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larc

Composing for Trumpets

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Hey I'm new, and I'm a trumpet player so I thought I'd toss some ideas in here.

The general range for the Bb trumpet is from E3 up to C6.

The lower register can be muddy if below Concert GHowever good trumpet players are able to play notes down to the concert E with ease and acceptable tone. I've seen unison low register notes used in pieces before with great effect. (See Tannhauser Overture-Richard Wagner). Notes to avoid:Low Concert B is very difficult to get down, this pitch is very sharp. Concert C isn't as bad, but younger players will still play it sharp as well

The Upper Register can be brilliant, beautiful, or harsh. Younger players will have considerable difficulty producing pitches above the concert F5 for a long period of time without rest. It is also very difficult to place these higher pitches perfectly in tune, sometimes to get within 5 cents is considered success. Avoid using high notes as a way to volume, while this is true they can be ugly and sometimes painful to the player depending on their ability in the upper register. Notes to avoid: Concert F is incredibly sharp for even advanced players, this is probably the most difficult note to place exactly in tune. Concert D will be very very flat for younger players. Concert G is also very sharp amoungst younger players. Even though notes above C6 are possible they should be used sparingly and not in soft passages or avoided all together in younger groups.

The Bb Trumpet plays very well in flat keys, and pretty well in some sharp keys. As more sharp notes are added, the more difficult it becomes to play fast passages, especially in the low register as the figurings become complex.

There are many types of trumpets the most common, the Bb trumpet and the C Trumpet. The C Trumpet plays in concert pitch and has a range simular to the Bb Trumpet, F#3 to D4.

Another instrument, the piccolo trumpet is common in orchestras and brass quintets. The range is very different than a regular trumpet though. The piccolo trumpet plays in either A or Bb and almost always has four valves. The range is from a B3(or Bb if in A) concert to an F6(E6) concert (G6 concert for talented players) Piccolo parts should be reserved for only advanced groups, such as college or professional ensembles. Anything below an Eb4 should be avoided as the tuning and tone below there is just ugly. The upper register is also very shrill and the most taxing areas of any trumpets range. The sound is very light and bright, unlike the larger horn. Most players will choose to play in A.

While trumpet do exist in other keys they are rare and with the exception of the Eb Soprano Cornet (used in British Brass Bands) are hardly used. For a band the trumpet parts should ALWAYS be written in Bb with no exception (a long time ago they were sometimes in A, but not so for the last several years).

In Orchestra the parts are sometimes in Bb but the standered norm is to write Orchestral Parts in C. In the past orchestra parts here written in E, F, Eb, A, D. But there isn't a need to do that, it only inconviences the player (although orchestral trumpeters are masters at transposition it's nice to not have to deal with it).

hope this helps somebody understand more about the trumpet, I Might do a simular posting on the Flugelhorn, which is simular but has its own unique details.

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Sometimes its better to use a trumpet in F, for example, because some of the key signatures are atrociously challenging for a B flat tor C rumpet, and sound more natural on a trumpet in F, because there is less fingering and therefore natural harmonics are more prominent. For example, if a piece of music was in C flat, I don't know the exact transposition, but on a B flat trumpet that would be in D flat, which has five flats, but if you were to play this on an f trumpet, you could transpose the C flat time signature up a perfect fourth to F major, a far more easier piece to play in.

Different tunings of trumpets are like different golf clubs. If your trumpet player takes his or her craft seriously, and a professional, he will always have with him multiple tunings of trumpets. To do the job, you need the tools. If you are composing for amateurs who typically aren't as well off, then yes, they only will have B flats and Cs.

Secondly, the e and d may be the hardest notes to tune, but this can easily be fixed by making use of your tuning slide for those notes, a simple flick of the ring finger.

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The common number of horns for the common professional are a Bb, C, Eb/D, and Piccolo. Professionals in high end jobs sometimes go for the Fs and Gs, etc... Also keep in mind the lowest note playable on an F trumpet in a concert B3.

I don't believe though that an F trumpet would be the best choice for a piece in B(Cb). In fact It might be the worst choice. Playing a C on F trumpet produces a the pitch 'F'. B in a tri-tone above F, which would mean to produce a B Concert would require playing an F# on the F Trumpet. Playing in F# is one of the most difficult keys to slot pitches correctly and can be really ugly down low. F trumpet also has a very different sound than a normal trumpet. The tone produced is somewhere between that of a larger horn (the Bb or C) and a piccolo trumpet.

I would play this piece on a Bb horn. Playing in Db is only muddy around concert B3 and lower. The fingurings aren't terribly difficult above that, and the difference in harmonics wont be noticed. There really isn't a solution for playing B short of going and buying another horn, it's just somthing trumpet players must deal with.

I am aquainted with the principal trumpet of the local symphony, and I believe he's a very fine player. I can tell you though he only carries with him a Bb, C, Eb, and piccolo. And yet he is serious with his craft.

Lastly concert C5 and D5 are flat notes. Extending any slides lengthens the instrument and causes lowering of the pitch, thereby increasing the tuning issue on these notes. The only way to play these notes well is through manipulating the lips, corners, or airstream.

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Most people I know only have Bb C and piccolo trumpets... heck, I'm a trumpet major right now, and all I have is Bb. I'm just good at transposing. It's really not as hard as it sounds.

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I would disagree. I've read countless articles in the ITG Journal about English and Russian Trumpet players who play almost everything on a Bb trumpet, overseas especially the Bb is the strongly prefered horn to the C which is most prefered it seems in the United States. In fact many professionals have Bbs and Cs that sound totally different, heavy-light, bright-dark. And they use w/e horn fits the style of the piece regardless of transposition.

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Yeah, the different pitched instruments mostly produce a different sound more than anything, I think. I don't know... it's sad I don't know more about my own instrument. I just play.

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Big Band trumpets - ie. Non-Orchestral. The big band trumpet players still play on a regular Bb trumpet, but can reach ranges of up to F6, and sometimes higher. This is necessary for much big band jazz, even in the 1940s notes as high as Eb6 were used. Main difference is the range, other is the tone, which will have vibrato and generally be a much brighter sound than the orchestral player.

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Now, actually you're getting into mouthpieces. I play all my parts on Bb (I'm in wind symphony, orchestra, and jazz) but I have different mouthpieces for each group. Darker, richer sounding mouthpieces (1 1/2C - rich, full) for orchestra and winds, and then a jazz specific mouthpiece (bobby shew lead - bright, increased range).

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