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jrcramer

use of piccolo trumpet?

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I'm crrently writing for orchestra and I need a high trumpet, say a high Bes, written C. Some trumpet players around me can get to the G or A at most, so a C is out of range. However, I have seen these high notes in score like Shostakvich fr example in the finale of his 11th symphony.

can I write such a note as well, or is it really too difficult. Should I write for an alternating piccolo trumpet (do trumpet players alternate?)

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I'm crrently writing for orchestra and I need a high trumpet, say a high Bes, written C. Some trumpet players around me can get to the G or A at most, so a C is out of range. However, I have seen these high notes in score like Shostakvich fr example in the finale of his 11th symphony.

can I write such a note as well, or is it really too difficult. Should I write for an alternating piccolo trumpet (do trumpet players alternate?)

What's the context? I can help you out if you give me an idea of what's going on in the music. Also, when you say your friends can only get a G or A at most, is that concert pitch? Concert B-flat is not very high, in fact that's really standard range any relatively okay trumpet player should be able to hit. But if they can't hit it then they can't hit it, I just thought you should know that a written C above the staff on anymore is NOT super high. I've played with people that have an octave above that :(

As far as switching horns, I don't know what the players you know do, but it's fairly standard practice to play on a C horn in an orchestra. If you want something like the ending of Shosty 11, you don't want the guy on a piccolo since it most likely won't cut through. I would suggest maybe writing for a D trumpet (Stravinsky does this in The Rite, I think Prokofiev did it in Alexander Nevsky too) but I don't even know if your friends have access to a D horn and it just doesn't seem necessary if they're just going to be playing B-flats and As or whatever. Now if you wanted them to wail out concert Ds and Es like you have in The Rite and be able to still cut through the orchestra with ease, then you write for the principal to be on D. I guess my only solution for you right now is to tell your friends to do more flexibility exercises, because the end of Shostakovich 11 definitely isn't hard.....well it is after playing the entire symphony, but I dunno if you would do anything that taxing on players.

Just to make it clear, if you're ever writing something for trumpet and it looks "high" too you, don't just think, "Oh hay they can play it on piccolo". The piccolo sound is so bright and compact, I can't recall any piece that uses a piccolo in a sort of "power" situation. When I say a "power situation", I mean something like a brassy Shostakovich passage where the horns have to really punch out some sound.

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Sorry, I should also mention that trumpet players generally use different horns for transposition and slotting purposes. So like, say I'm in a band, and this piece is centered around some intervals that hit bad notes on a B-flat, I would most likely choose to play it on C. No one plays on a smaller horn for range, cause if you can't play a high-C on a big B-flat, you're not going to be able to play one on a piccolo.

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Who did you ask? High A is really only SO high...C shouldn't be unreasonable as long as it's used sparingly. The only reason to switch to piccolo trumpet would be long, sustained passages up in that register. The thing is, it's a slightly different technique, and most trumpet players (at the high school and college level) don't own a piccolo, so the "easier" thing to do would be to just write the note and let them play it.

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edit:

before the high C, should I remove the mid-F, because of embouchure change? or is it maybe a nice relaxation to play a 'normal' note?

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edit:

before the high C, should I remove the mid-F, because of embouchure change? or is it maybe a nice relaxation to play a 'normal' note?

Well I don't play the trumpet, but I'm pretty sure that it would be more comfortable without that mid-F. A rest is always more of a "relaxation" than playing a low note between high notes. And large jumps always make things a little harder.

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Lose the F and keep it on Bb trumpets. Changing to a piccolo will ruin the trumpet blend in your excerpt there.

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already done that.

Still think the notes are hard to hit. I have enforced tpt. 1 with 2 oboes, and tpt. 2&3 with 2 clarinets. Enforcing with oboes is something Tschaikofsky did. Do you think its good?

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edit:

before the high C, should I remove the mid-F, because of embouchure change? or is it maybe a nice relaxation to play a 'normal' note?

already done that.

Still think the notes are hard to hit. I have enforced tpt. 1 with 2 oboes, and tpt. 2&3 with 2 clarinets. Enforcing with oboes is something Tschaikofsky did. Do you think its good?

I listened to your whole piece and looked at the brass parts, the trumpet part is completely playable and not hard on the face. Don't take out the F4, it's unnecessary and helps the player if anything.

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I listened to your whole piece and looked at the brass parts, the trumpet part is completely playable and not hard on the face. Don't take out the F4, it's unnecessary and helps the player if anything.

