Quintet playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Eclipsehornplayer, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I have been asked to play in a brass quintet on the second Trumpet part and of course have accepted most graciously. Having never played in this capacity I thought I’d post this out here and see what suggestions I might be able to get from the valuable resources that are here at TM.

    The piece were playing is “The Maid of the Mist†by Herbert L. Clarke. Kind of reminds me of the boats by the same name that take you up under Niagara Falls.

    Of course I’ll be wood shedding my piece and I was given a stated tempo in the neighborhood of ¼ = 90 beats per minute. What I’m looking for are general suggestions for playing in this setting.

    I assume that I will need to keep a keen ear to the 1st Trumpet player and be certain to maintain proper balance with him as well as the rest of the group. I’m sure that now more then ever dynamics will be VERY important.

    I’ve transposed and transcribed my part from Bb to C so that I can use my Bach 229/25A on this piece as I believe it has a better sound and will complement the lead players Bach Bb. We’ll be playing just prior to a High School Band Concert in an auditorium that seats in the ballpark of 700 to 1000. I’m not nervous yet but I’m sure I will be!

    So; any suggestions?
  2. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

    Dec 13, 2005
    As a NON-professional who thinks quintet playing is some of the most rewarding brass playing, as well as potentially the most difficult this is my .00002 of a cent.

    The key is, be ready for anything. Versatility and the ability to adapt is of the utmost importance. You are correct in that keep a keen ear on the 1st trumpet, but also keep in mind due to the limited # of parts the 2nd will often have the melody and be cognizant of when that happens.

    Style is very important (it always is, but it is magnified in the quintet setting IMHO)

    Another factor for me when I was playing in a quintet is the endurance. Depending on how many charts etc... that can become huge since again, the limited # of players vs the necessary harmony etc...

    If you are only playing the one piece, then hopefully that won't be an issue.

    I know there are other much more accomplished quintet players on here so I'll leave it at that.
  3. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Thanks Dave,

    Sounds like good advice; it's noted for sure.

    Fortunately it's just the one piece. I'm the lead 3rd player in the community band I play in so the music I'm responsible for in this piece is a nice departure from what I'm accustomed to. I look forward to the challenge and thanks again for the advice. Having never played in a quintet setting I'm sure your advice will be a big help to me.
  4. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Have fun, John!!! Quintet playing is something I've always enjoyed, but don't get anymore due to a lack of those big huge things that look like they could heat your house.

    Intamacy is the big issue. Being able to converse musically with your first player. Recognizing when you are a soloist and supporter, and being able to adjust your playing within that context are key. (No pun intended...). If the first uses a Bb, you should, too.

    Remember always that YOU have ownership in the ensemble as much as anyone else in the group, so don't be shy to speak up in rehearsal if you need to work out something or feel something is not right.

    I'm happy for you!:bravo::woop:
  5. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    You're playing trumpets and not cornets?????? On a Clarke piece????

    Just messing with you. Whether you have the melody line or not, each instrument in a quintet should play as if they're playing a solo. By that, I mean with style, presence, and extreme musicality. Your styles should match, of course, and this is sometimes hard to do with limited rehearsals. Intonation is also very important. If this piece is like many quintet pieces, each part is very exposed and any wrong or missed notes are very apparent. Are you nervous yet?:-)

    That said, quintet playing can be very enjoyable and rewarding. YOU'RE the man - the only one responsible for that part. You can make it sing without any interference from other section players. If I had the time, I'd join another brass quintet. Ours has been corrupted by the "Civil War bug", and now we play only 3 or 4 "legit" quintet gigs a year. I miss it.:-(
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    If it is an established quintet and you get to fill somebody else's shoes, it can be a blast -- all you have to remember is rather than just playing your part under a conductor, you'll be fitting your part into the right places.

    You might want to reconsider going for the "C sound" as a means of matching the other trumpet and seek a sound that fills the gap between 1st trumpet and horn. We used rotary Bbs in the Sueddeutsches Blechblaeser Quintett and it mixed real well across the ensemble.

    Play the piece as a group together about a zillion times, with a minimum of comments, and try to let the “music play the band.â€

    Have fun! Quintets are an awesome way to make music!
  7. JStrube

    JStrube New Friend

    Jan 18, 2006
    Is your Bb a Bach? If not, then the Bach C would match better.
  8. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    We always play Clarke pieces on Trumpets. It's like no one plays cornets down here. Almost every part we play in the community band was written for Cornet but we play trumpets go figure!

    Thanks Dale! No presure eh?

    I am looking forward to it. As a dedicated 3rd player it is very challenging and between dynamics, articulation, and matching the 1st player I'm sure I'll be quite busy.
  9. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Thanks for chiming in.

    It is a new quintet being put together so I'm in on the ground floor. I know the 1st Trumpet player he and I attend the same church so he hears me play every Sunday and I have played along side him before.

    I wanted to go with the "C" rather then my "Bb" becuase it is a Bach and so is the leads Bb. I thought they might match better.

    Maybe what I'll do is practice the part in C and Bb and then reherse it both ways on both my Trumpets and see what the group feels is best.

    Thanks again for the adivce!
  10. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    No Bb is a 1964 King Silverflair
    C is a 1994 Bach 229/25A

    Thanks for chiming in.

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