Playing Taps w/o Using Valves

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Eeviac, Jan 14, 2008.


    BADBOY-DON Piano User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Gig Harbor Wa.
    For some outstanding links...that anyone who would love to learn more about performing TAPS just HAVE TO CHECK OUT THIS WEBSITE.
    Bugles Across America : Home
  2. JustinSmith

    JustinSmith Piano User

    Nov 6, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    Hi guys,

    I was looking on Walter White's web site to get a link for his long tone CD, and came across this. I remembered there was a thread about taps not too long ago.

    Taps for Maynard:
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    While it is perhaps MOST honorable to have live music at ANY important occasion, it is not DISHONORABLE to have recorded music - it is merely a shame.
    If we take the job seriously, most any of us can do a fine job and believe me, the effort even if it is not 100% perfect will be much appreciated. Wrong notes can be easily eliminated. A cracked one, outdoors during a very emotional time will not destroy the experience.
    To "hear" the first note that we play, press the first and third valve down and pop the mouthpiece (strike the rim with the cup of our hand). Ã low G will sound. Our first note is one octave higher. Keep the horn warm before playing.
  4. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Yesterday I played a beautiful, perfect, liquid Taps at an active duty memorial service. How do I do it easily? besides lots of practice, of coarse, I always find it best to distance myself physically and emotionally from the ceremony. If you can get far enough away that you can't hear too much of the grieving but can still be heard and can see your cue, it's a lot easier too keep from getting too emotional to play properly. For example, for yesterday's service it was a small chapel, so I played outside the door. I never entered the chapel during the service, I just had to wait for the door to open and then play. If you can't do someothing like that, find a way to zone out and think about something else. It's no dishonor to the dead to do this - just do what you need to do to be able to control your emotions and play. I've done hundreds of these with success - works every time!
    I take this part of my job very seriously - sometimes this is the last contact the family has with the military, and I try to make it as good as possible. Yes, the family will still thank you even if it sucks, but don't start performing taps unless you can definately handle it. It is a lot nicer to have a live player than that stupid ceremonial bugle, though - that thing is awful!
  5. Jarrett

    Jarrett Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Richland, MO
    I've played taps for hundreds of active duty Army funerals and the above poster has the ticket. Emotional distance is key to consistent, quality Taps. It also helps you deal with the emotional drainage of constantly providing honors at these ceremonies.
    Don't practice Taps anywhere except a cemetary or sound proof room, and be dressed like you would for a funeral. Another tip is to time yourself playing, because at some funerals I've played, the fly over needs you to play like 52-54 seconds in order to have the jets go overhead right at the last note. Good luck!
  6. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    I am going to point out ad nausium that Walter White did not play Taps correctly. He played the middle section with dotted eighth notes instead of the correct straight eighth notes. This error is constantly repeated by well meaning trumpet players which perpetuates it to new players. Hollywood directors perpetuate the error because the professionals in Hollywood allow it to happen.

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    Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
  7. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I did the same until I was enlightened by Yari Villanueva. He sat in with our band on a gig a year or two ago, and we had an interesting conversation. I also got to take a look at a couple of his Bach bugles. They are very nice.

    I play it correctly now.;-)
  8. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    When in doubt, listen to Yari Villaneuva. He has done the research on Taps and its history. Also, Flugelgirl has it correct. It is important to distance yourself from the emotion of the event. I had to play Taps at my Uncle's funeral (WWII Navy) and had to concentrate on the notes and flow of the tune. I couldn't do it at my mother or dad's funeral, though. I had to hire some friends to do it for me. I do play it every year at Memorial Day when planting flowers on graves.
  9. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    I have played for several funerals and have received compliments to the funeral director by the honor guard and that really meant alot to me. I have always refused payment, the way I figure it it is just a very small way that I can attempt to help pay back those who served our great nation. I usually try to stay out of sight or off some where that I am not in direct line of sight [it is not about me but the one who just passed. I really don't like doing it but only do it as a favor. Dave
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2008
  10. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.

    While, in principal I agree with Dave about payment for sounding Taps, I have had a few occurances where I had told the person in charge of the funeral that I do this service gratis and as an honorarium to the decedant, then, have a family member present me with an envelope. Am I, then, to refuse this gift from their heart? In my opinion, This would constitute a slap in the face for refusing a gift. I have considered not cashing the check, but realise that this would only mess up their account balancing. In these cases, I thank the giver for the envelope, open it when I get home and cash the check, donating the money to one of my favorite veterans charities in the name of the decedant. I know that this charity always sends a thank you to each donor. the giver of the check will realise the source of the donation.


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