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Trumpet Discussion Discuss The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto in the General forums; Originally Posted by gunshowtickets I heard an ex-Canadian today say, "Australia is the hot Canada." There's some truth to that. ...
  1. #41
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    Re: The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto

    Quote Originally Posted by gunshowtickets View Post
    I heard an ex-Canadian today say, "Australia is the hot Canada."
    There's some truth to that. While Canada wasn't exactly a penile colony (well, it kind of was. Lots of guys being "punished" in both the French and English militaries were banished to Upper and Lower Canada 'way back when), there are lots of pockets of similar stock who came from the same areas in the jolly old UK. Similar humour, similar outlook, similar type of people.
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    Utimate User Peter McNeill's Avatar
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    Re: The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto

    Canadians are close relatives... and a lot of Chinese relatives. They're OK in our Books.

    I suppose if I had to Flip a coin to be English or French - I'd go to Australia...
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    Re: The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto

    It's the inbreeding. Too many Brits 'n' Frogs with no chins.
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    Re: The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto

    Quote Originally Posted by gsmonks View Post
    There's some truth to that. While Canada wasn't exactly a penile colony (well, it kind of was. Lots of guys being "punished" in both the French and English militaries were banished to Upper and Lower Canada 'way back when), there are lots of pockets of similar stock who came from the same areas in the jolly old UK. Similar humour, similar outlook, similar type of people.
    Penal colony, perhaps? Although I guess the two do tend to go together.
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    Re: The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto

    Quote Originally Posted by ChopsGone View Post
    Penal colony, perhaps? Although I guess the two do tend to go together.
    Just like Florida.

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    Re: The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto

    Quote Originally Posted by rowuk View Post
    I am also not sure of the term contralto in this context. The deep F trumpet was made more or less in two versions. The standard trumpet in F and an additional F/Eb alto trumpet with a different bore and bigger mouthpiece.
    I also am in this camp, I don't think of the original valved orchestral trumpet in F as alto in any sense. The slightly later alto trumpet though, is alto, and that's the one that interests me.

    To abuse some analogies, the modern bass trumpet (played with no valves) is the same length as a natural trumpet in Bb, yet you wouldn't mistake them for each other. The bore and bell arrangements are significantly different, not to mention the customary mouthpiece used with each.

    Or, to turn this a bit on its head, the modern piccolo trumpet and the regular trumpet have effectively the same range in spite of the length difference, on the top anyway, yet nobody would mistake them for each other! Bore and bell, again, as many use the same mouthpiece on both.

    The orchestral F trumpet has nearly the same bore and bell as the current trumpet. They sound more alike than different. (There are differences, of course.) And again, they use the same mouthpiece. But what interests me about the true alto trumpet, a horn designed to have a lower alto voice in contrast to the regular soprano voice, is its alto timbre.

    Think of the Canadian Brass's version of "Fistfull of Keys", which I believe is performed on a D trumpet. Bright, and shiny. Now, what about going the other way? (Not down to bass trumpet/trombone, that's too far.) I think that there could be some real power and richness in the middle there, if the horn and music were right, and the player were up to it. The idea intrigues me, anyway, and the territory seems relatively unexplored.
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    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Re: The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto

    I couldn't agree more. The argumentation - even with the Canadian Brass is simply the smaller horns offer more security. The quality is identical, the character is incredibly different.

    Security IS a real issue. A professional trumpet player these days can have Stravinsky, Mozart, Bach and Wagner - all in the same week. Keeping ones playing world class on the historically correct instruments is simply too great of a challenge - especially considering that the projects are not always in the tuning system of the historical period. The old instruments are then even more difficult to play. In Bruckner projects the obscession with the original sound is a problem as the 1st trumpet parts are at the limits of what is humanly possible when using a deep F trumpet - especially when played at currently popular volume levels and the original intonation of the time (A=465). My 19th century Oscar Maurus F trumpet is in modern F# and came with crooks. I had additional tuning slides built to keep some semblance of useful intonation.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimc View Post
    I also am in this camp, I don't think of the original valved orchestral trumpet in F as alto in any sense. The slightly later alto trumpet though, is alto, and that's the one that interests me.

    To abuse some analogies, the modern bass trumpet (played with no valves) is the same length as a natural trumpet in Bb, yet you wouldn't mistake them for each other. The bore and bell arrangements are significantly different, not to mention the customary mouthpiece used with each.

    Or, to turn this a bit on its head, the modern piccolo trumpet and the regular trumpet have effectively the same range in spite of the length difference, on the top anyway, yet nobody would mistake them for each other! Bore and bell, again, as many use the same mouthpiece on both.

