). Him writing about the nominal pitch of the alto (Eb) and bass (Bb) is as close as we'll ever get to an eye-witness account of what was actually used.

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMMarginal to trombone playing as a whole, and during a time in which the trombone was only in use in a very few places to boot. [...]
And even in Germany, there were only a few towns during this period in which the town musicians had not given up the trombone in favor or more fashionable instruments; Salzburg and Leipzig were among the few exceptions.

How odd then that most of the extant instruments of the 18th century are from other germanic cities, and that many of them are altos.

I'd add that I'm not convinced at all that the situation in France is what is generally accepted, as I outlined in my previous post regarding what Berlioz actually says in his treatise. I agree with your conclusion that ''the typical Parisian trombone section'' was three Bb tenors, however I'm not sure such blanket statements do us any good. This is exactly the kind statements that leads to opinions such as ''It is French music, therefore it is written for/should be played on three tenors''. Exactly the kind of statements you and I dislike (e.g. ''it's in alto clef, therefore it is written for alto''). There were most definitely alto trombones in France/Paris, that saw at least some use.

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMAnd guess who called me this morning, Maximilien.

So I was told! Thank you for your help on that matter, by the way. According to Herbert's book, there were two Umlauff trombones (tenor and alto) in the Strahov collection. Do you have any idea where those might be now? (You can PM me)

Quote from: HowardW on May 04, 2016, 04:48AMThere are a number of tenor trombones from Vienna from this era: 5 or 6 by Leichamschneider, the Huschauers in Edinburgh and Verona, possibly a Kerner (?formerly in the Boosey & Hawkes collection), and a recently rediscovered Riedl from 1823 (which is very similar to the instrument depicted in Nemetz).

So there are 9 tenors in Bb, an ''alto'' in C and a bass in G. I won't address the strangeness of the alto in C. But all in all, a dozen instruments. On how many dozens actually built between 1750 and 1830? The sample size being extremely small, I don't think the composition of the sample is of any statistical relevance.

Maximilien

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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Fri May 06, 2016 1:39 am

Gottfried Weber (Wiener Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, July 1817) describes the Kleine Bassposaune as being the same as the Tenorbassposaune, which he says is a Tenorposaune mit Bass-mundstück (tenor with bass mouthpiece). At some point he refers to it as ''the ordinary tenorbass trombone''. He later refers to the grossen eigentlichen Bassposaune (the true, great bass trombone - which he says is/was in F).

He goes on to describe the idea of the Doppelposaune. From what I understand with my limited German, a trombone with a double slide so that all positions are closer together (and that creates additionnal positions allowing for almost entire scales to be played in one motion)

He does seem to think the alto is in Eb, or at least not in the same key as the tenor, as he says, after presenting the slide positions for his Doppelposaune : ''and so everyone can easily find the slide positions for the alto trombone [...] as well as those for the true, great bass trombone.''

His explication of how which notes are on the same ''slide'' as which other notes on his alto ''double'' trombone leave me scratching my head.



Weber also wrote a longer book on his proposed Doppelposaune design, as well as a book titled Akustik der Blasinstrumente. Might be worth reading?
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Fri May 06, 2016 2:23 am

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on May 06, 2016, 01:39AM

He goes on to describe the idea of the Doppelposaune. From what I understand with my limited German, a trombone with a double slide so that all positions are closer together (and that creates additionnal positions allowing for almost entire scales to be played in one motion)


I didn't think that was how double slides worked.

Just thinking about it using head logic, if you double a slide back on itself, yes the positions would get closer together, but the slide would come off after B natural or whatever note is in "7th". If you tried to add more positions by lengthening the slide, all you would be doing is lowering the pitch overall. I don't think you could play a scale. Or get more than 7 positions.
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Post by ttf_blast » Fri May 06, 2016 2:54 am

