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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningHistory of the Trombone(Moderators: bhcordova, dmguion) Large Bore trombones in American Orchestras
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BGuttman
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« Reply #20 on: Oct 17, 2005, 12:36PM »

Quote from: "Steve Dillon"
Quote from: "BGuttman"
We recreated a Theater Orchestra from members of the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra.  It consisted of 11 pieces: 1st and 2nd violins, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, 2 cornets, trombone, and percussion.

Just a few comments to add to the mix.


Excellent!

The music you played, when was it dated from?


All of the music we played was vintage 1910's and 1920's.  I got most of the arrangements on Ebay, including a few from Rick Benjamin (founder and leader of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra).  The arrangements came with varying instrumentation: sometimes there were 2 clarinets, sometimes a horn or two, or a bassoon.  Makes me understand where the picture of the guy with all those different instruments "came" from.

Btw, I have a picture postcard of a Theater Orchestra from Haverhill, MA called the Pentucket Orchestra.  I am having a problem getting a good scan of it, or I'd post it here.  The personnel consist of (left to right) flute,  clarinet, double bass, violin (conductor?), percussion (playing a "Contraption", the ancestor of today's Trap Set), cello, violin (viola?), another clarinet, trombone, and cornet.  The trombonist's instrument bears a striking resemblance to the "The King" instruments of the 1910's with a Low Pitch tuning slide and about a 7 inch bell.
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« Reply #21 on: Oct 18, 2005, 03:57AM »

<All of the music we played was vintage 1910's and 1920's. I got most of the arrangements on Ebay, including a few from Rick Benjamin (founder and leader of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra). The arrangements came with varying instrumentation: sometimes there were 2 clarinets, sometimes a horn or two, or a bassoon. Makes me understand where the picture of the guy with all those different instruments "came" from.

Btw, I have a picture postcard of a Theater Orchestra from Haverhill, MA called the Pentucket Orchestra. I am having a problem getting a good scan of it, or I'd post it here. The personnel consist of (left to right) flute, clarinet, double bass, violin (conductor?), percussion (playing a "Contraption", the ancestor of today's Trap Set), cello, violin (viola?), another clarinet, trombone, and cornet. The trombonist's instrument bears a striking resemblance to the "The King" instruments of the 1910's with a Low Pitch tuning slide and about a 7 inch bell.>


Excellent, now we see they the word orchestra can be a different term than what we think of it now.

With that said, what are the starting dates of orchestras in the US?

Here is what I found:

NY Philharmonic 1842
Philadelphia 1900
Minnesota 1903
Chicago 1890
Atlanta 1945
Buffalo 1934
Cleveland 1917
Boston 1900
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra 1883

Basically, the orchestra, as we know it, (here in the US) was a product of the 20th century.  If we take out the Met, as it is an Opera Orchestra, we are only left with 2 orchestras that date back into the 1800’s.  The NY Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony. (and Chicago is only 10 years into the 1800’s)

Do we all agree on this? (as I have not researched orchestra history, and might be missing something)
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« Reply #22 on: Oct 18, 2005, 06:41AM »

Quote from: "Steve Dillon"

Excellent, now we see they the word orchestra can be a different term than what we think of it now.

No doubt that this adds to our confusion (sort of along the same lines as the term "large bore").

Quote from: "Steve Dillon"
Basically, the orchestra, as we know it, (here in the US) was a product of the 20th century.  If we take out the Met, as it is an Opera Orchestra, we are only left with 2 orchestras that date back into the 1800’s.  The NY Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony. (and Chicago is only 10 years into the 1800’s)

Do we all agree on this? (as I have not researched orchestra history, and might be missing something)

Yes, this is true, at least in general principal, though I believe that some of these groups may have grown out of earlier manifestations.  A case in point is the Cincinnati Symphony: it was founded in 1895, but it grew from the Philharmonic Society (1857) and more importantly, the Cincinnati Orchestra (1872).

But the idea that <the orchestra, as we know it, (here in the US) was a product of the 20th century> is valid, I think.

