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Thread: Hear Rare Brass Instruments

  1. #1
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    Default Hear Rare Brass Instruments

    Hello nice people!

    I propose to link pictures, descriptions... and hearing samples of unusual brass instruments in this thread.

    Other threads exist already for double reeds, single reeds, and an other should come for string instruments, percussions, whatever is desired.

    ==========

    The baroque trumpet plays about as high as the usual trumpet or even the piccolo one, but its tube is about twice as long, so the musician plays a given note height on a mode twice as high. Higher modes are spaced closer, which enables more notes since there are no valves.
    de.wikipedia (more languages there)

    It isn't usually a natural trumpet, though. Hole(s) in the narrow branches pull the pitch slightly to improve some notes and create new ones. Other holes leave a mode untouched and dampen its close neighbours to help the musician sound the desired one.

    The instrument could be manufactured in the baroque era and was quite usable, but it isn't chromatic at the lower notes, and has a solid reputation of difficulty. As an example, the musician lips the 11th mode up or down to sound both close semitones. Also, I suppose (but did not hear!) that the notes shifted by a side hole are muffled.

    Hear Justin Bland here
    and Nathaniel Mayfield there
    or search for
    "Alison Balsom" "baroque trumpet"

    Compare the piston piccolo with the baroque trumpet:
    and on Nathaniel Mayfield's website, both on Reiche's Fanfare

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    Wagnertuben exist with harmonic series in B (tenor) and F (bass), at the same height as the two sides of a double French horn because the tubes are as long. Their flare starts early and is wider than at the French horn, giving a darker and mellower sound, similarly to the cornett and flugelhorn compared with the trumpet. And: the horn players prefer them (tenor and bass) written transposing in F without key signature, like the French horns.

    The magnificent instruments (but horn players criticize the intonation even with 4 valves) are under-used. Many symphonic orchestras have a set (2+2) that serve only for Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler, Strauss.

    Hear 4 wagnertuben and 4 French horns, nice to compare:
    The French horns are of rarer Viennese variant, which changes the sound a little bit.

    More recent music, 8 Wagnertuben at once

    Fabulous resource to hear many instruments
    Wagnertuba at vsl.co.at
    Some pieces there expose it as a solo instrument, rare opportunity.

    Only (nice!) music

    With some comments in English
    SlU7PMlSOkU - BNcajRV4sfc - MFm2C-ve7qw music 0:00 to 1:40 and from 6:23
    and comments in German

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    You already heard a tuba, and even many... But most often, both the musicians and the composers make it a lumbering instrument, which it is not. So here are examples of the agile tuba:
    zPQdXN7wZcM and Acc_QHJ9Rvw Les Tubadours
    fYOsNp4O7AU Øystein Baadsvik
    GNjsxLdSwHI Andreas Martin Hofmeir
    Far more agile than most listeners and musicians imagine.

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    Here's a video with a plastic trumpet
    A more direct opinion by an other trumpet player, supposedly not paid by the manufacturer, there
    A (not favourable) opinion about a plastic trombone, with sound
    it sounds terrible even with the metal mouthpiece. The musician gives more reasons against the instrument.

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    Natural trumpets are use on many recordings/live performances and have been for several years. I recommend listening to some Ed Tarr and Niklas Ecklund. I know of a jazz group that sometimes uses a section of p-bones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by david johnson View Post
    Natural trumpets are use on many recordings/live performances and have been for several years. [...]
    Thanks for your interest!

    True, some conductors also choose natural brass to play older music. So did Andrés Orozco-Estrada with the HR Sinfonieorchester when playing Beethoven's symphonies. The records are on Youtube, you can admire the natural trumpets and natural horns.

    First I thought the orchestra had found two rare players for the baroque trumpets, but the players are the orchestra's usual musicians. Simply, Beethoven had written for natural instruments, so the parts are playable without the pistons and don't need the baroque trumpet and its special techniques.

    Same for the horns. Musicians can still play stopped notes. Possibly they aren't used any more to stop individual notes, needing some training.

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    The natural trumpets are available today from various manufacturers. Sometimes Oberlin College has a summer program in which participants build their own natural trumpets. https://www.naumanntrumpets.com/

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    Brass instruments (labrophones) use to have a cylindrical portion before the flare. The longer cylinder and short flare give trumpets and trombones a brilliant sound, the cornet is intermediate, and the flugelhorn and lower saxhorns have a short cylinder and a long flare for deep mellow sound, but are conical only in some people's imagination.

    A air column conical right from the beginning gives also the natural harmonics in tune. But these instruments are rare.

    The Alphorn is endemic to the Alps, more present in Switzerland, and is normally made of wood. The straight 3-4m are an eyecatcher, but a French horn is as long. It's a natural instrument played on modes 2 to 12 and more. Groups of instruments in varied tunes can complete the notes. Sound:
    Solo XrO6XVX4C8s at 0:07 and 0:45 – Group 5vxyjLRb0TA – Concerto fXRLjVJQisw at 0:45

    ==========

    Valves to achieve intermediate notes are normally brought on the cylindrical portion normally absent from the Alphorn. Adaptations exist right behind the Alphorn's mouthpiece, but I suppose the intonation suffers. The other solution is to have sideholes on the tube, a true rarity at labrophones.

    ==========

    The cornett (the one with two t), cornetto or zink is a medieval instrument (or family with varied pitches) played up to the baroque era. The playing technique is lost, there are no professors, instruments in museums can't be played generally, their manufacturing method is lost. If it sounds imperfectly now, blame the centuries only.

    William Dongois has a nice sound and plays more in tune, after both playing and manufacturing efforts

    gtmusicalinstruments manufacture the instrument. They describe it on the site, give fingerings, and at this page are records:

    Gustavo Gargiulo too plays the cornetto nicely

    The cornetto is magnificent, and different from what we have now. Whether it can be modernized in a clever way: make it easier, improve the tune, but keep the sound?

    ==========

    The serpent (French for snake) was the bass, played before the romantic era. The bare tone holes are narrow and they muffle the sound

    The variant with cups and keys was called ophicleide for keyed snake, it disappeared during the romantic era

    Despite Berlioz recommended in his Traité d'instrumentation to remove the serpent and the ophicleide from orchestras, he used them in his Symphonie fantastique

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    Cornets, flugels, and horns are conical bore. One of my trumpets is a poly-bore design. Tbones and trumpets are usually cylindrical bored.

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    Quote Originally Posted by david johnson View Post
    Cornets, flugels, and horns are conical bore.[...]
    No. All start with a cylinder, then expand at a flare. The flare itself isn't a cone neither.

    The difference is how long the cylindrical part is, and how broad the flare expands.

    Because valves need a cylindrical section, conical labrophones have tone holes instead, like woodwinds, and are rarities.

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    I am correct Cylindrical bore brass retain the cylinder shape for a while, but conical bores immediately begin their expansion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by david johnson View Post
    I am correct Cylindrical bore brass retain the cylinder shape for a while, but conical bores immediately begin their expansion.
    You should have a look at a flugelhorn and a cornet.

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    I have a cornet (Schilke), and have had a flugelhorn (Benge). I play trumpet/cornet every day.

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    I double-checked on my tuba and it starts expanding immediately, even if so slightly. No cylinder hence.

    The tuba, flugelhorn and relatives are no cones, however. A cone consists of straight lines between the apex and the base
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cone
    that's why I distinguish the alphorn and others as "conical", as they expand immediately with the constant angle.

    We would need a better word to describe the saxhorn family and others.

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