Talk:Trumpet

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Former good article nominee Trumpet was a Music good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Talk:Trumpet/Archive1

"Further reading" format[edit]

I am a little baffled by the format of the "Further reading" section. It has title, date and SBN but no author or other data. I know that from the SBN you can get other data till it is coming out of your ears but even so I would have thought that the author was part of the minimum requirement for display on the page itself. I do tend to think of "Smithers" or "Bate" rather than "0918194024" or whatever. I know this may be some new wiki policy since I stopped being very interested (coincidentally enough, in about 1721) so if it is please enlighten me gently. Otherwise I think some nice young person should please put the authors in, thus saving this nasty old person from having to do so. :) 138.37.199.206 13:29, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

No reply. Is this utterly bizarre format seen as normal, or what? I am genuinely baffled. Nomorenonotnever (talk) 09:36, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
The further reading section was added back in August [1] and I don't think it has been edited since. Feel free to add the authors names.--Dbolton (talk) 03:20, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

That C and B-flat sentence[edit]

I believe the sentence was saying that the most common place one would find a C trumpet is in an American orchestra, not that the C trumpet is the most common trumpet used in American orchestras. I've changed it to say that more clearly (I hope!). The first sentence in that paragraph should just simply state that the B-flat is the most common horn, since it probably accounts for 99.9% of trumpets being used in any ensemble - jazz bands, concert bands, wind ensembles, rock and roll, etc. etc. Feel free to change it or tweak it further, but I think the problem was in that sentence being a little unclear. - Special-T (talk) 00:26, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree on this one. Maybe we should expand the differences in geographical uses of models of turmpet. e.g. Gret-Britain and Russia will have almost no C trumpets in orchestral use, whereas France and the Netherlands will have virtually no Bb trumpets at all in the same symphony orchestras. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.94.67.74 (talk) 09:47, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Musical pieces[edit]

This is a seemingly random list of musical pieces that may involve the use of the trumpet. The Musical pieces section needs to be built up carefully with explanations of why each piece has been chosen, and those explanations backed up with sources. I move the list here for people to use as a starting point (or to completely ignore as useless - it's up to you!). SilkTork *YES! 13:55, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

→What I remember from a few years ago is starting a section with a list of orchestral excerpts used to audition for major orchestras. This list might be extremely useful. It perhaps has since wandered. dfrankow (talk) 17:04, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Solos[edit]

The chromatic trumpet was first made in the late 1700s, but there were several solos written for the natural trumpet that are now played on piccolo trumpet. Some important works of trumpet repertoire are:

Natural Trumpet/Piccolo Trumpet

Other[edit]

Homophony and the Role of the Trumpet[edit]

I believe the contention that, "The melody-dominated homophony of the classical and romantic periods relegated the trumpet to a secondary role by most major composers" to be false. While the trumpet often served a secondary role, much like the timpani, during the Classical period, this does not hold true during the Romantic period. Important 19th century composers such as Mahler and Bruckner often featured the trumpet. The opening solo of Mahler's Fifth Symphony, for example, features an unaccompanied trumpet. Trumpets, along with the other brass instruments, were often given melodic primacy and played important thematic roles throughout the nineteenth century. It is inaccurate, therefore, to say that the trumpet held a secondary role during the Romantic period. Sethbowers (talk) 17:09, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

True, but compared to the Baroque period the Classical orchestral trumpet was much less prominent, having a more-or-less punctuating role. 90.205.92.150 (talk) 05:31, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Rectangular trumpets?[edit]

The sentence in the "construction" section about the tubing being bent into a rectangle is misleading at best - the straight sections are, of course, connected with curved sections and the overall shape is not rectangular. The statement is also not supported by the reference it claims as support (#8- which has very little actual info about the trumpet). The second sentence of the article also mentions "rectangular" shape. - Special-T (talk) 03:42, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Question at Sinfonietta (Janáček)[edit]