Please allow a small rambling from an uneducated, non-academic old trombone player....
Much as I fear the logic of looking at present behaviour and applying it to the past, I am tempted by the present pragmatic approach to equipment in professional circles, to wonder how the players of the period in question were affected by the dual pressures of investment and remuneration. The period in question, i think, was the first period in history where more players had to invest in instruments than use instruments supplied by employers... am I right or wrong in this ?
If that were true, or even if this were the first move towards musicians supplying their own equipment, poor musicians would think long and hard before investing in their tools of the trade. The least flexible of the traditional family of trombones is the bass, be it in F, Eb, or D, playing anything other than a bass part would be pretty much out of the question.... it would be off my list pretty quickly. The Bb tenor, as has been said so many times, could cover just about everything, and pretty much HAD to be a first choice, but the alto does (and therefore did)  offer a real advantage to a good player in some playing situations.
Looked at from this investment point of view, the large bass would be a rare instrument in a player's personal collection, whereas the tenor was essential and an alto could be desirable if a player were doing well enough.
In our modern orchestra, the alto is a required instrument for the first player and justifiably so. We did Schumann 3 last year with Mike Buchanan on alto and it was magnificent... and not a thing that would sound the same on a small tenor.
There are many differing approaches today, all around the world, and I think it is reasonable to suppose that in the late 18th and early 19th century, the world was just as diverse.
The world is, and always has been, a very complex place that is full of contradiction and confusion.... if there is a flaw in the construction of any history,it is that basic need to try and draw some kind of logic and order from the numerous threads available to the researcher even in the face of contradictory evidence. This might be just such a situation... everyone may be right... and wrong...

The real world is messy... always has been...

Chris Stearn

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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Fri May 06, 2016 8:14 am

Quote from: blast on May 06, 2016, 02:54AMPlease allow a small rambling from an uneducated, non-academic old trombone player....
Much as I fear the logic of looking at present behaviour and applying it to the past, I am tempted by the present pragmatic approach to equipment in professional circles, to wonder how the players of the period in question were affected by the dual pressures of investment and remuneration. The period in question, i think, was the first period in history where more players had to invest in instruments than use instruments supplied by employers... am I right or wrong in this ?
If that were true, or even if this were the first move towards musicians supplying their own equipment, poor musicians would think long and hard before investing in their tools of the trade. The least flexible of the traditional family of trombones is the bass, be it in F, Eb, or D, playing anything other than a bass part would be pretty much out of the question.... it would be off my list pretty quickly. The Bb tenor, as has been said so many times, could cover just about everything, and pretty much HAD to be a first choice, but the alto does (and therefore did)  offer a real advantage to a good player in some playing situations.
Looked at from this investment point of view, the large bass would be a rare instrument in a player's personal collection, whereas the tenor was essential and an alto could be desirable if a player were doing well enough.
In our modern orchestra, the alto is a required instrument for the first player and justifiably so. We did Schumann 3 last year with Mike Buchanan on alto and it was magnificent... and not a thing that would sound the same on a small tenor.
There are many differing approaches today, all around the world, and I think it is reasonable to suppose that in the late 18th and early 19th century, the world was just as diverse.
The world is, and always has been, a very complex place that is full of contradiction and confusion.... if there is a flaw in the construction of any history,it is that basic need to try and draw some kind of logic and order from the numerous threads available to the researcher even in the face of contradictory evidence. This might be just such a situation... everyone may be right... and wrong...

The real world is messy... always has been...

Chris Stearn


Amen
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Fri May 06, 2016 8:18 am

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on May 06, 2016, 02:23AMI didn't think that was how double slides worked.

Just thinking about it using head logic, if you double a slide back on itself, yes the positions would get closer together, but the slide would come off after B natural or whatever note is in "7th". If you tried to add more positions by lengthening the slide, all you would be doing is lowering the pitch overall. I don't think you could play a scale. Or get more than 7 positions.

If you shorten the bell section  and transfer that length to the slide, then yes.

Look at the Miraphone contra. Twice the tubing length, but the bell section is not twice as long as it should be, and the bell is in 2nd position. It has more slide positions than it should.

Addition : G.Weber claims his instrument has (at least) 9 positions.
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Post by ttf_HowardW » Fri May 06, 2016 10:01 am

I don't have time right now to tackle all of you comments, so I'll just attempt one or two now and come back to the others later.

