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Author Topic: Flugel in place of french horn  (Read 6753 times)
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JohnL
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« Reply #20 on: Nov 25, 2016, 04:58PM »

Not sure  if Sansone ever offered one, but there are compenating double horns  where the F "side" routes through the valves twice. Lighter than a "full" double, but with the same range.
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« Reply #21 on: Nov 30, 2016, 12:00AM »

I am now on the hunt. I have a little bit of funding that I can put directly towards my project studio and instrument collection (for the time being). So what's really important to me is finding out which brands/instruments are the best in their class, best for their price etc. I'm of course looking for something reasonable for myself- given that this instrument will be mostly just for studio work, and won't have many applications outside of that.

I've seen many lists of good brands, and of course, the majority of them happen to best American, "name-brand" companies- Yamaha, Conn, King, etc.
I'm seeing a LOT of Olds Mellophones with worn-off lacquer and generally in need of small repairs for leaks and stuff that makes them unplayable. How are the Olds Mellos?
What are some reputable manufacturers and models of alto/tenor horns, 'french' horns, mellophones and things? What are the thoughts and tendencies around getting a single Bb, F, double, or compensating double horn? These are the only type of instrument I haven't delved into- possibly because these 'middle-range' instruments fall into so many categories that you can't really find a singular, online source that talks about ALL of them, like you can with trombones, trumpets, tuba and stuff.


On another note, being a guy who LOVES playing and trying all types of instruments, I'm always seeing these guys who snag **unrighteously crazy** deals on really cool, exotic instruments on eBay and the likes. Tips on how to sharpen the bargain-hunting skills? Pant I'm going to be purchasing instruments to have for kids at my church in the future as well, so this'd be very useful in other areas besides just improving my project studio.
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« Reply #22 on: Dec 29, 2016, 04:10AM »

An Alto Horn or a Mellowphone might be an easier quick learn.
ou could also try combinations. I like somewhat different combinations of horns to get unique sounds.
Flugel-Horn & Alto Trombone or Alto Horn & Bass Trumpet or Flugel & Alto Trombone
Just an idea
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« Reply #23 on: Dec 29, 2016, 05:11AM »

Anton Possegger made a threaded bell flugelhorn that could take a french horn bell.

http://www.musik-possegger.at/.cm4all/iproc.php/20161029-_DSC0108-HDR3.jpg/scale_800_600%3Bdonotenlarge/

That would be an expensive and not so practical solution.

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« Reply #24 on: Dec 29, 2016, 10:19AM »

I'm seeing a LOT of Olds Mellophones with worn-off lacquer and generally in need of small repairs for leaks and stuff that makes them unplayable. How are the Olds Mellos?

They're ok. There's a review on the Middle Horn Leader of the Blessing M-100, which is a similar older style mello to the Olds. That should at least give you a rough idea what to expect.

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What are some reputable manufacturers and models of alto/tenor horns, 'french' horns, mellophones and things?

British Tenor Horns: the only bad one I've played was an old Besson with the top loop above the valves (like on a euph) rather than below it. Intonation was miserable. I've play tested a few John Packers and some of them (the cheaper models, interestingly) played awesome. You probably won't find many from that side of the pond for a cheap budget.

American Alto Horns: (basically the same instrument, just usually wrapped differently) I haven't played too many. I know Boston is good. Most of them probably play fine.

Marching Mellophones: Yamaha's YMP-20x line (especially the current 204) is awesome and an old 201 or 202 would be the first thing I would look for.

Traditional (Circular) Mellophones: basically anything, really. If you can find a Distin "altophone" those supposedly play wonderfully. Conn 14E is like the 16E mellophonium but without a straightened bell.

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What are the thoughts and tendencies around getting a single Bb, F, double, or compensating double horn?

Don't get a single F, they're basically useless (except for Vienna horns).

Single Bb (no matter if it's 3 or 5 valves), double, or compensating double will all be fine. Doubles are the most versatile but the most different to other brass instruments fingering wise. A 5v single Bb can do almost everything a double can while staying in Bb fingerings.

Avoid: Getzen compensating double and other stencils of the same horn. It has a distinctive look and an English horn bell-style bulbous 1st valve slide so it shouldn't be too hard to find them.

No matter what type of (French) horn you get, get a mouthpiece that fits your face. If you have full lips, a Holton Farkas MDC probably isn't ideal (ask me how I know). There are mouthpiece size charts on the web that you can use to figure out what is small or large.

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On another note, being a guy who LOVES playing and trying all types of instruments, I'm always seeing these guys who snag **unrighteously crazy** deals on really cool, exotic instruments on eBay and the likes. Tips on how to sharpen the bargain-hunting skills? Pant

This is what I do:

1. Set up your eBay feed to show new listings of things you want. I have pretty much every brass instrument as one of the saved searches that shows up both in my feed and my E-mail every time there's a new listing.

2. Check your feed at least once a day. Put anything you like and can afford at the current auction price in your Watch List.

3. Just like eBay E-mail alerts, do the same for Craigslist via Google Alerts if you have Gmail. Save the Google searches as "site:craigslist.org [instrument]" - this will search every Craigslist in the country rather than just your local area.

4. Check Craigslist manually fairly regularly in addition to the E-mail alerts - check both your local area and nationwide using a "site:craigslist.org" Google search.

5. Check the Classifieds here every day.

6. Don't count out other websites like Shop Goodwill, Reverb, the used section at Dillon Music, Baltimore Brass, etc. Check them occasionally. There's also the Facebook Marketplace (mobile app only), Facebook Trombone Marketplace, and Facebook Brass Exchange. If your area has a local online yard sale Facebook page, join that.

7. Garage/yard sales, estate sales, pawn shops, and thrift stores. I need to do this more often, but this requires a lot more time than quickly going through some new listings online so I don't usually have the chance to. But if you have time, you might score at one of these too. I think there are some websites that let you know about garage/yard sales near you, but I haven't used them.

8. Now that you have set all this up, the most important thing to do now is wait and be patient. It can take years for the deal you're looking for to show up, but in all likelihood it will eventually show up. You will forget to check on stupid cheap eBay auctions that expire with zero bids. It happens. You will also think you have a listing in the bag as the only bidder but then get sniped with seconds to go. But eventually you'll get it right.
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« Reply #25 on: Dec 29, 2016, 10:36AM »


Any thoughts on instead investing in a Bb-single horn? Some of the hornists I've talked to advise against that, but I haven't been convinced by any reason to NOT go for it, since I can read Bb proficiently enough to play double horn on the Bb side, and the sound characteristics remain similar enough to F-horn for what I need. Right NOW I have access to a (double) horn that I could use to improve my tone, technique and performing skills, and I'm actually living with a horn student/teacher.

I'm not sure why the reading is an issue, if you're playing your own arrangements. You can transpose the parts to any key that matches the fingerings you know, even if it's not standard practice.
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« Reply #26 on: Dec 29, 2016, 11:00PM »

I've certainly been confronting this situation a bit lately in trying to record demo charts and trying to keep the cost down.
Have a listen to this one that I recorded of Silent Night for Brass 5. It uses 2 players, and includes flugel horn. Considering it was a bit rushed and i'm not a sound engineer, I think you'll agree it's a lot better demo than using a sibelius version.

http://pigletmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/silent-night-brass-sample.mp3

Rob

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« Reply #27 on: Dec 30, 2016, 10:34AM »

I've certainly been confronting this situation a bit lately in trying to record demo charts and trying to keep the cost down.
Have a listen to this one that I recorded of Silent Night for Brass 5. It uses 2 players, and includes flugel horn. Considering it was a bit rushed and i'm not a sound engineer, I think you'll agree it's a lot better demo than using a sibelius version.
http://pigletmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/silent-night-brass-sample.mp3
Rob

Nice chart! Did you write that?
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« Reply #28 on: Dec 30, 2016, 04:51PM »

I wish i could say yes pianoman. Roger Downton came up with that. Arranged it so that almost any group of 5-50 instruments can play it. I just provided demos for some smaller combos. His bio is here

http://pigletmusic.com/composers/

Rob
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« Reply #29 on: Dec 30, 2016, 08:08PM »

I'd advise steering clear of the Olds upright alto horn. My wife had one for a little while. Blech! IMHO, if you want a nice alto, you're best off with one intended for brass band use (as opposed to one designed for marching band).
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« Reply #30 on: Dec 31, 2016, 07:13AM »

I'm not sure why the reading is an issue, if you're playing your own arrangements. You can transpose the parts to any key that matches the fingerings you know, even if it's not standard practice.

Big deal here is that I'm not very "certain" about how it'll work with transpositions. I don't know if it'd be best for me to read in Bb or in Bass clef, but I suppose that's something I'll figure out. I'll need practice to get a good sound anyway, and that'll come along with finding out a reading system.