In the instrumentation of the Sinfonietta (Janáček), are the trumpets in F pitched above or below the trumpets in C? Badagnani (talk) 04:13, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Above. Nearly all F trumpet parts are high, that is, they sound a fourth above the written pitch. It's quite unusual for them to be low and when it is it's always made clear. Low would put those Janacek parts into an alto register where they'd have trouble cutting through and would be mixed up with the horns and trombones, whereas on recordings you hear them soaring over much of the orchestra. Hope this helps. Nomorenonotnever (talk) 08:46, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Trumpet/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review. Hi, I'm sorry to say I've failed this article's GA nomination. There are a few significant issues (see criteria) which need addressing. Namely,

  • References - need formatting ({{cite web}} is good)... publisher information, access dates, etc.
    • I'd expect there to be a lot of book references (Google Books at worst) as opposed to some random websites.
    • There are a lot of unsourced statements... random example; the Fingering section.
  • Prose and MOS - "A common method book for beginners is the "Walter Beeler Method", and there have been several instruction books written by virtuoso Allen Vizzutti." - books go in italics, not quotation marks, and this sentence needs rewording. This is one random example, not a rule.

Please do renominate when you think the article meets the GA criteria. Good luck, giggy (:O) 02:26, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

      • Can you be more specific about the web citations? I don't quite follow. Trumpetrep (talk) 17:59, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

History confusion[edit]

When it says "bronze and silver trumpets" in the history section, does that mean:

  • Trumpets consisting of bronze and silver, or
  • Trumpets made of bronze and trumpets made of silver?

This question may be confusing at first, but it'll come to you. Please answer this question ASAP! QuackOfaThousandSuns (talk) 02:53, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

External link recommendation[edit]

What would peoples' opinion be of a link to TrumpetGuru? It is an educational site with extended articles on subjects raised on the main page, especially trumpet history and construction. Also resources for trumpet players such as charts for scales and fingerings. Mdkingston (talk) 10:43, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Animated valve operation[edit]

I'm completely familiar with how trumpets work, but when I first saw the diagram explaining the valve operation, it confused me. On closer inspection, I can see that yes, it is technically accurate, just a bit difficult to interpret. I think it would be very cool if we could change this to be an animated image. It should use some aspect of 3d perspective so the construction of the valve is more evident, and it should have arrows zooming along showing how the air flows between the different valve positions. Am I going to do this? Probably not, unless I get extremely bored; I just wanted to throw the thought out there. -Verdatum (talk) 17:50, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Playing[edit]

There is a lot of important communal knowledge about how to play the trumpet. Some is captured in the "Embouchure" ref, but where is any discussion of breathing, mouthpiece pressure, etc? I started or contributed to that section long ago, and now it's gone. dfrankow (talk) 17:06, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

See WP:NOT#HOWTO - Wikipedia is not a "how-to" manual, but an encyclopedia, so that information is not appropriate. Also, information added needs to have published references. - Special-T (talk) 18:50, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Players[edit]

There is much talk of jazz trumpeters, but very little given about classical trumpeters and the evolution in that realm. I would like to see this expanded. Abh535s (talk) 06:59, 9 February 2009 (UTC) You just load up the page with lots of mediocre African American trumpet players, but you refuse to put the white Christian trumpet players on it like Dan Oxley, Dr. Michael E. Schmidt and Phil Driscoll. Then you erase my discussion comments because you know I am right. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.251.125.123 (talk) 15:04, 28 February 2011 (UTC) Can't see how there can be no mention of Miles Davis in the notable Jazz trumpeters section. I greatly respect all of the white guys the previous poster mentioned, but there is technique and then there is the stuff Miles showed us. There is really no comparison here, Miles innovated in a way none of the others mentioned could **OR DID**. Miles deserves rightly to have a mention, and if it comes to a choice between Dan Oxley and Miles, this middle aged white guy gets that Miles is the notable charachter. (no offense Dan, Dr Mike or Phil, but I am sure each of them would agree)71.184.157.245 (talk) 01:11, 20 March 2011 (UTC)Mark

Imagery[edit]