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on May 06, 2016, 12:05AMI don't think the Nemetz book should be seen as more than a single trombone player's point of view, for the reasons stated previously, and to which you haven't responded. I believe my arguments are valid. It is certainly a valuable historical source, and an indicator of what was done by some trombone players, but I don't think we should try to make it into something it isnt. It isn't a census of what Viennese trombone players used, it isn't a neutral or uninterested account, and it isn't a generalization of a whole artistic practice.You consider your arguments to be valid, but have not revealed any tangible sources. I at least have presented my sources, clearly and cogently, and explained how I arrived at my conclusions and/or theories.

QuoteYou asked for a better source. I think that is not an entirely objective question. It was not a question. It was an exhortation to go out and find a source, or better yet sources, that could supplement the information provided by Nemetz.

QuoteI do not think Seyfried should be dismissed so easily (by the way, I find very revealing that you acknowledge him when he reinforces your point about the bass trombone, but ignore him altogether (no pun intended) when he contradicts your view about the alto - I know you do state he has the alto in Eb, but you haven't given any reason to why he is a reliable source that back Nemetz on the bass trombone, but apparently not reliable enough that is can counterbalance Nemetz on alto).Many sources contain interesting information -- some of it apparently seemingly reliable, some of it obviously contradictory or even unreliable. Seyfried is not an exception to this. Therefore I have my reasons for not taking him so seriously when it comes to the trombone.

First, unlike Nemetz, he was not a trombonist. Second, he got his information on the trombone from the methods by Braun and Fröhlich -- as did Nemetz, too, at least in part. Before I go on to the third reason, it might be interesting to go back to the source, so to speak, to Albrechtsberger:

In 1790 Albrechtsberger published a book eintitled Johann Georg Albrechtsbergers gründliche Anweisung zur Composition (Johann Georg Albrechtsberger's basic instruction in composition). On page 379 he wrote:

Die erste Posaune (Trombone) mit dem Alt, die zweyte mit dem Tenor, die dritte (welche selten mehr gebraucht wird) mit dem Singbasse. NB. Dieses Instrument, oder diese drey Stimmen, verlangen mehr langsame als geschwinde Noten, auch wenig gestossne, welche nur die Trompeten gern machen, und zu obligaten Sätzen niemals ein geschwindes Tempo.

Thus the three trombone (of which the third was only seldom used) doubled the alto, tenor, and bass voices. However, he warns that the trombones are better on long notes and never in a fast tempo in obbligato movements.

Albrechtsberger's book was republished twice in the following years: ca. 1805 and 1820/21 (the latter appeared over ten years after Albrechtsberger's death). The parts about the trombone basically remained unaltered in the three versions. It also remained unaltered in the first version of Albrechtsberger's collected writings (1825/6) edited by Seyfried, although Seyfried did add the following:

Braun und Fröhlich haben Schulen verfaßt.
Ahlsdorf, Bolke, Braun, Dueller, Fröhlich, Hörbeder, Micke, Schmitt, Seeger, Segner, Ulbrich u.a. haben dieses schwierige Instrument kunstmäßig behandelt.

Braun and Fröhlich wrote methods.
Ahlsdorf, Bolke, Braun, Dueller, Fröhlich, Hörbeder, Micke, Schmitt, Seeger, Segner, Ulbrich have skilfully handled this difficult instrument.

This second statement here is interesting: "Bolke" is of course the famous trombone virtuoso Friedrich August Belke. Braun, on the other hand, was not a famous virtuoso; in fact there is no evidence that he was anything more than a mill-of-the-run trombonist -- when he arrived in Paris, he worked as a trumpeter and hornist. Only when Gluck came to Paris to stage his operas and needed trombones did Braun jump in and play an instrument that was not his primary performance medium. He undoubtedly developed his competence over the next few decades, but he was surely no competition for his Viennese colleagues: the trombone parts in the Parisian versions of Gluck's operas are generally a good bit easier than those in the Viennese versions. I should add that although Braun was one of the original faculty members of the Paris Conservatoire, he was not one of the trombone teachers.

