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Author Topic: Historical Trombone Quotes  (Read 21451 times)
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SilverBone
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« on: Feb 21, 2011, 05:41PM »

I did a search, but I couldn't find if this topic has been covered before.

We probably are all familiar with the Richard Strauss quote:

"Never look at the trombones; it (or sometimes you'll) only encourages them."

I ran across one today attributed to Sigmund Freud that I hadn't heard before:

"I'm not sure why, but trombones make me very uncomfortable."

Anybody have more to add?  Should be from famous historical figures, and bonus points for non-musicians.  Extra bonus points if the quote reflects the true wackiness of anyone who would choose to play our beloved instrument.
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-Howard

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Smashed his trombone and ruined its tone.
There's a simple excuse
For his slush pump abuse:
He was born to be bad to the bone.
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 21, 2011, 05:55PM »

Buc's coach, Gruden speaking of University of South Florida...

"I had the band right in front of me playing the National Anthem, the trombones players, even they're great, so they got it going on. I'm really fired up and I can't wait till the next game."

Not real historical but a nice mention on national tv.
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 21, 2011, 06:29PM »

My greatest teacher was not a vocal coach, not the work of other singers, but the way Tommy Dorsey breathed and phrased on the trombone.
-Sinatra, Frank (Francis Albert) Foreword to GeorgeT Simon, The Big Bands (1967).

Trombone players are generally the nicest brass players. However, they do tend to drink quite heavily and perhaps don't shine the brightest headlights on the highway, but they wouldn't hurt you and are the folks to call with all your pharmaceutical questions...It's a little-known fact that trombone players are unusually good bowlers.
—Toby Appel's Guide to the Orchestra

Many a sinner has played himself into heaven on the trombone, thanks to the army.—George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara

(Jack Teagarden) was certainly an astoundingly gifted trombonist who single-handedly created a whole new way of playing the trombone.—Gunther Schuller, The Swing Era.

J.J. Johnson found a way of adapting the instrument to bebop that was to influence every jazz trombonist that followed.—Steve Voce

Frank Rosolino was a towering genius and a trombone virtuoso of the jazz genre. His style was unique and instantly recognizable.—J.J. Johnson

Alcatraz, the federal prison with a name like the blare of a trombone, is a black molar in the jawbone of the nation's prison system. -Thomas E. Gaddis
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Martin Hubel
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SilverBone
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 22, 2011, 12:07AM »

Hey, I like that quote about Alcatraz.  Thanks!
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-Howard

The nastiest fellow I've known
Smashed his trombone and ruined its tone.
There's a simple excuse
For his slush pump abuse:
He was born to be bad to the bone.
Edward_Solomon
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 22, 2011, 12:53AM »

I did a search, but I couldn't find if this topic has been covered before.

We probably are all familiar with the Richard Strauss quote:

"Never look at the trombones; it (or sometimes you'll) only encourages them."

I'd like to know exactly where this spurious quotation comes from because, as far as I know, it just is not true.

What Richard Strauss actually wrote was the Ten Golden Rules for the Album of a Young Conductor:

Quote from: Richard Strauss
Ten Golden Rules for the Album of a Young Conductor
 
1.  Remember that you are making music not to amuse yourself but to delight the audience.
2.  You should not perspire when conducting: only the audience should get warm.
3.  Conduct Salome and Elektra as if they were by Mendelssohn: Fairy Music.
4.  Never look encouragingly at the brass, except with a short glance to give an important cue.
5.  But never let the horns and woodwinds out of your sight: if you can hear them at all they are still too strong.
6.  If you think that the brass is not blowing hard enough, tone it down another shade or two.
7.  It is not enough that you yourself should hear every word the soloist  sings - you know it by heart anyway: the audience must be able to follow without effort. If they do not understand the words, they will go to sleep.
8.  Always accompany a singer in such a way that he can sing without effort.
9.  When you think you have reached the limits of prestissmo, double the pace.
10. If you follow these rules carefully you will, with your fine gifts and your great accomplishments, always be the darling of your listeners.

You will notice no specific mention of the trombones whatsoever.
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SilverBone
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 22, 2011, 01:15AM »

I'd like to know exactly where this spurious quotation comes from because, as far as I know, it just is not true.

Thank you for complete list of Strauss' rules.  They are quite entertaining, and who am I to dispute his claims about horns and woodwinds?   :D

I don't know whether the Strauss quote I provided is true or not.  All I know is that it's probably been 40+ years since I first heard it, and if it's not true it has at least obtained apocryphal status by now.

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-Howard

The nastiest fellow I've known
Smashed his trombone and ruined its tone.
There's a simple excuse
For his slush pump abuse:
He was born to be bad to the bone.
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 22, 2011, 05:31AM »

I'd like to know exactly where this spurious quotation comes from because, as far as I know, it just is not true.
Thank you, Edward! The Strauss quote is indeed spurious. It's just a corrupt version of Strauss' rule no. 4.

Someone who did write some quotable things about the trombone was George Bernard Shaw:

"I believe that a taste for brass instruments is hereditary. My father destroyed his domestic peace by immoderate indulgence in the trombone; my uncle played the ophicleide -- very nicely, I must admit -- for years, and then persihed by his own hand. Some day I shall buy a trombone myself..."

And, of course, my sig.

Howard

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"If you want to become phthisis-proof, drink-proof, cholera-proof, and in short, immortal, play the trombone well and play it constantly." -- George Bernard Shaw
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 22, 2011, 05:34AM »

Undoubtedly corrupted by an evil trumpeter!   Evil Evil
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Martin Hubel
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 22, 2011, 06:13AM »

Here's a couple I've collected over the years...

