Natural Trumpet playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by RSemar, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. RSemar

    RSemar New Friend

    Dec 4, 2008
    Omaha NE/St. Louis MO
    So I was browsing around the CDs of the University library today looking for some French trumpet playing because I'm rather clueless...and I came across this recording:

    Baroque Trumpet and Strings
    Paul Plunkett plays Corelli, Telemann, Biber, Molter, Purcell, Torelli and Handel

    So it's Paul Plinkett, one of the world's greatest trumpet players playing natural trumpet. Of course, I picked it up. Now he's playing NATURAL trumpet. No valves, no slides, all he's got in his tool bag is his face. And he's playing chromatically in the middle register. How is it possible? I can't figure it out. He's not playing way up in the register, I mean, he's playing C5, D5, and E5 all in the same passage, he's not changing crooks or anything...It seems like he has to be cheating somehow. Anybody a natural trumpet player/know what's going on with this?
  2. jcstites

    jcstites Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 1, 2005
    Tallahassee, FL
    Vent holes?
  3. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    C5, D5, and E5 isn´t really what we usually call "chromatically".
    A more common word in this case would be "diatonically".

    Any natural trumpet can play this sequence if its fundamental
    tone is a C and the C in the sequence is four octavas above that
    fundamental C.
    Another way is to use the vent holes mentioned.
    Just think of a recorder or a clarinet (forgive me for using the C-word)
    or a flute or sax. They play cromatically in their entire (usable) register . . .
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    No vent holes necessary. Paul's own method for natural trumpet includes exercizes to "bend" notes, allowing for a certain amount of chromatic playing.

    It is maybe significant to mention that the baroque and classical era with the trumpet did not suffer because of bad intonation. Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart...... would not have tolerated it! There is also no history of vent holes back then. If a real nat is all that you have, then you do what is necessary

    For those interested in learning these techniques, I can recommend Paul's book "Technische und musikalische Übungen für Barocktrompete".
  5. hornblatt

    hornblatt Pianissimo User

    Jul 30, 2005
    DC area
    Think harmonic series (C-C-G-C-E-G-[Bb]-C-D-E-F/F#,G etc). A piece of tubing at a specific length will produce at least part of the series. On modern trumpet we have valves that add tubing in order to fill in the spaces in the series (2nd valve lowers 1/2 step, first 1 whole step etc.). Unlike modern trumpet, Natural trumpet starts a lot lower so that you hit the whole steps in the mid range. On modern, you would only get those in the high range (past high C in open position). I'm to tired right now to go through the actual intervals and pitches.... I really need a horn to demonstrate (first thing I teach students) but that's my basic explaination.

    Which reminds me. I haven't picked up my no-hole in a while... time to go practice.
  6. ChopsGone

    ChopsGone Forte User

    Jan 26, 2009
    Northern California
    Nick Drozdoff has an interesting piece on YouTube about constructing a natural trumpet from 1/2" PVC - and it didn't sound as bad as you might expect. If you're serious about it, Edward Tarr has a series of books which can help you through the process. My natural trumpet, a rather crudely done thing in F, arrived today and I've already managed a bit over the first octave in the clarino register with reasonable intonation. There are still light years to go, but it's certainly fun. My granddaughter tried it with more modest results, but sounded pretty decent as far as she got. It's going to be this summer's secret lesson plan to keep her ahead of the guys in her section.

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