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A reproduction baroque trumpet

A "lip-vibrated aerophone," the baroque trumpet is a musical instrument in the brass family[1]. A baroque trumpet is a brass instrument used in the 16th through 18th centuries, or a modern replica of a period instrument. Modern reproductions include both natural trumpets and the slightly embellished vented trumpets[2].

Contents

History

The first trumpets were made by vibrating the lips into an amplifier of some type, like a shell or an animal horn. The first metal trumpets are attributed to the Egyptians, after two trumpets were discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun: one of silver and one of bronze. These types of trumpets were used for signaling, and the sound they produce has been compared to the braying of a donkey. The trumpet’s primary use through most of history has been for signaling, especially in times of war. In the Middle Ages, the trumpet began to appear in courts, providing ceremonial fanfares[3].

Around 1400, instrument makers discovered the method for tube bending, and the trumpet began to take its familiar curved shape. Around the same time, trumpet players began to experiment with the range of the trumpet. By the 1550s, five part trumpet ensembles requiring each player to perform a different register of the trumpet were appearing[3].

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Instruments of the period

Some of the finest surviving examples of trumpets date back as far as the 1580s, and were made by Anton Schnitzer of Nuremberg[4]. Other notable trumpet makers include: the Hainlein family of Nuremberg, the Haas family of Nuremberg, the Ehe family of Nuremberg, and William Bull of London[5]. All of these instrument makers built what are now called natural trumpets. During the period, however, these instruments were simply called trumpets.

Natural trumpets are crafted from brass, copper, bronze, or silver. Natural trumpets are difficult to play because they have no method of chromatic alteration, such as the valves of a modern trumpet. Instead, natural trumpets rely on the harmonic series, and pitch bending by the player to correct the out-of-tune harmonics. The harmonic series is a series of notes that can be created by causing the vibrating body (a column of air in the case of a trumpet) to cease vibrating at its fundamental frequency and instead resonate at any number of harmonics or partials[1]. The natural harmonic series has several notes that are out-of-tune to modern ears, notably the 7th, 11th and 13th partials. Where a composition demands these notes, the player must 'lip' them into tune, a notoriously difficult task (Barclay). During the 17th and 18th centuries, this technique was called Heruntertreiben (literally, "driving down") by the Germans, and players were able to master it only after years of arduous training[3].

Modern reproductions

Nowadays, the term "baroque trumpet" has come to mean a reproduction or copy of an original natural trumpet. These are the instruments most often employed by period instrument ensembles in an attempt to emulate historical performance practice. Originals are seldom used, for reasons outlined below. However, modern reproductions contain an element not found on the originals [4].

Modern-day baroque trumpets are fitted with one or more so-called vent holes. Many instruments, such as the "Modell Tarr" made by Ewald Meinl Musikinstrumentenbau GmbH of Germany[6], have just one hole, usually covered by the right thumb. When opened, the vent hole creates a node, or a position along the vibrating air column where the pressure variations are at a minimum. This creates a transposition--in the case of the thumb vent hole, the entire harmonic series of the trumpet is shifted up by a fourth. Most of the time, the hole remains covered, allowing the instrument to sound in its original key, whether B, C, D, E, or F. In order to play the out-of-tune 11th and 13th harmonics (notated f2, and a2), for example, the player opens the thumb vent hole and plays the f2 and a2 as the 8th and 10th harmonics of the new series. Some baroque trumpets have extra "cheater" holes that allow the player to make half-step transpositions and blow a relatively easy high C.[7]. An example of a multi-hole baroque trumpet is the coiled Jägertrompete made by Helmut Finke[8], used by the Concentus musicus Wien on many of their early recordings. However, this model has fallen out of favor with period instrument groups, and is seldom used nowadays.

The sound of a vented note is noticeably weaker and less resonant than that of unvented notes (thumb hole covered). In practice, this is of little consequence, since the out-of-tune f2 and a2 are usually sounded briefly in passing. Fortunately for modern-day players, baroque composers such as Bach and Handel were careful not to ask their trumpeters to "dwell" on the f2 and a2 for any length of time. The other out-of-tune notes (B in both octaves) are even less frequently used, while the 11th harmonic is closer to an F# and usually played as such. Within the context of unequal (meantone) temperament, the 11th harmonic is very nearly in tune.

Baroque trumpet, model Johann Leonhard Ehe III, Nürnberg, 1700

There is some controversy over the appropriateness of the modern baroque trumpet. Aside from the issue of vent holes, there is concern about the actual construction. Some baroque trumpets have been made using modern manufacturing methods, not the hand hammered technique exercised by the master craftsmen like Schnitzer, Haas, Hainlein, Ehe, and others. There is evidence, for example, that the bore anomalies of museum originals may favor certain notes, making it possible to "lip" the out-of-tune notes with greater ease. This characteristic is absent in factory-made instruments, with their geometrically perfect bore. In general, most working trumpeters regard the modern baroque trumpet, with at least one vent hole, as a necessary compromise to ensure acceptable intonation and secure attacks, while still providing an approximation of the original sound. Others believe that the "pure" natural trumpet, with no vent holes, is historically correct, and the problems of faulty intonation or attack are a small price to pay in exchange for a genuine recreation of the original sound.