Quote
"When I first saw a trombone it looked like the instrument no sane person would want to play, so I immediately found my niche."
   -Delfeayo Marsalis

Quote
"The trombone is not meant for romance... any instrument that hawks up it's own loogie every ten minutes is not meant for wooin' the ladies."
   -David Crowe

Quote
"If it please your neighbor to break the sacred calm of night with the snorting of an unholy trombone, it is your duty to put up with his wretched music and your privilege to pity him for the unhappy instinct that moves him to delight in such discordant sounds."
   -Mark Twain

Quote
"so does the sound exist somewhere in your head
and you try to find a brass funnel that fits ???
OR do you fit your head into the brass funnel
????????????? "
   -DJ Kennedy

Quote
"REAL trombonists play EXERCISES. Woodwind players and French Horniest play ETUDES."
   -Wayne Dyes

Quote
“You blow in this one end- and a sound comes out the other end that disrupts the universe.”
   -Roswell Rudd, on the trombone

Quote
" The good Doctor said she was nervous, and, to relieve her, proposed a round game at cards; of which he knew as much as of the art of playing the trombone."
-Charles Dickens "David Copperfield"

Quote
"Some men womanize. Some take to drink. Some play the trombone."
    -Jay Keyser
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FunkyBob
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 24, 2011, 08:31PM »

The "Never look at the trombones..." quote is actually Richard Wagner.

Being Jewish, I hate him.
But being a trombone player, I love him.
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Rob Rose
SilverBone
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 24, 2011, 08:44PM »

We have some indications above that Strauss never actually said this, but I only saw one website that attributed it to Wagner.  All the others attribute it to Strauss.  You can also see how the quote may have been derived from the Straussian rules provided above by Edward Solomon.  What is the authority you used to attribute it to Wagner?

Wagner has mixed feelings for me, for the same reason.  I think it was not too long ago that the Israel Phil wouldn't play Wagner.  Found one reference that said it was 1981 when Zubin Mehta played something from Tristan and Isolde.  More info here:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Wagner.html
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-Howard

The nastiest fellow I've known
Smashed his trombone and ruined its tone.
There's a simple excuse
For his slush pump abuse:
He was born to be bad to the bone.
FunkyBob
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 24, 2011, 09:26PM »

Oh man! Brainy Quote used to have it as Wagner but they must've changed it within the last month or so. I have a few ancient books of quotes I'll have to look through to be sure. Maybe I'll find another gem along the way. Man, I'd hate to tell my grandmother that the shirt she gave me for my birthday might have the wrong person quoted as saying that!
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Rob Rose
SilverBone
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 24, 2011, 09:34PM »

Neither Strauss nor Wagner is likely to complain.  I think you're safe.
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-Howard

The nastiest fellow I've known
Smashed his trombone and ruined its tone.
There's a simple excuse
For his slush pump abuse:
He was born to be bad to the bone.
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 26, 2011, 09:56AM »

"In my opinion, the trombone is the true head of the family of wind instruments, which I have named the 'epic' one. It possesses nobility and grandeur to the highest degree; it has all the serious and powerful tones of sublime musical poetry, from religious, calm and imposing accents to savage, orgiastic outburst. Directed by the will of the master, the trombones can chant like a choir of priests, threaten, utter gloomy sighs, a mournful lament, or a bright hymn of glory; they can break forth into awe-inspiring cries and awaken the dead or doom the living with their fearful voices."
-Hector Berlioz
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Bradley Madsen
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SilverBone
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 26, 2011, 01:11PM »

Berlioz = Trombone FanBoy.  :D
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-Howard

The nastiest fellow I've known
Smashed his trombone and ruined its tone.
There's a simple excuse
For his slush pump abuse:
He was born to be bad to the bone.
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 27, 2011, 08:45AM »

"From the innovative sounds of Lawrence Brown and 'Tricky Sam' Nanton with Duke Ellington, the charming swing sounds of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller, the 'Great Wall of Sound' of Milt Bernhart and Frank Rosolino with Stan Kenton, the elegant big band bebop of Bill Harris with Woody Herman, the bluesy extroverted rock-solid swing of Al Grey with Count Basie and the explosive energetic sounds of Dick Shearer with Stan Kenton, through the modern big band sounds of Rob McConnell, Frank Mantooth, Maynard Ferguson, Bob Mintzer and the great modern university big bands, the Trombone section has held it all together." - Steve Wiest
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Rich Woolworth
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SilverBone
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 27, 2011, 01:44PM »

The Steve Wiest quote isn't terribly historical, since it comes from his 1993 book "Take the Lead."  Although it is about historical figures...

I was looking for quotes rooted at least a little more deeply in history, such as the purported Strauss and the Sinatra quotes.

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-Howard

The nastiest fellow I've known
Smashed his trombone and ruined its tone.
There's a simple excuse
For his slush pump abuse:
He was born to be bad to the bone.
Torobone

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« Reply #17 on: Feb 27, 2011, 05:48PM »

This is not really a trombone per se, but an interesting look at a type of calliope:

http://wondermark.com/true-stuff-the-steam-trombone/

It circulated on trombone-l a couple of years ago.
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Martin Hubel
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« Reply #18 on: Feb 27, 2011, 07:17PM »

"So how far out can it go?"

Famous students' last words.
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« Reply #19 on: Feb 28, 2011, 11:35AM »

Since this thread is in "History of the Trombone" rather than "Chit Chat," if someone adds a quotation, please provide a citation.  An un-cited quotation is not helpful to scholars or others who might want to use it in the future.  Providing a citation also has the benefit of vetting some of the spurious quotations and taking them out of circulation.

Just a thought, with thanks,

-Douglas Yeo
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Douglas Yeo   

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