Is it just me, or is the trumpeter depicted under "Extended technique" actually holding a trombone. I'll leave it for a few days, but if no one objects I'm going to edit it out of the article.Lidmann (talk) 17:17, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

If you meant the picture of Dizzy Gillespie, then that is a trumpet not a trombone. I added an explanatory note to the image caption.--dbolton (talk) 02:11, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Even then there are questions. Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet looks like it's broken somehow. Or is it possible to move the bell up while keeping the valves parallel to the ground without breaking the instrument? Willi Gers07 (talk) 19:03, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
The slides and crooks of any brass instrument start out as straight tubes, and are bent to shape. Don't try it at home. __Just plain Bill (talk) 19:28, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Willi Gers07: See Dizzy Gillespie for more information on his trumpet.--dbolton (talk) 02:08, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
No, there was a brass band image. It was very small and hard to discern, but none of the instruments looked like a trumpet, so I removed it. - Special-T (talk) 11:29, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

I believe the caption under the photo of a piccolo trumpet is in error. It should probably indicate the pictured configuration is in C. The medium leadpipe would make it B-flat and the large would be A. In any case, it can't very well be B-flat both as pictured, and with a different length leadpipe....

Also, the Dizzy Gillespie bent trumpet was as much a signature as his grotesquely inflated face when he played. The angle of the bell was presumably intended to project the sound more efficiently to the audience, rather like some euphoniums having bells that point straight up, and others bent to face forwards, or a tuba (up) and a Sousaphone (forward). Whether it really achieved this, or just looked distinctive I can't comment on.24.130.171.10 (talk) 05:32, 11 April 2011 (UTC) Warren Houghton

Note: (just a year or two late!) ... with regard to "I believe the caption under the photo of a piccolo trumpet is in error. It should probably indicate the pictured configuration is in C." - this, with the greatest respect, is entirely wrong, and the caption is indeed correct. The Selmer picc is in Bb in the photo, and beside it are spare leadpipes in Bb and A. The Bb pipe installed, and the A pipe sitting there, are Blackburns. You can see their little fishy logo on both pipes in the photo. The Bb pipe out of use is the original Selmer that came with the instrument. You can't change that picc to C, it has nothing to do with the pitch C, and there isn't a "medium" pipe, just 2 Bbs and an A. Sorry. Hope this helps. Best wishes DBaK (talk) 22:16, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

Move Maynard stuff[edit]

Way too much about one player, and some of it is blatant POV. Someone can take the good parts and put it into his article:

While he was not the first trumpeter to play in the extreme upper register, he made a point to play in the upper register as much as possible, placing a strong emphasis on range to the detriment of tone, intonation, and musicality. While regarded by some[who?] as showboating, Ferguson's tone, phrasing and vibrato was instantly recognizable and has been influential on and imitated by generations of amateur and professional trumpet players. A direct connection to Ferguson's style of playing continues in the work of the trumpeters who played with him, notably Roger Ingram, Wayne Bergeron, and Eric Miyashiro. These players, while strongly influenced by Maynard Ferguson, placed a much greater emphasis on tone, intonation, and musicality, while still maintaining the extraordinary range that Ferguson possessed. Although some had believed that Ferguson was endowed with exceptional facial musculature, he often shared in interviews that his command of the upper registers was based mostly on breath control,[1] something he had discovered as a youngster in Montreal.

  1. ^ Zan Stewart (September 1985). "Maynard's Changes". Down Beat. Retrieved 2007-07-20. "There's nothing superstrong about my lip, but there is about my range and stamina. That comes from [...] my breathing." 

