Beginner Question

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by VAHORN, Nov 23, 2007.


    VAHORN New Friend

    Nov 20, 2007
    I am a fairly new trumpet player but have an opportunity to play in a church group (piano, keyboard, cello, bass, guitar). Virtually all of the music would come from a standard hymnal with only the piano part. I have two questions –
    1) What would be the appropriate part for a trumpet -- the upper melody line of the piano chord, the lower note of the piano chord, or some other type of backup (and how does that work?)?
    2) I am concerned that the trumpet might inappropriately cut through the other instruments. Other than playing softly, is some type of mute the way to go? What mute would be most appropriate in this setting?
  2. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Having played in church for many years with a variety of other instruments, excluding those you mentioned, except a piano I would say the upper melody would be best and suited to the trumpet more than the other instruments. If there were two trumpets, the soprano and alto lines work well as "duets" between similar instruments. If the bass and guitar are electric, you may not have a problem with "cutting through". Of course you are playing with a different sounding instrument and usual range. Particular arrangements of the hymns could be worked out by the group for variety. Lots of options are possible. I would recommend a cup mute if you need one, as I think it is the most unobtrusive, yet can be heard. It would be up to the group to determine who plays what and in what style, particularily the bass and guitar (chords or melodic parts, etc.) I mostly have played with organs and brass quartets, both using hymn arrangements and classic literature. Mostly, Have Fun!:-)
  3. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    I think a cornet or flugelhorn work great for church. Trumpet on hymns that specifically mention trumpet in the text.

    To write your own descants transpose the tenor part up one or two octaves. One octave is usually enough.
  4. Brassmonkey

    Brassmonkey Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2007
    MFfan and stchasking have the right idea regarding what part and what horns you should play. You should also keep in mind that if you are reading directly from the piano part you will have to transpose your part to play along. You may already be familiar with this and if so, you can disregard the remainder of this text. If not, then whatever key the piano part is written in, you will have to play a whole step up. If the piano is in C, the trumpet will be in D, and so on. Just read it up a step and add 2 sharps.
    If you're not accustom to transposing you can get familiar with it by copying out the parts manually to a few tunes. The best way however is by practicing the transposition on your own at home to get use to it. Most decent players can transpose "C" parts on sight so this is a great opportunity for you to get that part of your playing together!

    Good luck and have fun!
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Great advice so far! When playing the melody, it is ok to be "too loud" if you are not forcing the tone. In church tradition, the trumpets are silent during the fasting days the seasons of Advent and Lent. Because trumpets represent angels, however, Bach had no problem including them in his Cantatas. In short, you can use the the trumpet for almost all hymns. If dealing with multiple verses, it is traditional to play melody on the first and last verse (possibly adding a descant on the last verse--either the tenor or the alto voice up an octave can be used, just pick out the most interesting). The in-between verses give some fun room to play around in, and we can engage in what is called "text painting" and emphasize the text in a musical way, or just plain rest or weary chops.

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