Most of the other trombonists that Seyfried mentions were likely local Viennese players (I recognize some of the names, but not all). However, he also names Fröhlich, who was not a trombonist, but a conductor and educator who not only wrote a trombone method, but methods for all the orchestral instruments. And Fröhlich, too, took much of his material from Braun.

So here we have Seyfried claiming that Fröhlich ranks among some of the best trombonists of the era (Braun was long dead by that time.) Is that not a warning that Seyfried might not be all that reliable?

Back to reason 3 contra Seyfried: The second version of Albrechtsberger's collected writings was published in 1837. In this version, Seyfried added a sizable amount of text concerning the trombone:

So dürften wohl auch manche ältere Gewohnheiten kaum zu rechtfertigen seyn.... ferner der Übelstand, die Posaunen mit der Alt-, Tenor- und Baßstimme im Einklange zu setzen; diese echte Kircheninstrumente in vollen, getragenen Accorden von imposanter Wirkung, verlieren dadurch ihre tiefe Bedeutsamkeit, können die ihnen zugemutheten Passagen in lebhaften Fugensätzen schon ihrer Natur nach höchst unvollkommen ausführen; müssen daher mehr schaden als nützen.

[I hope those of you who are not fluent in German will excuse me for not providing a complete English translation. You can google to find a digital verson of the translation published by Novello, which I seem to remember being fairly good.]

So Albrechtsberger's somewhat cautious words have taken on a much more negative guise here. "the evil (Übelstand) of having the trombones double the voices in unison is hardly to be justified.... because of their nature, [they] can perform the passages demanded of them in animated fugue movements only very imperfectly."

And there is more:

Die industriösen Instrumenten-Macher unserer Kaiserstadt haben nunmehr auch die Posaunen mit Grifflöcher und Klappen versehen, und dadurch die theilweise stets lästige Unsicherheit der Züge beseitigt. Ein routinierter Bläser hat vorzüglich darauf Bedacht zu nehmen, daß er jeden Ton um ein Comma früher anschlägt, als es der eigentliche Tact-Rhythmus erheischt; weil die Luft erst sich entwickeln muß, und sonst immer etwas zu spät der Klang vernommen wird. Langsame, feyerlich getragene Accorde bringen stets die erhabenste Wirkung hervor; schnelle Wechselfiguren, Läufe u. dgl. müssen nothwendig einer klar verständlichen Deutlichkeit ermangeln, und die alte Verfahrungsweise, in Fugensätzen aus purer Bequemlichkeit die Posaunen mit den Singstimmen im Einklange fortschlendern zu lassen, dürfte weder zu billigen, noch zu rechtfertigen, oder nachzuahmen seyn. Die eigenthümliche Würde dieser Instrumente weist ihnen zunächst den Ehrenplatz in der Kirche an; Gluck und Mozart haben sie auch mit wunderbar herrlichem Erfolge in das musikalische Drama verpflanzt; die Nachkommen haben ihrer Natur sie entwürdigt; sie müssen gegenwärtig zu Allem herhalten, und fortwährend verstärken, gleich den übrigen Blechmassen, in ernsten und komischen Opern, bey Regiments-Banden und Tanzmusiken, woselbst ein obligates Posaunen-Solo in einem Walzer oder Galopp so recht wie sarkastische Ironie sich ausnimmt.

So now we are talking about developments that had taken place in the late 1820s and early 1830s: "Instrument makers in our imperial city have meanwhile also provided trombones with fingerholes and keys (Grifflicher und Klappen)" "Fingerholes and keys" is a very interesting way to refer to valves, don't you think?

"Slow, solemn, sustained chords always create the most sublime effect; fast alternating figures, runs, and other such things, must of necessity lack clearly comprehensible lucidity, and the old practice, a matter of pure laziness, of allowing the trombones to meander along in unison with the voices in the fugue movements can neither be approved of nor justified or is it to be imitated..."

And now you ask me why I do not take Seyfried seriously? Seyfried shows himself here to be completely divorced from the venerable 18th-century Viennese/Austrian trombone tradition.