- Special-T (talk) 22:54, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Personal opinion[edit]

The trumpet is used in many forms of music, though the most recognized players have been in the jazz field--->I think this quote is the personal opinion not valid statement and the whole article is written in a perspective of american music history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.179.82.180 (talk) 01:25, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

The "tuning (or sliding) bell trumpet"[edit]

Under Construction, the article says that "Renold Schilke designed the tuning (or sliding) bell trumpet." I have never heard of this. Is it a standard part of modern trumpets? If it's not, I think it should be deleted. Squandermania (talk) 17:23, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

This page has the following quote from the Schilke catalog:

"Detachable tuning-bells are available on all Schilke custom built trumpets. The advantage of the tuning bell feature is that the tuning slide can be left all the way in or moved only a little, thereby keeping the bore relatively free of gaps that may cause a disturbance in the nodal pattern of the sound wave. Another advantage is that different bells of varying sizes and materials can be used to change some of the characteristics of the instrument. The main drawback to the tuning-bell instrument is that it is more fragile because of the lack of the second brace. Consequently extra care must be taken to prevent damage to the instrument."

They exist, and can be purchased for a handsome price. Go to Woodwind Brasswind's site for example, and search it for "tuning bell". __ Just plain Bill (talk) 00:25, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

It sounds interesting. But it also seems like it isn't a standard part of the trumpet, so I think it shouldn't be included in the article. After all, there are all sorts of little tinkerings that trumpet builders have made over the years that haven't caught on (if I recall correctly, mouthpieces are the most common culprits). Also, I can't help feeling like this comes off a bit like an advertisement for Schilke trumpets. I'll delete this part in a week or so if nobody objects. Squandermania (talk) 03:12, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Actually, I do object. What is a "standard" trumpet? For example, does this hypothetical item have top- or bottom-spring valves? Does it have a third valve trigger? How many spit valves? I'd like to see what someone has to say, who has seen or perhaps played one with a tunable bell, or at least has a better sense of where they fit in the scheme of things. I don't mind seeing its inventor mentioned; this doesn't cross my threshold for commercial promotion. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 18:24, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
What does make sense, IMO, is condensing a lot of the Schilke-related bell text in the next paragraph, which takes up a bit more space than it needs. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 18:45, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
I own a Schilke Eb with a tunable bell. It also has 4 valves. Neither is part of the standard trumpet. Also, the way this is written, it makes it appear as though the sliding bell replaces the tuning slide. It doesn't. You have both options. It doesn't quite strike me as an ad for Schilke, but given the scope of the article, it does seem like an inappropriately lengthy diversion onto a relatively minor variation on the standard trumpet.Trumpetrep (talk) 04:46, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Just did some rearranging and trimming, with a couple of refs added. diff Better? __ Just plain Bill (talk) 09:46, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
yep207.138.93.254 (talk) 21:03, 25 February 2010 (UTC)(Sorry, that was me. Just wasn't signed in)Trumpetrep (talk) 00:12, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

I removed the 2nd reference to Schilke (from you Just plain Bill?). In a 500-word summary of the manufacture history of a 3000-year old instrument, there was far too much emphasis on one manufacturer. You could just as easily justify similar emphasis on David Monette, if you were so inclined. It would be great to have a separate article on the subject much like "Innovations in the piano". Trumpetrep (talk) 00:22, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

I was not comfortable with the style of that bell paragraph anyway, let alone the content. Expert volunteers needed... __ Just plain Bill (talk) 04:12, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Third valve slide on Bb trumpets (and other valve slides)[edit]

I think that it would be useful to describe the use of the other valve tuning slides on Bb trumpets (I don't know anything about other trumpets). Particularly I was thinking about the third valve slide, which is (I think) extended as a means of flattening Db and Gb played on all three valves, which otherwise sound sharp. The problem is that I don't have much idea of why this is the case. I'm even less clear on the use of the other slides on the first and second valves.Jimjamjak (talk) 15:59, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Have a look at Brass_instrument#Valve_tuning_compensation __ Just plain Bill (talk) 16:17, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
That's very useful. No need for duplication here, then. Thanks very much!Jimjamjak (talk) 17:02, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Noises[edit]

I can't understand the following sentence in the section on playing techniques: "Noises sound a 1/2 step higher than they are notated, and often require amplification to be heard." Anyone willing to explain further or provide a reference? Jimjamjak (talk) 08:07, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

