The trumpet is an exciting instrument that for several decades has shared the
limelight with the saxophone as the most popular solo instrument in jazz, big
band and ballad instrumentals. I first developed my interest in the
trumpet listening to a symphony orchestra playing classical music. JS Bach used
the trumpet to create drama and excitement - the horns of his day were
8 feet long, with a mouthpiece at one end and a bell on the other. This range of
the natural trumpet is determined by the bore and length of the cylinder and the
vibrations of the players lips. Natural notes are the tonic, 5th, 1st octave,
2nd 5th and 2nd octave. An expert player could manage to play other notes
on a baroque trumpet with difficulty. The trumpet has evolved by modifications
of its bore, different styles of coiling, and by adding features that produced a
fully chromatic instrument. Anton Weidinger invented the valve trumpet, a fully
chromatic instrument and Hadyn wrote the first trumpet concerto, performed by
Weidinger in 1800.
The modern Bb trumpet with three valves and a range greater than 2 octaves is
an evolved species that is in use world wide. Trumpets of the same design
can be found with different root pitches; the C trumpets are the most common.
The piccolo trumpet with 4 valves is a recent innovation, created to play the
higher register pieces found for example, in Bach's composition - it is fully
Peter Bach's Stradivarius Bb Trumpet
Peter Bach designed and manufactured trumpets in the US
beginning in the 1930s. His Bb and C trumpets became the symphony standard
through the 1950s. His designs continue to be made by Selmer. Among
trumpeters there is much discussion about the right trumpet to use in different
situations, the best models and the best manufacturers. When I was a young
trumpeter, I heard that Bach trumpets were best, but I couldn't afford one. I
did prefer Bach mouth pieces and found one that improved the quality of the
sound I produced on a less expensive instrument. I was interested to review
Bach's Trumpets for sale and found ads for the Stradivarius version asking
$2800.00 USD. A mouth piece could be bought for $100.00.
Range and Fingering
The 3 valve Bb trumpet retains the set of open notes
of natural trumpets ( noted as 0 fingering below). The ascending open sequence
is a 2 octave range is C,G,C,E,G,C. The notes below the root C are not
very useful. It is possible to play higher into the third octave, but beyond
winning competitions with other players, the highest notes are often not
musically meaningful and may annoy audiences.
The flugelhorn is similar to Bb trumpets and cornets. It has three piston
valves and responds to the same fingering. The tone is richer and
more mellow. It most effective in a lower register than the trumpet. The
flugelhorn's appeared in jazz and popular music, and appears occasionally in
orchestral writing. Miles Davis, for example played the horn in 2 albums, Miles
Ahead and Sketches of Spain.
My Proteus 2500 Trumpet/Flugelhorn
I played the trumpet in my earlier life and have an affectionate
relationship with the intrument. I can no longer play the real instrument but
have evolved a wonderful brass instrument in my Proteus 2500 that
satisfies all my trumpet expectations. I imagine I am playing the instrument with
the timbres, intonation and articulation as I use the keyboard to play.
I am always delighted with the super trumpet capability of the Proteus/Stephen
Louis Armstrong, a trumpet player, became one of the most famous jazz
musicians of the 20th century. Armstrong recorded "What a Wonderful World" a
thoughtful, optomistic ballad that shows the trumpet's romantic ability.
My Performance of Wonderful World
Trumpeter and composer Miles Davis had a marvelously productive career. He
attracted the most talented jazz musicians many of whom went on to create
evolving expressions of jazz as the most technically advanced and, for some, the
most appealing music of the 20th century. I recorded several famous Miles' tunes.
The most demanding trumpet performance was Decoy written by Robert Irving
featuring a Miles improvisation. The title piece Decoy of the 1983 album Decoy
is credited to Irving and, for me, became an anthem piece that expresses a
special kind of articulate, virtuoso anger. The trumpet solo calls out for
My version of Decoy
There has been a succession of great trumpet players. A recent master
is the acclaimed trumpeter Chris Botti. I have chosen a wonderful performance with a Botti and
violinist Lucia Micarelli duet. They performed the moving "Emmanuel" in Botti's PBS
special CHRIS BOTTI IN BOSTON on PBS (2009)
The following link to a You Tube Video displays the best in musical performance - an impeccable duet
with two very talented, dignified and attractive performers. Chris is among
the best trumpet players that ever existed. For a successful pop star,
Lucia is an exquisite violinist - a very talented musician.
See Scotty Barnhart .The World of Jazz Trumpet: A Comprehensive History and
Practical Philosophy. Hal Leonard December 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0634095276
Persona Music Recordings: Our Music Catalogue includes recorded performances
under the titles Persona Digital, P2500 Band, Em4U, and the Persona Classical Consort. Music online is offered to illustrate music history, advance music education and appreciation. All the recordings are
arrangements and performances completed in house by Stephen Gislason. The music selections and their history
are explained in the book, Sound of Music.
Topics presented at Persona Digital Studio are from the
The Sound of Music by
Stephen Gislason Click Download to order the eBook
Persona Digital publishes a series of books on current topics in
music, psychology, neuroscience and philosophy. eBooks can be quickly downloaded at reduced cost as PDF files.
Download eBook editions are 2018 revisions.