QuoteExactly the kind of statements you and I dislike (e.g. ''it's in alto clef, therefore it is written for alto'').Yes, and interesting to note that this is a criterion that Mr. Kimball uses a number of times in his diss... er... "research paper." (BTW, Mr. Kimball, did you really mooch all those editions under the pretext of writing a dissertation?)

HW


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Post by ttf_wkimball » Fri May 06, 2016 10:42 am

Quote from: HowardW on May 06, 2016, 10:01AM
Yes, and interesting to note that this is a criterion that Mr. Kimball uses a number of times in his diss... er... "research paper." (BTW, Mr. Kimball, did you really mooch all those editions under the pretext of writing a dissertation?)

HW


Are you calling me out about my dissertation, really? Whatever happened to "Basta," Mr. Weiner?
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Post by ttf_john sandhagen » Fri May 06, 2016 12:06 pm

Ladies, you're both pretty...now play nice.
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Fri May 06, 2016 12:25 pm

Thank you for your response. I do not have time to carefully read/translate the German passages right now or offer a proper response. I will try to have time for that in the next few days.

Quote from: HowardW on May 06, 2016, 10:01AM
Yes, and interesting to note that this is a criterion that Mr. Kimball uses a number of times in his diss... er... "research paper." (BTW, Mr. Kimball, did you really mooch all those editions under the pretext of writing a dissertation?)

HW




I would just like to point out that I am not Mr. Kimball, and pointing out the flaws in somebody else's dissertation  which was not even cited in this thread (including by its own author) contributes little to the discussion.

Please gentlemen, the tone of this discussion had gotten more courteous in the past few days, even though we do not all agree, and I think we should try to keep it that way.

Maximilien
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Fri May 06, 2016 12:38 pm

Quote from: HowardW on May 06, 2016, 10:01AM
And now you ask me why I do not take Seyfried seriously? Seyfried shows himself here to be completely divorced from the venerable 18th-century Viennese/Austrian trombone tradition.


The fact that he makes an aesthetic judgement on the Viennese/Austrian (or some might even say, germanic) tradition that you (or I, for that matter) don't agree with doesn't discredit him as a source (just as your own aesthetic judgements which many of us don't agree with do not discredit you as a credible scholar, if I may!)



I also see a very big difference between him reporting the technological experiments and advancements of his time and the previous decades and him reporting about the size and pitch of instruments.

Composers and commentators today would have a lot of trouble presenting an accurate picture of our valves and leadpipes and mouthpieces and edge bracing and brass alloys and so forth. You can't reasonably expect accuracy on these matters.

I don't think that discredits him as someone who is sure to know what instruments are used in front of him when he's conducting.

There's a difference between equipment specs and actual different instruments.
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Fri May 06, 2016 1:11 pm

I agree completely. In addition, Weiner has still not accounted for the article's inherent inconsistency that you so aptly pointed out: Why is Seyfried a reliable source on bass but not on alto?
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Fri May 06, 2016 1:23 pm

In response to Maximilien's concern that "You asked for a better source. I think that is not an entirely objective question," Mr. Weiner said,

Quote from: HowardW on May 06, 2016, 10:01AMIt was not a question. It was an exhortation to go out and find a source, or better yet sources, that could supplement the information provided by Nemetz.

Regardless of the semantics of whether it was a question or not, it is a legitimate concern in regards to your defense of your article. As Maximilien observes, it is not objective. It is no rebuttal to the concern that your conclusions are based primarily on one data point. As I said before, it is a classic burden of proof misdirect. The responsibility is always on the person who makes the assertion (in this case, in the article), not anyone else. Any attempt to assert or imply that it is someone else's responsibility is fallacious. Inherently, your article has a weakness; that's your responsibility and burden, not anyone else's. I quote David Hackett Fischer's Historians' Fallacies, as I did before: "[T]he burden of proof, for any historical assertion, always rests upon its author. Not his critics, not his readers, not his graduate students, not the next generation. Let us call this the rule of responsibility" (Fischer, 63).
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Fri May 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on May 06, 2016, 12:38PMThe fact that he makes an aesthetic judgement on the Viennese/Austrian (or some might even say, germanic) tradition that you (or I, for that matter) don't agree with doesn't discredit him as a source (just as your own aesthetic judgements which many of us don't agree with do not discredit you as a credible scholar, if I may!)