    The orchestral F trumpet has nearly the same bore and bell as the current trumpet. They sound more alike than different. (There are differences, of course.) And again, they use the same mouthpiece. But what interests me about the true alto trumpet, a horn designed to have a lower alto voice in contrast to the regular soprano voice, is its alto timbre.

    Think of the Canadian Brass's version of "Fistfull of Keys", which I believe is performed on a D trumpet. Bright, and shiny. Now, what about going the other way? (Not down to bass trumpet/trombone, that's too far.) I think that there could be some real power and richness in the middle there, if the horn and music were right, and the player were up to it. The idea intrigues me, anyway, and the territory seems relatively unexplored.
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    Re: The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto

    Quote Originally Posted by jimc View Post
    I also am in this camp, I don't think of the original valved orchestral trumpet in F as alto in any sense. The slightly later alto trumpet though, is alto, and that's the one that interests me.

    To abuse some analogies, the modern bass trumpet (played with no valves) is the same length as a natural trumpet in Bb, yet you wouldn't mistake them for each other. The bore and bell arrangements are significantly different, not to mention the customary mouthpiece used with each.

    Or, to turn this a bit on its head, the modern piccolo trumpet and the regular trumpet have effectively the same range in spite of the length difference, on the top anyway, yet nobody would mistake them for each other! Bore and bell, again, as many use the same mouthpiece on both.

    The orchestral F trumpet has nearly the same bore and bell as the current trumpet. They sound more alike than different. (There are differences, of course.) And again, they use the same mouthpiece. But what interests me about the true alto trumpet, a horn designed to have a lower alto voice in contrast to the regular soprano voice, is its alto timbre.

    Think of the Canadian Brass's version of "Fistfull of Keys", which I believe is performed on a D trumpet. Bright, and shiny. Now, what about going the other way? (Not down to bass trumpet/trombone, that's too far.) I think that there could be some real power and richness in the middle there, if the horn and music were right, and the player were up to it. The idea intrigues me, anyway, and the territory seems relatively unexplored.
    THAT is why I intend to record some trumpet 4-tets, using SATB trumpets, not 4 C's or Bb's.

    If you want a good alto trumpet (called a "contralto"), Cerveny makes an Eb rotary (around $1000), and the discontinued Bach 187f is still to be found if you go around looking for it. I have two, that I got leads on through forums like this one. They were around $3000 new, but I've seen them for resale for $1000 to $1500.

    These are the horns that you can be sure will deliver exactly what you're looking for, instead of fiddle-farting around buying antiques, and hoping when you get them that they're what you're looking for.

    The 187f is an excellent piece of equipment. I've never once heard any complaints about its performance. The Cerveny is a horn the players have liked, but in some instances haven't found a use for, for whatever reason. The key, perhaps?

    I had a set of Eb slides made for one of my 187f's, however, and I play it mostly in Eb, even when sight-reading Horn parts in F.

    There are also a few old discontinued models of Getzen low Eb trumpets floating around out there, and guys who own 187f's have had good things to say about them.

    I'm not sure about this, but I've heard that there's a place on eBay where you can place "looking for" ads. I've never tried it, but it may turn up something for you.

    I just bought an antique contralto Eb trumpet from a fellow collector. It has a 6 1/4" bell and is a good player. I'm playing it with a Bach 9AT alto mouthpiece. It's going to be my go-to horn for recording trumpet 4-tets.
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    Re: The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto

    Quote Originally Posted by rowuk View Post
    Security IS a real issue.
    I once played the Franck symphony on a C trumpet. (This is scored for the old F trumpet.) Later I acquired an actual rotary-valve F trumpet, and tried it out on the music. Dreadful! Even if I'd had it then I'm sure I would have used the C instead, that was hard enough.

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    Re: The wimpy modern "trumpet" vs the mighty contra-alto

    The trick is not having too many other types of "modern" gigs surrounding the specialist historical ones - or you just specialize and hope that you get enough work. I have played Bruckner, Mahler, Schubert, Schumann and Franck on the low F in a variety of intonations. Most of the time the "special" sound did not leave the orchestral fabric and therefore could have been a Bb without anyone noticing. Where the trumpets get above the orchestra, then modern players have to have a special feel for what is going on, otherwise it simply sounds distorted. To do a great job in an orchestral setting, you really have to spend time in the ensemble with these beasts - but no one can afford tons of rehearsals. Recording these instruments is also a huge challenge as they are far more directional than modern horns and are pinpoint localizable if the recording engineer is not careful. If it is an ensemble with modern winds, forget it. There will never be decent balance!
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