Banner: The Hope for brass band, organ, choir, and percussion

Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Rotary vs. Piston Valve trumpet

  1. #1
    Senior Member Lunasong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    1,425
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Rotary vs. Piston Valve trumpet

    Why do orchestral trumpets sometimes play piston trumpet and sometimes rotary? Who makes the decision which trumpet to play, the principal or the music director/conductor, or is it pretty much standardized (certain literature = rotary, or certain orchestras use specific instruments)?
    Is there a big difference between the instruments in tone and ease of playing?
    "To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse." Jack Daney

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    North America
    Posts
    21
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I was always under the impression (and I could be wrong) that Rotary trumpets is a European thing. With Pistons being used in America almost all of the time. But that is just my impression from observations.

    Note: Jazz seems to be 100 percent piston.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    6,176
    Post Thanks / Like
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

  4. Likes StevenOBrien, Taggart, Lunasong liked this post
  5. #4
    Senior Member Lunasong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    1,425
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Good article. I learned a lot, especially about F trumpet, with which I am totally unfamiliar. I agree with the writer that I have observed my local (American) orchestra using rotary valve trumpet up to 50% of the literature (predominantly Austro-German).
    "To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse." Jack Daney

  6. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    19
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    It's all about the sound. Rotaries provided a dramatically different tonal palette than our American piston horns, much more suited (according to some, anyways) to the Germanic literature. Also, the rotary horns allow the player to exercise subtle differences in articulation that fit the style of Haydn/Mozart/Beethoven exceptionally well. I'm a professional 2nd trumpeter, and use the rotary every chance I get for all classical era works and even some early romantic stuff.

  7. Likes eugeneonagain liked this post
  8. #6
    Senior Member Sudonim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    251
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I recently saw rotary trumpets in action for the first time, in a YouTube clip of Semyon Bychkov conducting Mahler's 3rd (a late-romantic piece, obviously, so I guess some trumpeters play them in that repertoire too). Knew they were trumpets, of course, but had to ask my daughter (high-school trumpeter) about them. How is the tonal palette different? I was a woodwind player myself so the mechanics of playing a brass instrument are foreign to me.

    Edit: Never mind, I just saw Hilltroll72's link above. Maybe I should read that first ...
    Last edited by Sudonim; Aug-23-2013 at 20:59. Reason: Duh
    "Music should never be harmless." - Robbie Robertson

  9. #7
    Senior Member Pip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    375
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I remember first seeing the rotary valved trumpets in Britain in the mid 80s with the Philharmonia orchestra under Giulini, who persuaded the orchestra management to invest in them for the Austro-German repertoire. They make a great difference with their more rounded deeper sound against the much brighter sound produced by piston instruments, which used to be described as chromium plated.
    Here in Germany, some players will use the piston trumpet for specific pieces. It is usually decided by the conductor when the orchestra has the capability of both.

  10. Likes Sudonim, Lunasong liked this post
  11. #8
    Newbies
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    9
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Rotary valve trumpets are more common in European countries such as Germany.

  12. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    arkansas/missouri
    Posts
    1,161
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    the rotaries I've played do not focus the same way as the pistons. some orchestras are flexible as to what they will use and some would never change. a few American orchestras will employ them for Bruckner/etc., however, two days ago I watched a celibidachi-led Bruckner performance with the munich phil and all used piston valves. Claudio Roditti jazzes on his rotary. my personal axes are all piston valved.

  13. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,312
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I strongly dislike rotary valve trumpets for Bruckner, Mahler, etc....they simply lack the brilliance, the projection of piston valve instruments.
    There seems to be a growing trend towards using rotary valve instruments for Bruckner - but I think it produces an inferior sound for the brass section. I like the brilliance, the brightness of the piston valve trumpets.

  14. Likes eugeneonagain liked this post
  15. #11
    Senior Member eugeneonagain's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Les Pays-Bas
    Posts
    1,584
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I agree with Heck. I learned on piston instruments, but I also have a rotary valve trumpet. They are more nimble and have a different tone because of the different lead-pipe length. It has a sound between the (valve) trumpet and flugelhorn. As an instrument in itself it is great, but they are not all that powerful for brass hits and not in a brass section of the type required for, say, a brass band.

  16. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,312
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by eugeneonagain View Post
    I agree with Heck. IIt has a sound between the (valve) trumpet and flugelhorn. As an instrument in itself it is great, but they are not all that powerful for brass hits and not in a brass section of the type required for, say, a brass band.
    Agreed, good point...it's a bit like comparing French [Buffet system] and German [Heckel system] - very different instruments tone-wise....The French bassoon makes a fine solo instrument - very expressive, with great response and flexibility in the high register - but it lacks the resonance, the full sound for orchestra work, at least IMO....it simply does not have enough "body" to the sound....
    Still, tho - to hear a great artist like Maurice Allard on the French bassoon, is to hear a great master-musician at work...

Similar Threads

  1. Trumpet
    By Bassoonist Student in forum Woodwind and Brass
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Jul-25-2014, 07:52
  2. Trumpet Tips
    By Lunasong in forum Woodwind and Brass
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Jun-07-2012, 04:20
  3. Trumpet or Cornet
    By Edward Elgar in forum Woodwind and Brass
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: Oct-01-2010, 14:22
  4. Trumpet concerto
    By soundandfury in forum Today's Composers
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Jul-14-2008, 17:51

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •