The Sound Of Keyed Brass

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gsmonks, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    Yeah, I've seen those keyed trumpets for sale, I think on the Antique Sound Workshop site. They's s'pensive. This one is a Weidinger 6-key copy, if I'm remembering correctly.
  2. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    You'd be surprised (maybe not) at how many of us brass players started out playing other instruments. I started out on pie-anna (like a good many kids), took to clarinet and oboe easily, which I still play, but preferred playing brass.

    Yeah, fiddling with reeds . . . buying a whole bloody box and maybe one out of five is good. Trying things to salvage the rest. Whee.
  3. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    The odd thing about keyed brass is that some guys have the knack while many don't. I don't know what the problem is, but most guys just can't find the sweet spot. Others take to them like ducks to water, and can get keyed and holed brass to "speak" fully and easily. Especially this young guy, Pat Wibart:

    The "knack" is knowing when to push at the right time and hold back at other times, in order to improve tone and correct intonation, and make it sound as though it's all part of the performance. This kid seemed to take to it instinctively, and now he has videos all over the Boob, and I think he might be selling CD's.

    I've always had an easy time with keyed brass, but never have been able to borrow one long enough to get really good at it. So I'm always just getting good at it, when- YOINK!


    The thing of it is, despite how finicky keyed and holed brass can be, the instruments have far more character and can play with far more expression than their valved counterparts.

    If you listen to the Eb soprano keyed bugle solo after the cornopean solo in Zampa, and compare it to the orchestral version, the strings sound a little on the cute side, but with the keyed bugle you can imagine a saucy little kid going, "Nyah, nyah, nyah." What's implied with strings speaks with the keyed bugle.

    The attraction of keyed brass is that, compared to modern valved brass, its like the difference between driving a motorbike and driving a car, or flying an open biplane vs a modern plane with a pressurised cabin.

    Plus- when you're listening to Zampa played by a keyed brass band, you're hearing what the Industrial Revolution sounded like, literally. The first guys to make brass instruments for these bands were industrial valve-makers and sheet-metal workers who teamed up to make instruments. They were engineers and machinists first before they were instrument-builders. The same guys who were making steam-valves, engines and whistles, who were making all the noises you'd hear during the Industrial Revolution, were the same guys who were taking that same equipment and making music out of it. It's literally the Industrial Revolution making music that reflected itself.

    The waltz, by the way, was meant to reflect the turning of gears in machinery. The waltz of this period was likewise a product of the Industrial Revolution. People were revelling in the promise of the times when they got together and danced.
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I don't know why anyone, other than someone who is into historical stuff, would want a keyed trumpet - it's inferior in almost every way to a modern, piston valve trumpet.
  5. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    It's a matter of taste. They not "inferior". Not in any way. What they are is different.

    I consider the modern trumpet a piece of crap. The sound has no character whatsoever. I can't imagine why anyone would want to play one :^)
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Go back and listen to the recording of the 3rd Movement of the Haydn I posted - that's a pretty clear illustration that the keyed trumpet is inferior to the modern piston valve trumpet. Aside from that, if the keyed trumpet was superior, it'd still be produced and sold as the main instrument - it isn't.

    As for the modern trumpet having no character....seriously? :roll:
    tobylou8 likes this.
  7. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    I also play in a Civil War Brass Band, Excelsior Cornet Band. Check out our website, I play a seven keyed bugle, a Hall and Quinby SARV Eflat soprano and a Stencil SARV B flat.

  8. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Bb cornet, front row on the right. I'm on the far right on this CD cover, too...;-)

  9. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    I'm familiar with your guys' band. Do you know Kenton Scott, by any chance? He plays with the Wildcat organisation. Also plays oph.
  10. gsmonks

    gsmonks Piano User

    I can't tell from the photo. Is that a side-action or a TARV horn? I just saw a refurbished TARV horn for sale, I think on eBay, a few days ago. Your horn looks to have been refurbished?

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