starting on piccolo trumpet

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by simonstl, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

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    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    I was talking with a friend of mine, not a trumpet player, about buying this crazy valve trombone and enjoying playing lower notes.

    His response was something like "why would you do that? If I was going to play trumpet, I'd go straight for the piccolo trumpet, and play the highest notes possible," particularly the second Brandenburg Concerto.

    I kind of sputtered something about it being harder to play than regular trumpet, but quickly realized that I've never played one, and don't really know. From conversation around here, it seems like everyone starts on regular trumpets and then possibly go to piccolo trumpets.

    But could someone like my obstinate friend start on a piccolo? Or would he just be mostly silent, or maybe playing piccolo pedal tones?

    Just a curiosity question - I don't plan to try this myself anytime soon.

    Thanks,
     
  2. SpiritDCI08

    SpiritDCI08 Piano User

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    Feb 11, 2009
    Fort Campbell, KY
    I'd never start on any speciality of anything. You should always start with the basics. I played a piccolo trumpet for a concert once. It was difficult to play and require a good amount of playing to get used to it. As for starting on it, I believe it to be irrresponible but possible. Maybe I'm wrong, I'm not an trumpet expert, I'm sure Rowuk would have something good to say about this. I simply won't do it. To me it's like how my dad taught me to shoot. He started me out on a .22 to get the hang of shooting. He told me that I could use a .30 yet because I'd learn to build bad habits like finching when I shot. I think this would apply to a piccolo trumpet too.
     
  3. Artemisia

    Artemisia Pianissimo User

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    Jan 24, 2009
    Austria
    If your dear friend wants to mess around a little bit, ok, let him play the piccolo. It will be fun for anybody listening to this epic fail.

    If he wants to play the piccolo in a serious way, he ought to play the "normal" trumpet first, just to get a feeling for what it needs to play any kind of trumpet.

    Btw, why do you want to play a valve trombone? If you want to get any trombone-like sound, start playing the real trombone. A valve trombone will never sound like a real trombone.
     
  4. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

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    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    This is about what I was guessing, though who knows? "Epic fail" might just drive him to try it. We'll see. I don't think he has ready access to one in any case, and I won't likely be in the area if he finds one.

    On the valve trombone, I didn't set out to play valve trombone. I'd gotten back into trumpet but realized that I like the low notes best, which is odd for trumpet. I was thinking along the lines of euphonium or tuba, but along came a valve trombone on Craigslist for $50. It's not even a great valve trombone, but it works well enough, and it's been lots of fun getting started.

    It does feel strange holding a trombone and having no slide, and of course there's no glissando, but I'm not particularly aiming for trombone sound, just "low brass".

    Thanks!
     
  5. The Dutch Guy

    The Dutch Guy Piano User

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    Sep 22, 2008
    Netherlands
    I have a piccolo, and if you play what is written for a regular trumpet, and play it on the piccolo, you'll sound one octave higher, BUT, the piccolo's middle C is exacly as difficult as the high C on a regular. so if your friend can't play the trumpet, he can't play the piccolo.
    Every note you can get out of a piccolo, you can also get out of a regular trumpet. same is true backwards. a note you cannot get out of a regular trumpet, you can't get out of a piccolo trumpet (using the same mouthpiece). hitting notes is easier, and the sound is a bit different.

    I do not reccomend starting on piccolo, cause you can't start with playing high notes. you have to be able to play low notes first, before moving on to high notes. they are harder, and you have to train your lips.
    compare it to bodybuilding. you don't start with lifting 150 KG if you have never even lifted 50 KG. after years of training, you can.
     
  6. Artemisia

    Artemisia Pianissimo User

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    Jan 24, 2009
    Austria
    Ok, if you want to play low notes without missing the typical sound of a trumpet, playing the valve trombone is the best you can do. I guess you're not into "mellow brass" (baritone horn etc) - you want the bright sound.
    ;-)
     
  7. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

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    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    "Mellow brass" would be wonderful too - if it shows up on Craigslist for $50, or when I manage to save enough for more instruments.

    I haven't even seen a slide trombone go by for $50 on our local Craigslist, so I'm feeling especially blessed by the valve trombone. (Despite its nickel plating, its weight, the bit of leakage at the joint, the relative stiffness of the valves, and so on.)

    If I see a piccolo trumpet go by, I'll have to grab it too... not likely!
     
  8. Artemisia

    Artemisia Pianissimo User

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    Jan 24, 2009
    Austria
    I some some "Tenorhorn" playing - and I love it.

    The "Tenorhorn" in Middle Europe is not the same thing as the "tenor horn" (the E-flat tenor horn), btw. A "Tenorhorn" looks a little bit like a baritone horn, but you can play higher notes on it than on a baritone horn. Where I live the "tenor horn" is called "alto horn" ("Althorn" in German).

    Here's a Middle European "Tenorhorn" (you don't need to understand the text, just take a look at the picture):
    Tenorhorn – Wikipedia
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    everything new and exciting blocks out a bit of common sense. That is not a problem if we are in tune to ourselves.

    The biggest problem with the picc is that it is an octave higher than a conventional horn, with a much smaller bell and bore. The tendency is to try and get the "big horn sound" out of it. That is not what this axe is for. That doesn't matter for the first couple of weeks anyway.

    My recommendation is to start with easy tunes, not too high, not too low. Just making MUSIC. Then Clarke, lip slurs and long tones up an octave fill out the rest. C, D and Eb transposition come next, and then oboe concertos. Things like the Brandenburg can be played with on occasion, but make no real sense until the player is serious about this type of playing. I need 3 months or so to get in the Brandenburg groove. I have the range right away, but not the groove.

    Like everything else trumpet, preparation is the key to the most fun!

    Good luck
     
  10. zipperdu

    zipperdu New Friend

    I'd agree with rowuk, a new horn is exciting to try but to really play it one must be proficient. That would mean lottsa time with a Bb horn..... Another issue is that a pic will magnify any intonation issues the player might have- you must be very familar with your tuner...otherwise take it easy and have fun, that's what we all want!

    Good luck, Zip
     

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