Prepared trombone ideas?

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Gabriel06
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Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by Gabriel06 »

I'm currently composing for an ensemble of entire prepared instruments. Does anybody have ideas on how to prepare the trombone? Possibly some ways to modify mutes?
In the past I've covered my bell with tin foil.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by AtomicClock »

Prop the water key open? Remove pieces? Use a trumpet mouthpiece?
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BGuttman
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by BGuttman »

Jack Teagarden used the trombone slide playing into a bar glass (beer glass). Takes some getting used to, though (I tried). There is a video of Teagarden doing it on YouTube.

The Buzz-Wow mute adds kazoo-like tones to the sound. Don't know if it's still in the Humes and Berg catalog.

You may have seen the "Bandmaster" trombone with two different bells.

You can use a pickup like the Yamaha Silent Brass coupled into a guitar effects system. Tom Plsec did a bunch of this at Berklee.

Good luck with your project.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by AndrewMeronek »

Hardly anyone ever calls for a Harmon mute with stem.
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BGuttman
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by BGuttman »

AndrewMeronek wrote: Fri May 10, 2024 11:46 pm Hardly anyone ever calls for a Harmon mute with stem.
Removing the stem from a trombone Harmon mute turns it into a very effective practice mute. Unless you are heavily miked you won't be heard. I know it's popular among trumpeters to play without stems, but somehow they manage to cut through that way.
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bitbckt
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by bitbckt »

Hirschman makes the Chicago Stinger which also has a kazoo-like effect.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by calcbone »

Surprised Brad Edwards’s piece Blue Wolf hasn’t been mentioned yet—he has the player remove the F-attachment tuning slide and creates some pretty cool effects.

So, if you have an F-attachment, you might explore some effects with that…maybe put something in the end of the tube where the F-attachment tuning slide would go—like a kazoo, a whistle… there would be a lot of possibilities here. Or even remove the main tuning slide and put something else in its place, if you don’t want to have any “normal” trombone sounds.
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harrisonreed
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by harrisonreed »

AndrewMeronek wrote: Fri May 10, 2024 11:46 pm Hardly anyone ever calls for a Harmon mute with stem.


You mean stem with no cup on it? Or stem extended?

The only Harmon I know of with an actual "stem" is the Ullvén. It comes with three, in addition to the wah wah cup stem.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

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Kingfan
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by Kingfan »

Years ago I put my mouthpiece where the slide would attach to the bell and used the F trigger to make some interesting noises.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by AndrewMeronek »

harrisonreed wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 9:18 am You mean stem with no cup on it? Or stem extended?
Um, what? Harmon mutes only come in one flavor of stem and yes it is movable.
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Doug Elliott
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by Doug Elliott »

Pull the F attachment tuning slide off. either leave it off, or insert one leg so you can tune a little. And/or insert a kazoo

An aluminum pie plate makes a nice buzzy mute.

In college I played a solo that had one movement played on the slide, no bell, while marching in place.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by AtomicClock »

Wasn't there an oddball mouthpiece a few years ago that let you make didgeridoo effects?
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by harrisonreed »

AndrewMeronek wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 1:16 pm
harrisonreed wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 9:18 am You mean stem with no cup on it? Or stem extended?
Um, what? Harmon mutes only come in one flavor of stem and yes it is movable.
Yeah, exactly. You said no one calls for Harmon with stem. I was just wondering if you meant "with stem (extended)" or "with (special) stem". Maybe you meant "without stem".

The Ullvén comes with four stems though, just saying.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by AndrewMeronek »

harrisonreed wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 1:58 pm Yeah, exactly. You said no one calls for Harmon with stem. I was just wondering if you meant "with stem (extended)" or "with (special) stem". Maybe you meant "without stem".
No, I mean with stem, in any configuration.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by harrisonreed »

AndrewMeronek wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 2:26 pm
harrisonreed wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 1:58 pm Yeah, exactly. You said no one calls for Harmon with stem. I was just wondering if you meant "with stem (extended)" or "with (special) stem". Maybe you meant "without stem".
No, I mean with stem, in any configuration.
Sorry about that! My experience is the opposite. Never had a piece that called for Harmon mute without a wah wah effect or just requiring the stem in general.

Trumpets are more in line with what you're talking about, Dizzy style.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by SamBTbrn »

You can put a short basoon reed or oboe reed inside the mouthpiece (that pokes into your mouth) that makes an amazing combination of sounds when you play (buzzing the mouthpiece as well as the reed at the same time).

