Can you Play Flight of the Bumble Bee?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Rick Chartrand, Sep 26, 2005.

Can you Play Flight of the Bumble Bee?

  1. Can you Play Flight of the Bumble Bee?

  2. Can you not play Flight of the Bumble Bee?

  1. Rick Chartrand

    Rick Chartrand Piano User

    Nov 22, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Hello All

    The flight of the Bumble Bee is pretty Much a Pre-requsit for the well trained trumpet player. Its a fast and difficult piece to some, and easy to others. I was talking to a friend the other night and think it would be cool to start a poll on this piece. The question being, Can you play Flight of the Bumble Bee? honest! :lol:

    PS I can play it but usually end up tripping over the piece :lol:

    Rick AKA Trumpet Man
  2. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    says who? :think:

    I would disagree, but then again I dont think much of that piece.
  3. Chris4

    Chris4 Pianissimo User

    Jul 16, 2005
    There are many different versions of Fight of the Bumblebee. Which one are you referring to? I can play the traditional version. Has anyone heard Prez Prado's Fight of the Bumblebee? Amazing!

  4. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

    Mar 22, 2005
    I agree that it's not really a prerequisit for the well trained trumpeter. I do think that is a nice little piece of music. Think about how well Rimsky-Korsakov paints a picture of a bumblebee flying around. I wouldn't spend a lot of time practicing it, and I rarely listen to it, but as long as it keeps its distance, I'm a fan.
  5. oj

    oj Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2005
    Everyone, except the bumblebee itself, knows that a bumblebee can't fly. Its body is too big for such small wings and furthermore it isn't particularly streamlined like the wasp.

    Funny about that silly piece. Why are so many people still playing it? Not only on trumpet, but violin, flute, etc. etc.

    I can understand that people like to practice that lick on trumpet. Clarke No. 1 can be boring in the long run. But, why on earth would they perform it in concerts or even record it ?? :-(

  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    It seems that you've answered your own question!

    Since we can all agree that a series of chromatic figures in repetition has limited lsitening value, I think many of the people that have recorded it have done so for two reasons:

    1) It is a technical challenge to play the passages EVENLY and musically

    2) They wish to put their pwn stamps on the piece

    Compare, for example, the Mendez version with dance orchestra and Harry James' which is up a half step. It is a challenge to learn the James when you've practiced the usual one in concert E minor. I think Harry James was the first band leader in America to come up with a jazz version. If anybody knows of an earlier jazz version that would be fun to know about.

    It is a difficult piece from the standpoint of even technique, breath control, and musicality. Can you make it sound like a piece of music instead of a technical firework? Can you maintain a consistency of sound from the lowest register to the highest section of it or does it go from blurry low notes to pinched high notes?

    So, my challenge is this: look at the piece again and play it with those qualities and see if Rick doesn't actually have a point.

  7. frank

    frank Piano User

    May 28, 2004
    Berlin, Germany
  8. oj

    oj Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2005

    See your point.

    I think we all are different when it comes to what we like in music and not. Personally, I do not find much music in this piece.

    I'm also aware that my all time favourite, Rafael Mendez, was fond of performing it. I have the Harry James version on LP.

    Another interesting version was by the amazing George Swift. Pity I don't have it anymore.
    (Btw, go to Jeff Purtle's excellent website and listen to a sound clip of Swift: )

  9. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Let's re-read Manny's post.

    THIS is why he has the job he does. Examine the close attentiveness to detail and nuance; the approach to the problem of a technical "parlor trick" piece to render it musically. Then, the will, self-discipline and ability to apply that. There, before us, is the separation between the grown-up table and the kid table.

    Anyone, given the time, (as has been said) can work up the fingers and type out all the right notes. Go practice your Clarke studies and you'll pretty much have the teqhnique. But who among us can change it into what it really is: a musical painting or photo that moves? How about any other piece that seems technically challenging like that (such as Turrin Caprice or Goedicke)?

    At the level Manny prescribed: no, not yet is my answer. New challenge!!!
  10. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Forte User

    Oct 11, 2004
    Farnham (a place too smal
    Can I play every version? - no.
    Can I play some versions? - yes.

    Would I play it in concert? - no, there are better pieces of music out there.

    Anybody else familiar with the Harry Mortimer version? A great way to scare cornet players - it comes after a really simple arrangement of The Lost Chord in the Harry Mortimer Album - when they turn the page, the look on their faces is beautiful :lol:

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