In an earlier post, I speculated that the American orchestras lacked the longstanding traditions of European orchestras (I'm thinking specifically of Vienna, for example, where older style instruments are still used, to my knowledge).  The dates you cite would lend credence to this idea.  Another factor: many trombonists were working not only in orchestras, but in wind bands, and perhaps even theater or radio (Mantia, Simons, Tait, among others) and were bound by necessity to find the right instrument for the situation, whereas a European contemporary might play predominately in their orchestral appointment (I'm only speculating, please correct me if I'm wrong).  Perhaps in their quest for finding the best instrument for each situation, the Americans found the larger bores to be more useful in the orchestral setttings. Don't know

I don't think we can rule out the influence of the great pedagogues, either: Remington, for instance, pushed the 88H to his students (of course this was much later).  If someone like Gardell Simons was using an embodiment of the 8H, it stands to reason that he would recommend it to his students.  Perhaps another question would be who were the top orchestral trombone teachers of the 1900-1930 era? and secondarily, what were they playing?
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« Reply #23 on: Oct 18, 2005, 07:17AM »

Quote from: "Steve Dillon"

Basically, the orchestra, as we know it, (here in the US) was a product of the 20th century.  If we take out the Met, as it is an Opera Orchestra, we are only left with 2 orchestras that date back into the 1800’s.  The NY Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony. (and Chicago is only 10 years into the 1800’s)

Do we all agree on this? (as I have not researched orchestra history, and might be missing something)


Steve, you have listed the origination dates of today's major orchestras. I don't know  how many of todays regional orchestras or community orchestras date back to the 19th century, but I know there are several. Plus, there were plenty of symphonic orchestras of the 19th century that no longer exist.

The present New York Philharmonic, for example, is the fourth orchestra of that name. Besides three earlier Philharmonics, there were other orchestras with different names. And that is just New York before 1842. Of course, only a few of them attempted to do the same kinds of things that the fourth Philharmonic society did.

The point is well taken that most American orchestras (and for that matter, I suspect most European orchestras) were either theater orchestras or dance orchestras throughout much of the 19th century. And all of the different kinds of orchestras varied widely in size, instrumentation, and competence. So I have no quarrel with the basic point that "orchestra" in a manufacturer's catalog does not tell us what kind of music a particular model of trombone was intended for.
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« Reply #24 on: Oct 18, 2005, 08:00AM »

<In an earlier post, I speculated that the American orchestras lacked the longstanding traditions of European orchestras (I'm thinking specifically of Vienna, for example, where older style instruments are still used, to my knowledge). The dates you cite would lend credence to this idea. Another factor: many trombonists were working not only in orchestras, but in wind bands, and perhaps even theater or radio (Mantia, Simons, Tait, among others) and were bound by necessity to find the right instrument for the situation, whereas a European contemporary might play predominately in their orchestral appointment (I'm only speculating, please correct me if I'm wrong). Perhaps in their quest for finding the best instrument for each situation, the Americans found the larger bores to be more useful in the orchestral settings>

An interesting story comes to mind, told to me by Alan Ostrander.

It is regards to Simone Mantia and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  Now I don’t know how true it is, but the dates do line up. (1908)

Here it is:

Toscanini was hired to conduct at the Met., and wanted to do Italian Operas, such as Verdi.  The trombone section at that time was a German Section, (now, to our German readers, I am only relating what was told to me) and they found it difficult to play this music.  It got very heated, and the section went to the Union to complain.  The union had Toscanini brought up on “charges” and had a big meeting to get to the bottom of this.(this took place at the union hall)

The current section stated that Toscanini was unfair, as he wanted them to play music that was written for the valve trombone.  This could not be done on the slide trombone!

Toscanini’s response was:  Are you telling me that no one can play this music on a slide trombone?

The answer was “yes”.

At that point Toscanini called in Simone Mantia and said:

Mr. Mantia, could you please demonstrate this music for us.

Mantia did, and that was the end of the German section at the Met.

Now, I did have one of Mantia’s trombones, made for him in 1941.  It was a .522 80H.

