Last Post - How to acheive bugle sound?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JonJo, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. JonJo

    JonJo New Friend

    Apr 4, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Im playing the Last Post on ANZAC Day, which is in about a weeks time, and i've been told that when I (or anyone else) plays it on trumpet , it sounds too blunt/dull. Seeing as I wouldn't be able to get hold of a bugle before next saturday, would anyone have a solution on acheiving a more bugle-like sound ?

    I've heard that a straight mute can help get a bugle-like sound, but ive lost mine :-?
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If you have critics present when the last post is played, THEY have the problem, not the bugler.

    The theoretical difference between a bugle and trumpet sound is insignificant for general performance - unless we are trying to offer a historically correct experience, but then I expect all listening to be wearing historical attire too.

    There may be a lack of elegance by players that look at this 10 minutes before performance. That is the "blunt" part. The dull part is in the head of that person that commented - not in the nature of a trumpet or bugle sound. Some people just need to have something to say - even if it is nonsense.

    We don't play the Last Post here in Germany, but I am sure if you start practicing NOW and OUTDOORS, you will find a way to make it come alive for those paying their last respects. Don't play for the critics. Play to the souls of those that are present for the right reason!

    For the record: the bugles and field trumpets that I have played have been more "cornet" like in tone. The historical models have a deep funnel cupped mouthpiece and sound much more "dull" than any trumpet. Many of those instruments had real intonation issues and were a pain to play. A straight mute will not bring a trumpet closer to this sound.

    You only have a week. Concentrate on the music. Practice outdoors to get used to that type of playing. Inform the critic that YOU are not the center of attention on this occasion - the occasion is! Think elegant not fanfare. You will do just fine.
  3. tunefultrumpet

    tunefultrumpet Pianissimo User

    Apr 9, 2008
    New Zealand
    I agree with Rowuk. If any tone colour is suitable for the Last Post it is a darkish, mellow one. But really any trumpet, cornet or bugle sound will do the job. It is supposed to be poignant. I'm sure that a trumpet would sound bright compared to a cornet or bugle, not blunt or dull. Make sure you memorize it plus the reveille. Good luck!
  4. ExtraTeeth

    ExtraTeeth Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    Perth, Western Australia
    I would have thought the trumpet a little bright if anything. If people want historical authenticity they might be surprised. There's a pocket trumpet in the Fremantle army museum with a card stating that this instrument was played at Gallipoli. Whether for signalling, ceremony or entertainment it doesn't say.
  5. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    JonJo, congratulations for taking on this "mighty important" task - I've been lucky enough to be included in ANZAC Day marches each year for the last decade or so, starting with a pre-dawn service march, and finishing with a "Digger's Breakfast" and sit down performance later in the day.

    99.9% will NOT hear any difference between the bugle and your trumpet - the emotion will be in the way. My view is that you are playing for those who did not return, as well as those who did - and everyone present will recognise every note. They will have heard one of us occasionally slip a little when it is played - but we are always forgiven.

    Play it full, make it musical, and offer it with respect - and "cream" that last note. :bravo:
  6. ozboy

    ozboy Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 17, 2007
    I've been playing the Last Post at Anzac ceremonies for about 25 years. I would strongly suggest that you do not use a mute. Try to use the acoustics of the venue ie. don't point directly at people from close range. I usually stand 30-40 metres from the senataph and point away from it. If it is a small indoor venue, I stand outide the door. Letting the sound resonate in an acoustice environment will take the edge off your sound a little. remember, it was played across open spaces so standing away from the intended audience is probably more historically correct.
    Obviously you must trying to produce a sound that is suitable. Using a 'doo' tonguing model rather than a 't' can help.
  7. Trumpet-Golfer

    Trumpet-Golfer Pianissimo User

    Dec 9, 2008
    Liverpool, England
    I’ve been playing the last post (and Taps) for the last year about once a week as part of my weekly practice routine. G just above the staff is my limit (and has been for the last year) as the last year has progressed I have slowly got better control of this note in terms of tonal quality and note length. To sum up it’s my benchmark piece.
    Now then, to get to my observation:
    When I compare it to a professional last post (or Taps) bugle call, my renditions sound at best bright and at worst harsh when playing the notes open. I get better results in terms of bugle sound comparison when playing the notes 2nd, 1st or 1st & 2nd valve.

  8. JonJo

    JonJo New Friend

    Apr 4, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Thanks for the replies and advice guys!

    I was told that they only play reveille at the dawn services. Otherwise, its just Last Post combined with the Rouse for the flag raising.

    I find that it helps immensely, but come double tonguing and im effectively stuffed :-(
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  9. Graham

    Graham Pianissimo User

    Jun 8, 2008
    Melbourne, Australia
    I got a bugle off Ebay for $70 a couple of years back, with a view to playing it at all the Last-Post gigs I get throughout the year, but I find I'm hesitant to play with that horn due to the nasty intonation. The G is far too sharp for me to bear!

    I tend to play it on the trumpet anyway. It is definitely acceptable. One thing that I always keep in mind while playing the Last Post is that, while being a bugle call, it MUST be played MUSICALLY and with MEANING.

    THAT is what makes it effective.
  10. Dr. Zink

    Dr. Zink Pianissimo User

    Feb 8, 2007
    North Coast US
    At this point it probably isn't advisable to play it on anythig other than what you're used to. You certainly wouldn't want to over-/under-shoot a partial because it isn't where you expect it to be. A different mouthpiece (flugel horn perhaps?) might be less risky and more forgiving if you want to go for a different sound. As previous posts have said, play for those you're honoring, not those who are listening. For what's its worth, taps is by far the hardest thing for me to play, simply because of what it means.

    Dr. Z

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