Rotary horns.....educate please

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    I viewed the Thread about Ricco Rotary Trumpets; beautiful instruments! I don't know anything about rotary trumpets. Can someone tell me why/when they are preferable to play, do you oil them like regular pistons, are they difficult to maintain/adjust on your own. If they have the beautiful sound described in the Ricco thread why don't Jazz players use them? I'd appreciate any time taken to educate me about rotary trumpets, etc...............crow
  2. tpetplyr

    tpetplyr Pianissimo User

    Dec 15, 2003
    Rotary trumpets are typically used in American orchestras for Austro-German repertoire of the Classical and Early- to Mid- Romantic periods for a more 'authentic' sound. If one is lucky the trombones will also switch to smaller bore instruments for music of this period s/t the entire brass section conforms.
    I like the sound of a rotary and would really like to get one. One thing I've noticed is the way they blend with the horn, differently from the way a piston does: they seem to make the horn/trumpet sound dominate the trombone/trumpet sound whereas a piston would lean the other way.

    I've heard of at least one Jazz player using a rotary, though for the life of me cannot remember his name. I'd imagine that a big portion of the reason that they're not used in Jazz is tradition: the German rotary trumpet isn't exactly American.

    As for the pistons, I'm not really sure because I don't own one. Ask one of your friends who plays horn, it's the same mechanism.

  3. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 16, 2007
    Chesapeake, VA
    My fiancee plays Horn... let me tell you, I am not envious of the work that goes into maintaining rotary valves!! Not to mention it seems to be fairly difficult to adjust/replace the cording when it breaks, unless of course you have lots of experience with it! Still, I would love to play a rotary trumpet!
  4. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    I think that Claudio Roditi plays jazz on a rotary.
    I own 4 rotary instruments. Two modern, a Boehm and Meinl B flat and a Schertzer piccolo. Two Civil war era, a B flat and an e flat soprano rotary cornet. They all play well, the main differences are the lead pipe is much shorter than a piston instrument, so air goes almost directly into/through the first valve. Because these horns are played sideways, water collects in different places, sometimes cumbersome to drain. Rotaries are typically smaller bore with larger bells. I think that my Boehm and Meinl B flat is a .423 bore with a 5 3/8 inch bell. These instruments have a more fluid feel from note to note but are not as quick as piston valves.
  5. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 13, 2007
    Quebec City, QC, Canada
    They also apparently have a different sound.

    A Bach

    A Lechner rotary

    The difference in sound is supposedly due to the fact the rotary valve section is closer to the mouthpiece than the pistons are on a "normal" trumpet. Therefore, the bell has a longer conical section, giving the horn a rounder sound.

    Sound excerpts taken from Choix d'une trompette
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    The rotary trumpets are closer to a "true" trumpet than the modern piston models. The early ones (I own a Schediwy made before 1918) even had a straight leadpipe, so the only flare was in the bell. Modern instruments have a tapered leadpipe (shorter than piston-valved) but again, no taper until the bell flare. In general the bore is smaller and the bell bigger, giving the instrument a more noble sound, which can absolutely "blaze" at mf on some instruments. The "throw" is shorter with rotors, but they do invovle some right angles whenever a valve is depressed. Rotary valve trumpets usually require less care than pistons, although horns (which are left-handed backwards built f tubas) do seem to have their problems, but hey, they're the whiners of the brass world anyway.

    In the orchestra, great sounding as they are, rotaries don't stand much of a chance against large bore trombones, and for pieces like Carmina Burana a piston C is the weapon of choice.
  7. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 16, 2007
    Chesapeake, VA
    Yeah... they are whiners... I tell her all the time I don't trust any instrument that sounds better when you shove your hand in the bell!! LMAO...
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The modern american trumpet is in fact not a trumpet any more.

    The definition between the horn and trumpet family was always the proportion of cylindrical to conical tubing. Modern american trumpets (especially with reversed leadpipe tuning slides) are conical almost up to the valve block and then after the valve block to the end of the bell - the definition of a horn!
    The rotary valved trumpet is at least 50% cylindrical and still qualifies like the trombone to be a member of the trumpet family!

    The rotary trumpet has a different sound depending on the register, low register big and fat, middle register clear and "noble", the upper register brilliant. Austro-German compositions are voiced to use those rotary colors! An american trumpet has a very even sound from top to bottom! It is harder to get a german trumpet to "distort" the sound. In theory, an orchestral trumpet player "needs" both types!
  9. mattdalton

    mattdalton Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2005
    Newcastle, WA USA
  10. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    Jimmy Owens plays an Alexander 4 valved rotary flugelhorn. He sounds real nice on it:cool:

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