The question is, could this have been the “start” of the more modern orchestra era of trombone playing?

Mantia seemed to be a major factor in Opera playing at that time.

As a matter of fact, Arthur Pryor stated that Mantia knew opera literature “wrong side out and hind side before”, to use one of Pryor’s Missouri expressions.*

*Bands of America, page 240.

Now, would Mantia use the same instrument for Verdi as he would Wagner?

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« Reply #25 on: Oct 18, 2005, 08:07AM »

Now, I want to add something else in the mix.

In the late 19th century, there were available, in some catalogs of American manufacturers, a trombone listed as a “baritone” trombone.

These instruments were available in both valve and slide, and very large bore.

I have had a few of these, and they tend to be large shank, with bore around .540+-

What were these used for?
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« Reply #26 on: Oct 18, 2005, 10:14AM »

<Perhaps another question would be who were the top orchestral trombone teachers of the 1900-1930 era?>

Many of the players of the day would have went to the top players of the day, and they didn’t have orchestra players. (ie. Pryor)

There is one for New York that many had gone to, and that is Ernest Clarke. (brother of Herbert L. Clarke, the great cornetist)

Here is a small bit about Clarke:

Pioneers in Brass
By Glenn Bridges
Page 90

Although he never returned to Gilmore’s Band, he did play many future engagements with Victor Herbert’s own Band and Orchestra after the turn of the century.  In 1898, he was engaged by Walter Damrosch to play first trombone with the Damrosch Symphony Orchestra, remaining some 20 years.

For over 25 years Mr. Clarke was trombone instructor at the Institute of Musical Art (later Julliards) in New York.  It was thought by many musicians that he turned out more fine trombone players than any other teacher in the Eastern United States during this era.
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« Reply #27 on: Oct 18, 2005, 02:59PM »

To add to the teachers of the early 20th century.

My 1936 edition of Arban's was edited by Simone Mantia and Charles L. Randall.  I believe both maintained large studios.

In Chicago you had Jaroslav Cimera, who taught many of the greats.  Even Tommy Dorsey took lessons from Cimera.

In Boston, Jacob Raichman maintained a large studio.  I used to play with a great trombonist who studied with Raichman.  Unfortunately, this man passed on a couple of years ago, but he did talk about Raichman and some of the things he did.

Doug Yeo has some teaching materials from another BSO player, Eugene Adam.  Adam played Principal Trombone in the 1910's and (reading between the lines) was demoted for promoting the Musicians' Union.  Adam switched to tuba and played tuba with the BSO into (I believe) the 1940's.

It's interesting that many of the books we use today have the names of these great teachers on them and many of today's young players don't know who they were: Johannes Rochut, Simone Mantia, Jaroslav Cimera, Max Schlossberg, Andre Lafosse.

There is an interesting bit in the biography of Mantia in my Arban's.  Seems he originally played in the Brooklyn Opera Orchestra on a valve trombone.  He was required to change over to a slide trombone within a week.  He managed to do it, without taking any lessons!
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« Reply #28 on: Oct 19, 2005, 03:59AM »

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[
Steve, you have listed the origination dates of today's major orchestras. I don't know  how many of todays regional orchestras or community orchestras date back to the 19th century, but I know there are several. Plus, there were plenty of symphonic orchestras of the 19th century that no longer exist.


I agree, but I wanted to show major orchstras, where top players might have made a living.  Also wanted to show a little history of the era we are speaking about.

But you are right, and it must be stated: there were smaller/regional orchestras around at the time.
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« Reply #29 on: Oct 19, 2005, 04:03AM »

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The point is well taken that most American orchestras (and for that matter, I suspect most European orchestras) were either theater orchestras or dance orchestras throughout much of the 19th century. And all of the different kinds of orchestras varied widely in size, instrumentation, and competence. So I have no quarrel with the basic point that "orchestra" in a manufacturer's catalog does not tell us what kind of music a particular model of trombone was intended for.


Excellent, so it seems that we are all on the same page.