I've certainly been confronting this situation a bit lately in trying to record demo charts and trying to keep the cost down.
Have a listen to this one that I recorded of Silent Night for Brass 5. It uses 2 players, and includes flugel horn. Considering it was a bit rushed and i'm not a sound engineer, I think you'll agree it's a lot better demo than using a sibelius version.
Hey Rob, nice demo. What exactly is the instrumentation here? I hear a tuba down there but it's hard to tell. In fact, it's a bit difficult for me to pick out the individual parts at all, but that might be owed to the low range of the arrangement as a whole


What is it with the traditional circular mellophones, anyway? Many people say they're really good, and they sound pretty darned good to me, but why are they some of the only horns that DON'T get even *some* bad reviews?
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« Reply #31 on: Dec 31, 2016, 11:16AM »

Big deal here is that I'm not very "certain" about how it'll work with transpositions. I don't know if it'd be best for me to read in Bb or in Bass clef, but I suppose that's something I'll figure out. I'll need practice to get a good sound anyway, and that'll come along with finding out a reading system.

My point was that the reading problem will be easily solved, so I wouldn't decide on the instrument on that basis.

Transposition isn't really an essential part of music--it's an accommodation for the exact issue you're trying to solve--playing similar instruments in different keys without learning new fingerings. If you're writing for other people, you need to use the standard transpositions so the parts are what they're used to seeing, but writing for yourself you can do anything you darned well please.

I don't know anything about F horns because I've mostly written for jazz band, but I'm assuming that on the same fingerings and same partial, the horn will play a fourth lower than the same thing on a valve trombone or baritone. IIRC, F horn parts are written in concert key (someone please correct me if I'm wrong).

So if you read the F horn part as if it's Bb, all the notes will come out a fourth too low. You could copy the horn part off the score, paste it into a single-staff score, then transpose that up a fourth to create a 'just-for-you' horn part for recording. When you read it as a Bb chart, it will come out a fourth lower and comprise the correct pitches. You could also choose a different clef if it suited you (you might end up with a lot of ledger lines in bass clef).

Again, please correct me if I have the facts wrong, but in principle this will work and would be a better solution than selecting the horn based on the key that you're used to reading in.
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« Reply #32 on: Jan 02, 2017, 04:07AM »

Again, please correct me if I have the facts wrong, but in principle this will work and would be a better solution than selecting the horn based on the key that you're used to reading in.

Nope, you've got it 100% correct! I'd need to just put the music in the transposition I'd be using, and then transpose it all to fit the pitch of the instrument. I suppose the last few entries were just to see what might be the best option for reading, as well as the change in fingerings, since it seems I'll end up using many ledger lines if I read in Bass OR Bb, and all the scales/fingerings would be completely different ones on an F instrument. But you're right, it'd just be a matter of tailor-making my music for myself so that it is transposed properly for me to read in Bb or Bass clef- not dependent on the pitch of the instrument I buy. f I build up proper technique, then playing in "different keys" on somewhat similar instruments won't be an problem. And using a differently-pithced horn would give me good practice in scales that I might not necessarily be so practiced in on trumpet.
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« Reply #33 on: Jan 02, 2017, 07:03AM »

I wish i could say yes pianoman. Roger Downton came up with that. Arranged it so that almost any group of 5-50 instruments can play it. I just provided demos for some smaller combos. His bio is here

http://pigletmusic.com/composers/

Rob

Wow, listening to the demo one more time with more proper headphones changes it completely!! The demo sounds really good, there are some really nice chords in there. Is the lowest voice MIDI actually?
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« Reply #34 on: Jan 02, 2017, 09:00AM »

For a french horn voice in Bb, I've always like the King 1122. Same length and fingerings as a valve trombone, but with a small bore and a widely tapered bell.

If I didn't already own one, I'd buy this one on Ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/King-Marching-French-Horn-582013-/172465068795

The silver plate looks good, although it needs a good polishing.
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« Reply #35 on: Jan 02, 2017, 02:02PM »

Wow, listening to the demo one more time with more proper headphones changes it completely!! The demo sounds really good, there are some really nice chords in there. Is the lowest voice MIDI actually?

Thanks. I was a bit heavy on the wash in hindsight. Trumpeter playing tpt 1, 2 and flug (fr hn part), bone, and yes midi tuba. Does the job I think.

Rob
http://pigletmusic.com
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« Reply #36 on: Jan 05, 2017, 05:19PM »

What is it with the traditional circular mellophones, anyway? Many people say they're really good, and they sound pretty darned good to me, but why are they some of the only horns that DON'T get even *some* bad reviews?

Because nobody plays them. Seriously.

These days I feel like more people play even mellophonium than circular mellophone, because at least the mellophonium has a tiny sliver of use when playing certain Kenton charts. Plus since it's bell front it's much better for playing jazz, and since it was originally intended as a marching instrument there are a lot more old ones floating around that the schools don't need anymore so there's plenty to pick up for cheap. Finally, since the mellophonium is so unique people who like weird instruments are naturally drawn to it.