I also see a very big difference between him reporting the technological experiments and advancements of his time and the previous decades and him reporting about the size and pitch of instruments.

Composers and commentators today would have a lot of trouble presenting an accurate picture of our valves and leadpipes and mouthpieces and edge bracing and brass alloys and so forth. You can't reasonably expect accuracy on these matters.

I don't think that discredits him as someone who is sure to know what instruments are used in front of him when he's conducting.

There's a difference between equipment specs and actual different instruments.

I would also add that it may be useful to take a step back and look at Seyfried's employment history. He was a thoroughly Viennese musician, conductor, and composer (born and died in Vienna). He studied with Albrechtsberger, heard Mozart live, conducted noteworthy premieres in Vienna, and taught numerous prominent students. It is likely that he would have had some knowledge of Viennese practices, given this background.
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Fri May 06, 2016 5:34 pm

Back from that gig and a few spare minutes...

A few more things.

Quote from: HowardW on May 06, 2016, 10:01AMYou consider your arguments to be valid, but have not revealed any tangible sources. I at least have presented my sources, clearly and cogently, and explained how I arrived at my conclusions and/or theories.

And I never said you didn't.

I don't see what sources you expect me to present, though, when the arguments in question are about whether or not Nemetz should be taken as an absolute reference. The argument I am making is a logical and methodological one. I'm not saying he's not reliable, I'm merely saying that :
1) he is but one single source;
2) there are reasons that could explain why he says the alto is in Bb, other than the Eb alto not being used at all in Vienna.

You haven't yet addressed these issues.

Quote from: HowardW on May 06, 2016, 10:01AMFirst, unlike Nemetz, he was not a trombonist.

I don't think this discredits him in any way. Are we going to say Berlioz is not a good source for the situation in France because he is not a trombonist? That is absurd.

Quote from: HowardW on May 06, 2016, 10:01AMSecond, he got his information on the trombone from the methods by Braun and Fröhlich -- as did Nemetz, too, at least in part.

But you don't know that. Unless you have a source stating that this is where he got his info.

He merely states that Braun and Fröhlich have written methods, that isn't to say that he didn't know an alto trombone from a tenor before reading them!

 
Quote from: HowardW on May 06, 2016, 10:01AMSo here we have Seyfried claiming that Fröhlich ranks among some of the best trombonists of the era (Braun was long dead by that time.) Is that not a warning that Seyfried might not be all that reliable?

Wait...First, he doesn't say he is among the best, he says he ''has mastered the instrument''

Second, he probably never heard either Braun or Fröhlich, and just assumed they were proficient trombonists because they wrote methods (which is a pretty good reason to make that assumption, I must say  - without having ever heard him play (obviously) and before having ever read about him, I already assumed that Arban was a high level cornet player - everybody is surprised when they first learn that Carmine Caruso was a saxophone player - I could go on with examples, but you get the point). Of course that doesn't take away from the fact that it is not accurate information, but that is a completely different kind of information as the one we are discussing.

You are using the unreliability of his depiction of people he never met to question his ability to tell an Eb instrument from a 50% larger Bb instrument, throughout a long and successful career as a conductor! That is some seriously shaky logic.


Quote from: HowardW on May 06, 2016, 10:01AMSo now we are talking about developments that had taken place in the late 1820s and early 1830s: "Instrument makers in our imperial city have meanwhile also provided trombones with fingerholes and keys (Grifflicher und Klappen)" "Fingerholes and keys" is a very interesting way to refer to valves, don't you think?

[...]

And now you ask me why I do not take Seyfried seriously? Seyfried shows himself here to be completely divorced from the venerable 18th-century Viennese/Austrian trombone tradition.

See my previous post.