Please forgive me if the answer to the original question is a long one, but I believe we have to look at what was going on at the time in history/music history/instrument history, to be able to draw an idea of what people were using and why.

So hang in there!
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« Reply #30 on: Oct 19, 2005, 04:11AM »

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In Chicago you had Jaroslav Cimera, who taught many of the greats.  Even Tommy Dorsey took lessons from Cimera.


And there was one other in Chicago, Carrol Martin, who I will get to in another post. (Al Lube studied with both Martin and Cimera, and I questioned him on the teaching of both)

Just a side note:  As stated, Dorsey took some lessons from Cimera, but did you know that he also took from Mantia.

I had a gentleman in the shop that was a student of Mantia's, and he told me that one day, when we was coming out of his lesson, Dorsey was waiting to go in.

I am sure that both the orchestra and jazz players  took lessons from these older players.
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« Reply #31 on: Oct 19, 2005, 04:31AM »

Just to drive the point home, one more time, that there was a different meaning for the word orchestra, and also to show that there were different styles of playing during the era of the first quarter of the 20th century, I give you this:

Pioneers in Brass
By Glenn Bridges

Page 90.

Around 1920, it was often said by many New York musicians that there were 3 trombone players in New York who could substitute in any given situation, on a moments notice in legitimate theater, (orchestra) musical show, symphony orchestra, or concert band.  And the conductor would have no worries as whether or not they would read the score at sight, they being: Ernest Clarke, Leo Zimmerman and Charley Randall.
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« Reply #32 on: Oct 20, 2005, 04:12AM »

Now, to get into the main question of the American Orchestral players and what they used during the early 20th century.

I wanted to show in prior posts what the history of the American Orchestra was, and that the term did not only refer to one type of orchestra at that time. (Theater orchestras, which were very popular)

We agreed (at least I didn’t hear anyone disagreeing) that the American orchestra, mostly, was a product of the 20th century.  So, if it was a product of the 20th century, what was the period when it became popular, and where did the players come from?

I believe, and I could be wrong, the answer is this:  America during the last part of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century was a “band” society.  Gilmore’s Band was active during the 1880’s, Sousa was active from 1892, Pryor started in 1903, and I could go on and on.

These were the groups that most of the better players went to.  The “touring” bands.  From some of the research I have done, and some of the interviews I have conducted with players from/around this era, you find that if you were only an “Orchestral “ player, you were a poor musician.(in money)  The better players toured with one of the bands, and used the orchestra as someplace to play during the “off” times.  We do see many players from the Sousa Band playing in many of the orchestras of the day. (ie. Gus Helleberg, Simone Mantia, Anton Horner, etc….)

Now, we know that from the equipment point of view of the bands, the players were using small bores/bells, because of the work they had to do.  Pryor is said to have started playing on a trombone with a 9 inch bell, (could this be one of those baritone trombones I spoke of before?) and kept reducing it until he had an instrument that fitted his needs. (6 inch/6 ¼ inch.  The instrument of his that I own has a 6 inch bell.  I also own one of Ralph Corey’s trombones, who played with Sousa after Pryor left.  It is a Conn with a 6 1/4 inch bell.)

Now, as we start to move ahead in the century, we see that the touring/concert bands were starting to fade.  The peak was around 1910, and it faded soon after.  That is not to say that all bands faded from view, NO, it is just to say that the number of bands faded from sight.  The Sousa Band went from 1892-1932, when Sousa died.

But if we look we see the orchestras start around 1900, and start to pick up speed as the century moves forward.  Mantia joins the Met. in 1908.  Gardell Simons joins Philadelphia in 1915, etc….Now these jobs, as the century moves forward, are the “main” jobs, and the bands are now the “fillers”.  As we move into the 1920’s this become a more common practice.  Also, there is a start for the orchestras to “distance” the “band” player’s history.