Mention should be made of the role of the mouthpiece in re-creating an "authentic" performance. Many trumpeters today continue to use a version of their modern mouthpiece on the baroque trumpet, fitted with a larger shank. This is unfortunate, since the art of playing in the highest clarino register depended to a great extent on the typical shallow-cupped mouthpiece of the period. When using this type of mouthpiece, there is not only a greater ease in the upper register but also a lighter, less forceful sound. The latter blends better, is less tiring to the player, and is far more appropriate when performing with other baroque-style instruments.

Construction

Because the modern baroque trumpet is modeled after the natural trumpets of the baroque era, the components of both instruments are nearly identical. There is a mouthpiece, which is inserted into the receiver. The receiver is attached to the long tubing, called the first yard, with a short connector, called a ferrule. The first yard is connected with a ferrule to the first bow, followed by another ferrule and the second yard. The second yard is attached with a ferrule to the second bow. On the baroque trumpet, the vent holes are located at the top of the second yard, and possibly on the second bow. After the second bow are the bellpipe, the ball, the bell, garland, and bezel. The bellpipe and first yard are separated by a wood block, and over that is placed a cord for binding[4].

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Smithers, Don L. 1988. The Music and History of the Baroque Trumpet before 1721. 2nd edition. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.
  2. ^ Barclay, Robert. 1998. A New Species of Instrument: The Vented Trumpet in Context. Historic Brass Journal, vol. 10: p.1-13.
  3. ^ a b c *Tarr, Edward. 1988. The Trumpet. Translated by S.E. Plank. Portland, OR: Amadeus Press.
  4. ^ a b c Barclay, Robert. 1992. The Art of the Trumpet-Maker. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  5. ^ *Bate, Philip. 1978. Instruments of the Orchestra: The Trumpet and Trombone. London: Ernest Benn.
  6. ^ http://www.ewaldmeinl.de/
  7. ^ Steele-Perkins, Crispian. 2001. The Trumpet. London: Kahn & Averill.
  8. ^ http://www.finkehorns.de/

External links


A "lip-vibrated aerophone," the baroque trumpet is a musical instrument in the brass family[1]. A baroque trumpet is a brass instrument used in the 16th through 18th centuries, or a modern replica of a period instrument. Modern reproductions include both natural trumpets and the slightly embellished vented trumpets[2].

Contents

History

The first trumpets were made by vibrating the lips into an amplifier of some type, like a shell or an animal horn. The first metal trumpets are attributed to the Egyptians, after two trumpets were discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun: one of silver and one of bronze. These types of trumpets were used for signaling, and the sound they produce has been compared to the braying of a donkey. The trumpet’s primary use through most of history has been for signaling, especially in times of war. In the Middle Ages, the trumpet began to appear in courts, providing ceremonial fanfares[3].

Around 1400, instrument makers discovered the method for tube bending, and the trumpet began to take its familiar curved shape. Around the same time, trumpet players began to experiment with the range of the trumpet. By the 1550s, five part trumpet ensembles requiring each player to perform a different register of the trumpet were appearing[3].

Instruments of the period

Some of the finest surviving examples of trumpets date back as far as the 1580s, and were made by Anton Schnitzer of Nuremberg[4]. Other notable trumpet makers include: the Hainlein family of Nuremberg, the Haas family of Nuremberg, the Ehe family of Nuremberg, and William Bull of London[5]. All of these instrument makers built what are now called natural trumpets. During the period, however, these instruments were simply called trumpets.

Natural trumpets are crafted from brass, copper, bronze, or silver. Natural trumpets are difficult to play because they have no method of chromatic alteration, such as the valves of a modern trumpet. Instead, natural trumpets rely on the harmonic series, and pitch bending by the player to correct the out-of-tune harmonics. The harmonic series is a series of notes that can be created by causing the vibrating body (a column of air in the case of a trumpet) to cease vibrating at its fundamental frequency and instead resonate at any number of harmonics or partials[1]. The natural harmonic series has several notes that are out-of-tune to modern ears, notably the 7th, 11th and 13th partials. Where a composition demands these notes, the player must 'lip' them into tune, a notoriously difficult task (Barclay). During the 17th and 18th centuries, this technique was called Heruntertreiben (literally, "driving down") by the Germans, and players were able to master it only after years of arduous training[3].