Maximilien
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Post by ttf_Douglas Fur » Sat May 07, 2016 7:10 am

Quote from: blast on May 06, 2016, 02:54AMPlease allow a small rambling from an uneducated, non-academic old trombone player....
Much as I fear the logic of looking at present behaviour and applying it to the past, I am tempted by the present pragmatic approach to equipment in professional circles, to wonder how the players of the period in question were affected by the dual pressures of investment and remuneration. The period in question, i think, was the first period in history where more players had to invest in instruments than use instruments supplied by employers... am I right or wrong in this ?
If that were true, or even if this were the first move towards musicians supplying their own equipment, poor musicians would think long and hard before investing in their tools of the trade. The least flexible of the traditional family of trombones is the bass, be it in F, Eb, or D, playing anything other than a bass part would be pretty much out of the question.... it would be off my list pretty quickly. The Bb tenor, as has been said so many times, could cover just about everything, and pretty much HAD to be a first choice, but the alto does (and therefore did)  offer a real advantage to a good player in some playing situations.
Looked at from this investment point of view, the large bass would be a rare instrument in a player's personal collection, whereas the tenor was essential and an alto could be desirable if a player were doing well enough.
In our modern orchestra, the alto is a required instrument for the first player and justifiably so. We did Schumann 3 last year with Mike Buchanan on alto and it was magnificent... and not a thing that would sound the same on a small tenor.
There are many differing approaches today, all around the world, and I think it is reasonable to suppose that in the late 18th and early 19th century, the world was just as diverse.
The world is, and always has been, a very complex place that is full of contradiction and confusion.... if there is a flaw in the construction of any history,it is that basic need to try and draw some kind of logic and order from the numerous threads available to the researcher even in the face of contradictory evidence. This might be just such a situation... everyone may be right... and wrong...

The real world is messy... always has been...

Chris Stearn

Mr. Stern

One gentleman is asking the other if he is "calling him out vis his dissertation".
In the olden days that usually lead to "a meeting for two at dawn from which only one returned"

I quote you as I agree with your pragmatic approach to the selection of horns historically used by trombonists. It's the same approach I was trying to express with my post about the military use of non-ferrous metals and the cost and availability of brass for instrument manufacture.

My son at 12 pointed out that humor on the internet often fails because text doesn't have the inflection, facial expression and body language which carry so much meaning in conversations. The word "really" can be inflected through 180° of meaning from enthusiastic agreement to sarcastic disagreement.

The same can be said about other emotions. On a forum they can get ramped up whereas in conversation, with the feedback of nonverbal communication, they are moderated. Then again on some topics like "purely politics" some get into arguing as a blood sport and seem to have fun getting ramped up.

DRB
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Sat May 07, 2016 7:38 am

I agree with both of you. I do think there is a pragmatic, practical side of the question that gets ignored at times, especially in academic circles. When I play alto trombone with Utah Symphony or trombone quartet or trombone choir or on a modern solo, there are definitely practical aspects that come into play beyond all the strictly academic stuff. And I think this was very likely the case historically as well.
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Post by ttf_wkimball » Sat May 07, 2016 7:46 am

And, as Mr. Stearn points out, it is all less cut and dried than people like to portray it. Absolutely. I agree completely.
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Sat May 07, 2016 7:56 am

The comments about owning the instruments that were most useful, as well as what made the parts easiest to play make a lot more sense to me than a lot of the other verbose stuff up on here (Einstein excluded).

That and all the mentions of the alto in the eyewitness reports, and what was said about the bass (but not the alto) having all but disappeared.

The drawings of trombonists playing alto trombone also make it difficult to believe it wasn't around.

Just the fact that there wasn't an Xbox or MTV around at that time greatly increases the chances that trombonists might have had time and funds to learn two trombones. That's sort of what trombonists do. As if it were LESS impressive to tell your friends you had an alto back then than it is today.
ttf_wkimball
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_wkimball » Sat May 07, 2016 8:04 am

Yes, and now we have a contrabass at my school. Oh, the bragging rights! (I'm kidding, itchy fingers)
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_svenlarsson » Sun May 08, 2016 2:27 am

What did the trombonists use? I dont know, actually who does? It is possible to play (almost) all part on a tenor, you can use different sizes of mps:s. In my avatar is pictured my Weltklang very large bore low F, the bore is the same as many contrabass trombones. No valves. The false tones are fully usefull, why would´nt they? Of course they are.
In Prof.Dr.H.Riemann:s Handbuch der Musik-Instrumente there is Sug Tenorbassposaune (no attachemnt) in the same page as a ventil-bassposaune.
The name tenorbass was used for straight large tenors still in the beging of 1900.