In a book titled: Twenty-five Years of the Philadelphia Orchestra, I find, at a quick glance, 2 former Sousa Band Members in first chair seats, Anton Horner, Principal Horn and Gardell Simons, Principal Trombone.  Under Horner, nothing is said about being a member of the Sousa Band.  This is what is said under Gardell Simons:

“Gardell Simons: Trombone, was born at Allegan, Michigan.  He began the study of the trombone at the age of nine and a few years later commenced a systematic course of study in Chicago.  Since it was difficult at that time to get instruction of a high order from Trombonists he relied mostly upon singers and instrumentalists of repute for his instruction in breathing, phrasing, articulation and expression, and at length became one of the originators of the Modern School of trombone playing; Played first trombone with Philharmonic Orchestra, New York, Arens “people’s Symphony”, Volpe Symphony and others.  Wise experience as soloist with concert bands and concert companies, etc., and plays mostly his own compositions or violin music adapted by himself to the trombone.”

If one takes notice, the word “band” is not out in front, and there is no mention of the Sousa Band. (Looks like the word “band” might have become a “dirty” word among the orchestral musicians, a point that I will address later)

To be continued:
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« Reply #33 on: Oct 21, 2005, 04:28AM »

In the last post, the history/evolution of the orchestra/band players in American was illustrated.

We find that Gardell Simons, coming from the band world, started with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1915.  It is stated in his bio. for the orchestra, that Simons is of the “Modern School” of trombone playing.  It was further illustrated that the orchestras did “distance” themselves from the “bands”. (This is another discussion that is not for this tread.)

We also see that the equipment of the band trombonist is small bore/small bell. (At least for the top players, and this was because of the work they did.)

Now, since Simons seems to have been among the first of the new “orchestral” trombonists, what was he playing?

For band work, he played a small bore instrument.  Small bore, small bell.

For orchestral: As stated before, I own Gardell Simons Conn trombone, 88H(marked 8H) made for him in 1921, when he was 1st trombone with Philadelphia.  Here is a picture of the trombone.

 http://www.dillonmusic.com/usedimages/0512200443329PM.jpg

Does this trombone prove that this is what the orchestra players of the day were using?  As said before, it is most likely that the players would use different instruments for different pieces.  Could this trombone have just been made for Simons to use it as a “bass”?

My feeling was, we had to look for other examples that could be linked to Simons, in this style of trombone.

Can some be found?  Yes!

http://www.dillonmusic.com/usedimages/08102004100028AM.jpg

The trombone in the link above is an instrument made by Brua Keefer of Williamsport, PA.  The instrument dates from circa 1919.  Also, another is found without an F attachment.  Both instruments are large shank, and are labeled Keefer-Simons.  Both are .535 bores, with 9 inch bells. (Also, both are TIS and red brass)

Thus, we see that Simons was working with other manufacturers in producing something other than a small bore instrument.

Also, this shows that larger bore instruments were being used as early as 1919, in the Philadelphia Orchestra.

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« Reply #34 on: Oct 21, 2005, 08:27AM »

Just playing Devil's Advocate here:

Does just owning a particular model/size trombone really provide sufficient proof that a given instrument was used primarily in orchestral playing (realizing that this discussion must be about PRIMARY instruments, since we have already established the players at the time would likely use different instruments depending upon the rep. to be played)?  You've already established that Simons also owned smaller bore/bell instruments.  Is there photographic, annecdotal, or other evidence of what was actually used in performance? Many professional players own multiple instruments, but most can only play one at a time :) .  Also what was he using from 1915 (when you state he joined the Phil. Orchestra) and 1919 the estimated date of the Keefer horn.  

Just some thoughts/questions.

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« Reply #35 on: Oct 21, 2005, 08:39AM »

Quote from: "DavGra"
Just playing Devil's Advocate here:

Does just owning a particular model/size trombone really provide sufficient proof that a given instrument was used primarily in orchestral playing (realizing that this discussion must be about PRIMARY instruments, since we have already established the players at the time would likely use different instruments depending upon the rep. to be played)?  You've already established that Simons also owned smaller bore/bell instruments.  Is there photographic, annecdotal, or other evidence of what was actually used in performance? Many professional players own multiple instruments, but most can only play one at a time :) .  Also what was he using from 1915 (when you state he joined the Phil. Orchestra) and 1919 the estimated date of the Keefer horn.  