I have no idea, but have added a {{citation needed}} tag to it. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 21:17, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
Noises produced on the trumpet by blowing into it don't sound at pitch. If you finger a B and hiss through the instrument, it will sound as a C. I'll find a citation.Trumpetrep (talk) 01:15, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Valve preference[edit]

I suppose it's just a coincidence that on Mezzo TV the jazzmen are all using piston valves and the classical musicians rotary ones? Rothorpe (talk) 22:55, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Rotary valves are used a lot by European orchestras. That's where you will most often see them. In American orchestras, the standard piston valves are preferred. Although, a lot of orchestras pull out the rotary instruments to play things like Mahler.Trumpetrep (talk) 03:05, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Have only just seen this - thanks! Rothorpe (talk) 17:35, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

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High F trumpets in (French) romantic and impressionist music?[edit]

Did they really ever use high F trumpets as regular instruments or was this always a notation convention? (In Debussy's 1905 "La Mer", for example, we have trumpets notated in high F, alongside cornets in B flat) -- megA (talk) 14:20, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

I do not see that the article in its present state makes any claim for high-F trumpets in French 19th-century music. Neither do I see high-F trumpets specified in Debussy's score, which instead calls for the ordinary (in those days) "trompettes chromatiques" in F, which means the low F valved trumpet. According to Adam Carse (Musical Wind Instruments, pp. 240–41), this instrument disappeared from general use around 1900 and was replaced by the new-fangled B-flat and C valved trumpets. This account is repeated in the New Grove article on the trumpet. I can recall performances in which the trumpet players mistakenly assumed that "trompette en fa" meant the high-F trumpet (which apparently was first invented in 1902 for use in a performance of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2) and played the parts an octave higher than the composer intended. One particularly vivid example that sticks in my mind is the Overture to Le roi d'Ys by Lalo, with its incessantly repeated triplets in the latter half, played on four of the low-F instruments (atypically written above the horns in the score), along with the other brass. When mistakenly played in the upper octave, these trumpet parts can be a hazard to the player's health! It should be kept in mind that, in French scores, at least, the cornet à pistons (usually in B-flat or A) was the favoured solo high-brass instrument, and the trumpets were usually relegated to a secondary, accompanimental role. A good example of this can be seen in George Enescu's First Romanian Rhapsody, where all the flashy material is found in the cornets, while the actual trumpet parts (in A, however, rather than in F) are quite sedentary. Of course, orchestral players have long since abandoned the cornet and routinely substitute trumpets for these parts, which confuses the issue a bit.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:47, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
I see but I'm not entirely convinced. The cornets only come in at the end of "La Mer", and before we have countless "flashy" solo passages for the trumpet(s). I don't claim high F trumpets were used, but that they were notated in high F. If they were low F, they would be consistently pitched the same as or lower than the French horns and even 1st and 2nd trombones, as soloists as well as in ensemble settings. An octave higher would be comfortable for the whole part (highest pitch is notated Eb5 (Helmholtz eb")in the final chord, where they would be unisono with horns and trombones if transposing down).
The score calls for (notated) pitches as low as G and F# below middle C, which would sound as C3 and B2 (Helmholtz c and B). How do you produce these pitches on a modern Bb trumpet (which, according to the article, stops at (pitch) Helmholtz e (E3))? Have a look at the final chord of the first movement, where they would play a Db chord below the trombones. This chord only makes sense if transposed up. No, these trumpet parts are definitely "high F", or else they have been performed wrong on every recording I heard... I'd love to hear from you. -- megA (talk) 23:28, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
It is difficult to accept your high-F hypothesis, given that there is no evidence such an instrument was built before 1902, and the instruments do not bear any exceptional name in the score. Keep in mind that the standard valved (6-foot) F trumpet is still an octave above the F horn, and notation of transposing trumpets and horns often has little clear relation to their sounding pitch, although notation is almost always higher than sound. I shall have to examine the Debussy passage you specify, but I suggest you also have a look at the Lalo example for comparison. Also please read the pages in Carse and the article in New Grove, neither of which suggests the existence of high-F trumpets before the 20th century. I don't see how the difficulty or ease of playing notes on a modern B trumpet has any bearing on the notes written for an instrument in F.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 06:19, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm having a little trouble following this as it seems to be carrying on perhaps at cross-purposes a little. I think you are in effect both right - MegA's "high F hypothesis" as presented in their last edit appears NOT to be that they were actually played on high F trumpets, that is, an instrument shorter (3 footish) than the current Bb/C = a piccolo F in current terms - but that they were notated as if they were. I believe Jerome is right in that a piccolo F was not used for this music, and indeed either did not exist or only existed as a rare novelty. So if it was played on F trumpets then yes they were the 6 footish length, but the music was played UP not down. In other words the written middle C was not the second harmonic as it is in current trumpet music, but the fourth harmonic as it is in older parts for longer instruments. If you play a romantic F trumpet part with middle C = 2nd harmonic then you would indeed get something ridiculously low. Play it with the same octave shift as you'd use in a classical part - with respect to the build of the intended instrument - and it comes out right. It's just hard for us to get our heads around the fact that if they played these parts on long Fs then they were playing very high in the range of the instrument sometimes - but then so were Baroque players, and Maynard Ferguson (bless 'im) and others. No-one plays F parts down unless specifically told to. It's a trumpet part notated more like a horn part, is all, I believe. Why can't you both be right? :) Best wishes DBaK (talk) 11:35, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