As very often today, players use the horn they think is the most usefull to play the parts, I strongly believe it was the same in the old days.
ttf_Tim Dowling
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_Tim Dowling » Sun May 08, 2016 3:45 am

Quote from: svenlarsson on May 08, 2016, 02:27AMWhat did the trombonists use? I dont know, actually who does? It is possible to play (almost) all part on a tenor, you can use different sizes of mps:s. In my avatar is pictured my Weltklang very large bore low F, the bore is the same as many contrabass trombones. No valves. The false tones are fully usefull, why would´nt they? Of course they are.
In Prof.Dr.H.Riemann:s Handbuch der Musik-Instrumente there is Sug Tenorbassposaune (no attachemnt) in the same page as a ventil-bassposaune.
The name tenorbass was used for straight large tenors still in the beging of 1900.

As very often today, players use the horn they think is the most usefull to play the parts, I strongly believe it was the same in the old days.

That's absolutely true I'm sure.
All the same I'm fascinated myself by the sound of old trombones right up to present day models. And once one becomes an historical instrument "specialist" as well then we also have responsilities. No doubt the trombone players in earlier times were hardly at all concerned with "authentic" performance practice. They were just playing what they had, and getting their instruments repaired or replaced just like us. I do think however that once one claims to be concerned with "Historically Informed Perfromance Practice" as we call it these days and getting paid to do that then at least we should be armed with the as much knowledge as possible and own a basic collection of appropriate instruments to the level that is reasonably affordable. And one of my goals as a musician is to try to find the spirit and sound world of a particular piece. I have played the alto part Beethoven 5th on tenor, but I much prefer it on alto and I love to play it on classical alto too, and if Schmidt played it on a tenor in 1805 that's good to know but not necessarily a good enough reason to play it on tenor... for me.

What I do find interesting though is the general trend to assume that to play in authentic way in 19th C orchestral that this presumes the use of small bore instruments. many conductors are under this impression and will ask for small bore instruments for composers like Mendelssohn or Schumann, or Brahms. But study of the instruments of Sattler or Penzel from the 1840's and 50's can tell us that this is certainly not necessarily the case at all.

Therefore I am very grateful to Howard Weiner and Will Kimball and Ed Solomon and Maximilen and all the others who are researching this material. I'm doing some research of my own as well. It's all valuable! But in the end I'm also a practicing musician trying to make a few euros here and there to keep my little ship afloat. So if I'm asked to come and play Brahms on a small bore trombone for actual money I'm not going to refuse on musicological grounds.... Sorry chaps
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_svenlarsson » Sun May 08, 2016 6:20 am

 Image yes that is how we make our living sometimes isn´t it. I have been playing Mozart Requiem on sackbut when the rest of the orchestra played on modern instruments. Image

If the conductor what us to play on whatever we do if we are getting payed, if nothing is said about what instruments we should use I use the horn that works best for the music when I play.
Yes I am also  grateful to Howard Weiner and Will Kimball and Ed Solomon and Maximilen, I like to know the history of trombones. Howard Weiner told me years ago that maybe the bass trombone part of the Creation was played on a Bb horn, I had allready played that music a couple of times on F sackbut, thjat was hard work! After that I have played it some times on a Bb sackbut, much easier. Is it historicly correct? Well it works!

I lie to call the horn in my avatar :bass-contrabass-trombone since the bore is so large. Image Image Image
ttf_wkimball
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_wkimball » Sun May 08, 2016 8:37 am

Thanks. All good points, I think. It's always healthy to evaluate underlying assumptions and come to grips with the practical limits of traditional scholarship. No objections here.
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Use of Trombones in Orchestra

Post by ttf_wkimball » Sun May 08, 2016 8:37 am

Thanks. All good points, I think. It's always healthy to evaluate underlying assumptions and come to grips with the practical limits of traditional scholarship. No objections here.
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