Just some thoughts/questions.

David Gravesen


Excellent questions!

I might be able to answer some, might not, but I'll have to wait until Monday.

What about others?

Anyone have info. to add to the picture?
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« Reply #36 on: Oct 21, 2005, 02:48PM »

For some pictoral evidence there are some interesting photographs on Doug Yeo's website.

First:
http://www.yeodoug.com/publications/adam_collection/adamcollection.html

There are two pictures of note on this page.  The first is a photo of the Brass Section from the BSO ca. 1926.  The principle trombone at this time was J. Rochut (of the Melodious Etude fame).  Though admittedly hard to decipher from this photo, the trombone he's holding appears to be of a smaller style.  More on Rochut later.

The second picture is the BSO brass section ca. 1921 (five years earlier).  This is basically a different trombone section.  Note how this section appears to be holding German instruments (I could be wrong, this observations is based mostly on the wraps of the F-attachments), which are another beast altogether.  German instruments often had smallish bore slides leading to very large bells.  Now how does that fit into the picture?

Back to Rochut.

http://www.yeodoug.com/articles/trombone_gallery/trombone_gallery.html

About midway down this page are pictures and descriptions of two horns that belonged to Rochut, both small bore and small bell, and one with an F-attachment.  Rochut was Princple trombone in Boston from 1925-1930, making him a contemporary of Simons.

Just some more food for thought.

David Gravesen
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« Reply #37 on: Oct 21, 2005, 08:40PM »

First, I want to commend Steve Dillon for all the wonderful information that he is making available in this interesting discussion. I have been very intrigued reading it through.

Now, since this discussion is about the bore size of horns that were used in the early Orchestras, I have this to offer, and I must say that I forget right now who said it (it could have been John Swallow in a conversation we had about DiBiase). Anyway, the story goes that Gordon Pulis, principal trombonist with the NY Phil. Trombone 1946-1956 introduced the common use of the .547 bore in that Orchestra and many other players then followed suit. Neal DiBiase, then principal trombonist of the NBC under Toscanini, asked Toscanini if he wanted him to move up from the Bach 16 that he was using to the larger .547 bore horns and Toscanini said NO I like the way you sound now.

Of course this is not substantiated by documentation, so falls into the catagory of 'hearsay', but is truly an interesting story and ties into this discussion.

Maybe after we have exhausted the talk about bore size we can get into the discussion of mouthpieces that were used along with these horns, guys are generally playing on buckets now compared to the early mouthpieces.

Anyhow, keep the great information flowing....and as an aside, I am looking for information on Neal DiBiase if anyone has any.

Howard Knapp
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hwknapp

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« Reply #38 on: Oct 21, 2005, 09:15PM »

With this ongoing discussion about the bore size of the Orchetral player's trombones at or around the turn of the century, I wanted to give you the link to a .wma file of the "Boston Trombones" recorded in 1906 on the Victor label. This ensemble has a very dark, fat, sound for the time. According to Doug Yeo they were likely playing on Holton horns during this era. Anyway, give a listen....it takes a couple seconds for the recording to start....I had to walk across the room to start the victrola : ) really !

Howard Knapp

http://home.tampabay.rr.com/hknapp/BSO Trombones 1906.wma
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Steve Dillon
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« Reply #39 on: Oct 24, 2005, 03:56AM »

Quote from: "hwknapp"
First, I want to commend Steve Dillon for all the wonderful information that he is making available in this interesting discussion. I have been very intrigued reading it through.

Anyhow, keep the great information flowing....and as an aside, I am looking for information on Neal DiBiase if anyone has any.

Howard Knapp


Thank you for the kind words.

In regards to Neal DiBiase:  I have a fellow who works here at the shop, Jay Shanman, who knew/studied with him.

When he comes in this afternoon, I will ask him about Neal DiBiase, and post what I find on this thread.
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Sincerely,
Steve Dillon
Dillon Music
www.dillonmusic.com
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