I think we have just a misunderstanding here. I believe Jerome is right in that no, they didn't use high F trumpets in 1905, which answers my initial question. My last post was just to clarify that the notation couldn't be "low F", as Jerome claimed. For the reasons I've pointed out in my last post, whatever trumpets were used (I believe in 1905 they were indeed Bb or similar instruments), the "Trompettes in F" in for example, La Mer (I continue to use this as an example, since I have the score right here) seem to be notated in "high F", not in "low F". And I still wonder why. -- megA (talk) 14:38, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Having now refreshed my memory from the score, I remain uncertain that the transposition is upward. It does depend a bit on one's conception of what a trumpet is: a high soprano instrument, like the cornet à pistons, or a mid-range variant of the horn. I find it odd, for example, that Debussy would double the cor anglais with the trumpet at the upper octave at rehearsal 12 in the first movement, with both instruments at a piano dynamic, and would consistently double the horns at the upper octave instead of at the unison. It is of course possible, and I am not myself a trumpet player. It would probably be wise to widen the field of inquiry into other late-19th-century scores, by French and other composers. There is the parallel situation of certain horn tunings used in the 19th century, which may be either in alt or in the usual downward transposition. As far as I am aware, the in alt must always be specified in such cases, though of course the conventions may have been different for trumpets.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:30, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
This has proved infernally difficult to track down, but apparently the F trumpet was always notated to sound at the fourth above, rather than the fifth below. Walter Piston's Orchestration confirms this for the valved trumpet, while Widor's orchestration book does the same for the natural trumpet. Surprisingly, Anthony Baines (Brass Instruments), Adam Carse (Musical Wind Instruments), and Norman Del Mar (Anatomy of the Orchestra) are quite unclear about the direction of transposition. In any case, this does not seem to be particular to French music, and after about 1880 the notation for trumpet in F seldom indicates the actual instrument used. Wagner, according to Baines, wrote up to what would be the 12th partial of the F trumpet (written C, sounding F), though most writers assume the part would have been played even at that time on a trumpet in C or B, and Widor shows a passage from the March for the Centenary of American Independence with a high F (written on the top line of the treble staff and therefore sounding a high B). By comparison, Debussy's top note of written D is quite modest.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:23, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Jerome, for your research. I was probably so sure about the upwards transposition because I had read about it as well years ago. As I said, my argumentation for high F was based on that a down transposition would place the trumpets consistently below horns and trombones in ensemble writing, which doesn't seem quite effective (especially in forte passages), as well as account for "awkward" solo writing (and impossible low notes on a Bb trumpet). It's still interesting why the upward transposition was used, instead of the "more natural" down transposition. -- megA (talk) 11:32, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
PS: Come to think of it, the article hasn't much to say about the development of the trumpet in the 19th century and the historical significance of the F trumpet (or other common tunings) in particular in that time period. I'm not really quialified to do so, but perhaps someone could expand the history section a bit? -- megA (talk) 11:43, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