Modern reproductions

Nowadays, the term "baroque trumpet" has come to mean a reproduction or copy of an original natural trumpet. These are the instruments most often employed by period instrument ensembles in an attempt to emulate historical performance practice. Originals are seldom used, for reasons outlined below. However, modern reproductions contain an element not found on the originals [4].

Modern-day baroque trumpets are fitted with one or more so-called vent holes. Many instruments, such as the "Modell Tarr" made by Ewald Meinl Musikinstrumentenbau GmbH of Germany[6], have just one hole, usually covered by the right thumb. When opened, the vent hole creates a node, or a position along the vibrating air column where the pressure variations are at a minimum. This creates a transposition--in the case of the thumb vent hole, the entire harmonic series of the trumpet is shifted up by a fourth. Most of the time, the hole remains covered, allowing the instrument to sound in its original key, whether B, C, D, E, or F. In order to play the out-of-tune 11th and 13th harmonics (notated f2, and a2), for example, the player opens the thumb vent hole and plays the f2 and a2 as the 8th and 10th harmonics of the new series. Some baroque trumpets have extra "cheater" holes that allow the player to make half-step transpositions and blow a relatively easy high C.[7]. An example of a multi-hole baroque trumpet is the coiled Jägertrompete made by Helmut Finke[8], used by the Concentus musicus Wien on many of their early recordings. However, this model has fallen out of favor with period instrument groups, and is seldom used nowadays.

The sound of a vented note is noticeably weaker and less resonant than that of unvented notes (thumb hole covered). In practice, this is of little consequence, since the out-of-tune f2 and a2 are usually sounded briefly in passing. Fortunately for modern-day players, baroque composers such as Bach and Handel were careful not to ask their trumpeters to "dwell" on the f2 and a2 for any length of time. The other out-of-tune notes (B in both octaves) are even less frequently used, while the 11th harmonic is closer to an F# and usually played as such. Within the context of unequal (meantone) temperament, the 11th harmonic is very nearly in tune.


There is some controversy over the appropriateness of the modern baroque trumpet. Aside from the issue of vent holes, there is concern about the actual construction. Some baroque trumpets have been made using modern manufacturing methods, not the hand hammered technique exercised by the master craftsmen like Schnitzer, Haas, Hainlein, Ehe, and others. There is evidence, for example, that the bore anomalies of museum originals may favor certain notes, making it possible to "lip" the out-of-tune notes with greater ease. This characteristic is absent in factory-made instruments, with their geometrically perfect bore. In general, most working trumpeters regard the modern baroque trumpet, with at least one vent hole, as a necessary compromise to ensure acceptable intonation and secure attacks, while still providing an approximation of the original sound. Others believe that the "pure" natural trumpet, with no vent holes, is historically correct, and the problems of faulty intonation or attack are a small price to pay in exchange for a genuine recreation of the original sound.[citation needed]

Mention should be made of the role of the mouthpiece in re-creating an "authentic" performance. Many trumpeters today continue to use a version of their modern mouthpiece on the baroque trumpet, fitted with a larger shank. This is unfortunate, since the art of playing in the highest clarino register depended to a great extent on the typical shallow-cupped mouthpiece of the period. When using this type of mouthpiece, there is not only a greater ease in the upper register but also a lighter, less forceful sound. The latter blends better, is less tiring to the player, and is far more appropriate when performing with other baroque-style instruments.[citation needed]

Construction

Because the modern baroque trumpet is modeled after the natural trumpets of the baroque era, the components of both instruments are nearly identical. There is a mouthpiece, which is inserted into the receiver. The receiver is attached to the long tubing, called the first yard, with a short connector, called a ferrule. The first yard is connected with a ferrule to the first bow, followed by another ferrule and the second yard. The second yard is attached with a ferrule to the second bow. On the baroque trumpet, the vent holes are located at the top of the second yard, and possibly on the second bow. After the second bow are the bellpipe, the ball, the bell, garland, and bezel. The bellpipe and first yard are separated by a wood block, and over that is placed a cord for binding[4].

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Smithers, Don L. 1988. The Music and History of the Baroque Trumpet before 1721. 2nd edition. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.
  2. ^ Barclay, Robert. 1998. A New Species of Instrument: The Vented Trumpet in Context. Historic Brass Journal, vol. 10: p.1-13.
  3. ^ a b c *Tarr, Edward. 1988. The Trumpet. Translated by S.E. Plank. Portland, OR: Amadeus Press.
  4. ^ a b c Barclay, Robert. 1992. The Art of the Trumpet-Maker. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  5. ^ *Bate, Philip. 1978. Instruments of the Orchestra: The Trumpet and Trombone. London: Ernest Benn.
  6. ^ http://www.ewaldmeinl.de/
  7. ^ Steele-Perkins, Crispian. 2001. The Trumpet. London: Kahn & Averill.
  8. ^ http://www.finkehorns.de/

External links


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