Thanks for listening. I get mixed signals now. Is it wrong to leave the F out? There are two others playing them. I guess, it's not missed. Why should you play it. I'm not sure why its helping (I was coninced by the previous speaker, that a rest is a nicerelaxation)

The only I can think of is the measure is alike the others. Bt its not really helping for keeping count of the measure. Players that can reach the high C can count till 7 ;)

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Thanks for listening. I get mixed signals now. Is it wrong to leave the F out? There are two others playing them. I guess, it's not missed. Why should you play it. I'm not sure why its helping (I was coninced by the previous speaker, that a rest is a nicerelaxation)

The only I can think of is the measure is alike the others. Bt its not really helping for keeping count of the measure. Players that can reach the high C can count till 7 ;)

Well during that section you're not going to really take your face off the horn anyway. That pitch helpful ear-wise (so they have a jumping off point to hit that 10th), just having the principal rest risks having him crack the G# or C, trust me. Also keep in mind that person who said that in this thread is not a brass player :).

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You won't take the face off, or relax... you don't want to relax your lips for a higher note, obviously. The 1st trumpet is already on an F (top line) so going down an octave won't help him find his pitch better, since he's already on the same pitch (F). All it does is un-neccesarily make him relax the lips slightly, to play the lower note.

This is absolutely no problem for any professional player, but I'm assuming you might not be getting this played by a pro orchestra.

@ Herr Kremlin. What 10th? we're talking about an F to a C, which is a 5th or a 12th. Why are you talking about a G#? That is in a previous bar.

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ok, I am willing to trust you ;)

I am a bit worried by your statement the horns being so in the focus. I meant the trumpets to get the most attention. I doubled the horns and gave them ff, because I thought 2 horns equals one trumpet (in dynamics) But maybe this is not the case when the whole is this loud, or the horns being that low.

I have not so much brass writing experience. During orchestration this section bothers me the most. Because the are the loudest, each wrong thing messes with the balance...

Any advise is welcome.

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Also keep in mind that person who said that in this thread is not a brass player :).

Well, I said I don't play the trumpet, but that doesn't mean I'm not a brass player. I do play the horn (and have played on a trumpet more than once, even if just for fun). (I realize of course that certain things, particularly considerations of register, are different between horns and trumpets.) I mostly went by the things Daniel mentioned now. When you have already played an F in that bar (particularly one in a similar register as that C) I really don't see how playing yet another F in a different register would be a huge help "ear-wise".

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Adding the F an octave lower before going to the high C actually makes it tricker. The lips are already set to play in the high register. The minute adjustment in tension to go down an octave before going up a 12th is enough to trick any non-professional up. Without that low F, the lips are already in range. With a good breath, the note should be very secure. About doubling these notes in the woodwinds - it's all up to the sound you want. Have you HEARD the excerpt you mentioned that you took this idea from? If you think it's appropriate, do it. If you think it doesn't add anything, don't do it. What it won't add is security in the trumpet's high C. Why? Because now you have an oboe and a trumpet both trying to tune notes in their highest register. Also, depending on the rest of the orchestration of this passage, consider that trumpets are loud. Oboe is naturally quieter the higher it is asked to play.

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Adding the F an octave lower before going to the high C actually makes it tricker. The lips are already set to play in the high register. The minute adjustment in tension to go down an octave before going up a 12th is enough to trick any non-professional up. Without that low F, the lips are already in range. With a good breath, the note should be very secure.

Yeah, thats what I thought. Thanks guys for pointing this out; I was a bit confused...

About doubling these notes in the woodwinds - it's all up to the sound you want. Have you HEARD the excerpt you mentioned that you took this idea from? If you think it's appropriate, do it. If you think it doesn't add anything, don't do it. What it won't add is security in the trumpet's high C. Why? Because now you have an oboe and a trumpet both trying to tune notes in their highest register. Also, depending on the rest of the orchestration of this passage, consider that trumpets are loud. Oboe is naturally quieter the higher it is asked to play.

I've read Tchaikofsky does this in his tutti's. (Gordon Jacob, Orchestral Technique, 79). It says "This procedure adds bite and edge to the trumpet tone without in any way detracting from its powerful and impressive quality".

But in that example he doubles it a C an octave lower. So you are right about the impoverished quality of the high oboe. And a page before it says that woods should not be doubled in unison "except in the case of high trumpet parts being doubled in unison by clarinets to give steadiness and confidence to the trumpets rather than for any definitly musical result".

I'm gonna fix this, keep the trumpets as they are (in the PDF, not the JPG) and swap the oboes and clarinets

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In this trumpet lick, currently transposed for Bb:

2s1tdar.jpg

Would D trumpet make Trumpet I's entrances less treacherous? Would blend still be ok with Trumpets II & III playing thirds lower?

Context for the Allegro passage is, the trumpet is playing in unison with the oboes and about a 6th below the flutes. So, it doesn't need to overwhelm the sound, just add brassiness to it.

I know these are high entrances - can't really pitch them lower though. :(

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ok. Then I keep it this way. see screenshot for the passage. Full score is comming soon :)

I played trumpet for 5 years, and at the end of my career in High School, it was perfectly acceptable to be playing that high...and it was almost required of the more advanced players....but I don't know how common that is in an average band.

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