Also hold a CD flat against the inside of your bell like you do with a plunger mute. With your finger blocking the hole in center. Also makes a great sound
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by mbarbier »

Gabriel06 wrote: Fri May 10, 2024 10:09 pm I'm currently composing for an ensemble of entire prepared instruments. Does anybody have ideas on how to prepare the trombone? Possibly some ways to modify mutes?
In the past I've covered my bell with tin foil.
Feel free to send me an email- [email protected]. it might take a few days to get back cause currently wrapping up the semester. But that's the bulk of my work and just wrapping up a course for composers covering those topics, so could send some methods and media examples.
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WilliamLang
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by WilliamLang »

I would say that 95% of the time I use harmon it's with stem. It's fairly rare to be asked for it without stem, and most of the time composers think they're gonna get a Miles Davis sound, but it just doesn't do that, so they often go back to stem in pretty quickly. Using the harmon halfway in the bell gets some really nice sounds also.

One last harmon trick - lifting one finger at a time off the cup can be really fun and really accentuate overtones in a way not much else does.


The CD mute trick is good for a buzz (a coffee cup lid works as well.) Reeds can be really fun - I get the best results with bassoon, followed by contra-bassoon, than oboe and shawm reeds. I did a little video on different ways to add a buzzing sound not too long ago.


Baritone sax mouthpieces in place of the slide can be great also. Check out the DinoBone concerto by Piyawat Louilarpprasert to hear both double read and baritone sax stuff along with a cool bell preparation.


You can half valve most trombones to get an interesting timbre, remove or half remove the f-attachment, add tubing the the f-attachment (like a garden hose) or just play directly on the bell section. Aluminum foil works well, and then if you dip into electronics (Mattie is really good at this!) there's a gigantic other world of possibility.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by harrisonreed »

WilliamLang wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 4:46 pm I would say that 95% of the time I use harmon it's with stem. It's fairly rare to be asked for it without stem, and most of the time composers think they're gonna get a Miles Davis sound, but it just doesn't do that, so they often go back to stem in pretty quickly.
I thought I was going crazy!
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by cmcslide »

Check out Dave Taylor in this performance from the American Trombone Workshop in 2017. He uses a buzz mute and a mini bell replacing the tuning slide on the second valve section of his bass trombone.

Edit: for some reason I couldn’t get the YouTube video to play on the site, but a quick google search will find it….
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by AndrewMeronek »

harrisonreed wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 5:22 pm I thought I was going crazy!
To be fair, my reference is about 2 out of 1000 charts that I've ever seen "Harmon" marked for trombones, and then it's with trumpets who are always stemless. Guess I just don't see the good charts. :idk:
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by WilliamLang »

Trombone harmon with stem blends a lot better with stemless trumpets IMHO. The trombone harmon without stem is an intonation nightmare and has the woofiest sound - better to use a bucket for that effect!
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by harrisonreed »

That's why the swedish Harmon mute comes with the three different internal stems -- you get the trumpet Harmon sound but the intonation and sound is good.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by dukesboneman »

Stuart Dempster`s Book "The Modern Trombonist" will give a lot of ideas.
also videos and recordings of players like Steve Swell, George Lewis, Conrad Bauer, Albert Mangelsdorf and Stuart Dempster.
William Lang`s above video with the Harmon mute effects is great. Using the same technique with moving individual fingers couple that with using multiphonics and the overtones are cool.
Like in the Berio , using a Metal plunger (Harmon makes one) and rattling it one the bell. You can get some great effects with a plunger, Multiphonics and manipulating the shape of mouth to get some interesting digeridoo sounds.

Then there`s a whole different universe when you get into electronic effects.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by jacobgarchik »

Hardware stores sell 1/2" flexible tubing by the foot. This fits snugly on the tuning slide receiver of an F attachment. You can connect this to another instrument bell, a funnel, glass of water, or just leave it open on one end. If the hose is long enough you can put another instrument many feet away for all kinds of spacial effects while leaving intact the non trigger side of the horn. I saw a recital by Bruce Crisp where he had a trombone off stage that was triggered through tubing by his regular trombone (or was it vice versa? I forget). With a double trigger horn you get even more possibilities - you can have 2 additional bells/sound sources, positioned widely apart, for many spacial effects.
I have a double mouthpiece made for playing two trombones at once. These are pretty easy to make out of plastic by sawing off 1/3 of the mouthpieces lengthwise and gluing them together. Mine are standard brass mouthpieces welded together. You can then hold two small bore trombones together and play in microtonal unison or limited harmony.
I also have experimented, with limited success, with using a fan to mechanically open and close the stem of a harmon mute. An ongoing project of mine.
People have also experimented with attaching motors to a rotary valve to quickly vacillate between multiple bells.
BTW Will, Steve Turre is probably the biggest exponent of trombone + harmon with no stem; he has recorded it often.
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by WilliamLang »

I'll check Steve's stuff out! Always good to have a new inspiration. Love to drop by and see the harmon mute fan idea also
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Re: Prepared trombone ideas?

Post by heldenbone »

Loose rivets around the bell rim, similar to some really noisy ride cymbals that were popular years ago.
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