As a trumpeter, I'm sorry I missed this discussion until now. Jerry's correct that the transposition is almost always up, not down. The readiest example of downward transposition is A, which is not an uncommon transposition (Bizet's Carmen prelude, for one). The F transposition is one of the most common. Most professional trumpeters can read in C as easily as they can in Bb. F transposition is not far behind. It is required in loads of major repertoire. As to why the tradition of transposing up instead of down exists, it is not common knowledge in the trumpet community. Surely, someone has researched this subject, but in general, the following passage is typical of the writing on the subject:

"The habit of composers to write parts for a trumpet in the same key as the composition lasted for quite a while, even when it was no longer necessary to change crooks and slides during a performance. Com­posers continued, however, to specify frequent (and impossible) changes from one trumpet to another in a different key. This method of notation was used into the period of Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Bruckner, making it necessary for trumpet players to become expert at sight transposition in order to perform the parts on a single instrument. This neces­sity (much dislJked by conservatory students) con­tinues even today, and is indispensable for a classical instrumentalist." -- Gabriel Cassone, The Trumpet Book (p. 98)Trumpetrep (talk) 19:59, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
One of the more difficult passages to understand in Anthony Baines's book, combined with Widor's table of natural-trumpet transpositions, is probably the key (if you will pardon the expression) to all of this. At some point during the 19th century, the notation for the C trumpet changed from an assumption of an eight-foot natural instrument to a four-foot valved one. Inexplicably, this seems not to have had an effect on the transposing trumpets, except for the B-flat and A valved instruments. Perhaps this had something to do with the period of transition, when transposing natural trumpets were being used alongside valved instruments. Because the C instrument was treated as the standard, trumpets in B and B (which were longer) had always been downward-transposing, whereas instruments in D, D, E, etc. up to A (which were all shorter than the C instrument) sounded higher than notated. Perhaps it was reasonable to continue, after the shift from eight-foot to four-foot C, to treat instruments in B-flat as downward transposing from the higher octave, but at the same time to retain the older notation for the other transpositions. It is all very perplexing and, as you say, conservatory students have been the unwilling "beneficiaries" of these goings-on. Perhaps you had to be there for it to seem entirely logical.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 02:03, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Why Rotary Trumpets in European Orchestras?[edit]

I've noticed that many European professional orchestras (IIRC, notably German and Austrian) use rotary trumpets. They are even required use for auditions for these orchestras (always and often exclusively in Germany and Austria, additionally e. g. in France and Denmark, as I just "surveyed"). Howard Shore explicitly calls for rotary trumpets in his Lord of the Rings scores. So, tradition aside, what is the general difference in sound between rotary and piston trumpets? -- megA (talk) 13:08, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

The general difference is negligible. Listen to the opening of Mahler 5 in these two YouTube clips and see if you can tell the difference:
Vienna Philharmonic (rotary)
Chicago Symphony (piston)
This is one of those things that conductors ask for in American orchestras that make us trumpeters snicker. They think that this is the correct way to play, or that rotary trumpets have a warmer sound. The fact is that if Mr. Herseth (Chicago) were to play that opening on a rotary trumpet, it would have the same brilliant sound that it does on his standard trumpet. Herseth's sound defined American orchestral playing, and it's why everyone expects us to play so brightly. German trumpeters play with a warmer sound, and they will blend with an orchestra more instinctively. Because they play on rotary trumpets, people mistakenly assume the instrument causes the difference, when it is the player who is responsible. If this were a trumpet discussion forum, I'm sure you would have plenty of people chiming in to disagree. That is how powerful this myth is. !Trumpetrep (talk) 21:41, 28 February 2014 (UTC)