Circular mellophone, on the other hand, is totally obsolete. There's no reason to ever play one, unless you want to pass off as a horn player without having to learn horn.
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« Reply #37 on: Jan 06, 2017, 04:59AM »

I have one of the older Circular Mellophones that I use every once & a while. Mostly for improvisation in more of a "Free" Improvisational setting. I had a Tech friend of mine expand the lead pipe to accomidate a trombone mouthpiece. I use a Pardube on it and it took the key of the horn from Eb to D. I use it more for color and texture and it works beautifully. I wanted that style rather than the Kenton/Marching band style because of the sound is more "French Horn like" with the bell going back rather than in the front witch to me tend to sound a little blatty
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« Reply #38 on: Jan 14, 2017, 02:46PM »

Probably worth my while coming back to this topic (as I have been oh-so-often). I'm finally back home and have had an opportunity to start preliminary recording on a piece I wrote (solely for beefing up my portfolio).
I only ran through really basic recordings to see what options I had for micing and mixing for my brass (as perhaps stated- 3 trumpets, 3 flugels, 2 tenors and a bass tbn, but with the tenors substituted for slightly EQ'd flugels)

At the moment I'm primarily having trouble with 'detail' and presence in the parts that need it. It could be a fault of my orchestration choices - I've got a strong flugel lead back by close trombone harmonies, that is later overtaken by a trumpet part (with the flugel melody continuing on). All of this is over a drum kit/percussion, piano, choir and strings functioning as a pad. WITH reverb.

Any tips on orchestration for this kind of setup? I seriously want to go even bigger (just to test my limits), but I'm certain my arranging skills will make me overdo, or improperly use, most of the parts.
I guess another way to ask it is, what can do what? Instruments can maybe be grouped by being cylindrical and conical, but a low range euph will serve a completely different purpose than a flugel, as with trumpet and trombone. And similarly, flugel and trumpet can't quite do the same stuff, even being in the same range.
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« Reply #39 on: Jan 16, 2017, 11:45AM »

It's hard to critique (in a good way) a piece that we haven't heard, but I can make some general suggestions. Is this roughly like a jazz band or stage band piece? You don't mention bass, but I generally don't write for drum kit without it. It's sometimes easier to write for a full band than for a smaller one, because each section is complete and easier to arrange.

First, write by ear! If you approach arranging as a part-writing problem, you'll end up frustrated because you're following all the rules but you don't like the sound. That's not to say you shouldn't master part-writing, but it should be used to work the bugs out of a piece after you've created it from a strong aural concept, rather than as a starting point.

Instead, close your eyes, think of each grouping, and imagine what you want each group to do. Think of it as 'figure' and 'ground', as in painting. What's going to separate the 'detail' and 'presence' from the pad? If you draw a very elaborate and detailed painting of a clown on a black or white background, the picture will pop. Paint the same picture on plaid or floral wallpaper, not so much.

Imagine what the grouping of trombone parts sounds like, what range they're in (in your head!), then imagine what texture will sound good against them. In general, if you voice dissimilar instruments, they sound better in unison. Also, when you have several dissimilar sections playing at once (like choir, low brass, and high brass) you can voice them all in one big tutti section, but if they're playing different parts it might turn to mud if you try to harmonize each individual section. Also, use some sections as rhythmic rather than harmonic content, playing little 'pops' rather than sustatained notes.

Most aspiring arrangers don't give themselves enough choices. For instance, unisons are a great tool that people sometimes underuse. As an example, a typical jazz band swing arrangement might have saxes playing the head in unison or octaves, the trombones playing the 'comping' part, with accented sustained chords, and maybe muted trumpets playing little stabs on the second time through. You're not trying to make each section do the same thing. Unison vocals sound good, too. A unison sound (choir, or trombones, or whatever) just playing a quiet 'guide tone' is a very nice and unobtrusive color.

In general, the faster the passage, the less harmony it will sustain. If you listen to the arrangements James Pankow did for Chicago, he's constantly changing those textures from unison to octaves to harmonies, right on the fly. Sometimes you can have everybody play the same thing, then fan out into harmonies.  That approach was also heavily used in hard bop horn arrangements, and it is one of the things that gives the Thad and Mel band an agility that sounds simultaneously 'big-band' and 'small-band'. You hear the same technique in small classical ensembles.

In other words, don't forget your unisons.

Pay attention to note spacing. In general, the lower the notes, the farther apart they should be. I would typically voice notes at least a fourth apart below F in the bass clef staff. Higher up, you can jam things together. For instance, a full trombone section could play an Eb7 chord with a G (above the BC staff) on top, with the Eb and Db notes next to each other, and it would sound great, but if you put that down an octave it's going to sound very muddy even though all of the parts are in the normal range of the instrument.

So:
'Hear' the parts in your head! Pay attention to texture and color! Pay attention to note spacing (the lower the pitch, the wider)! Don't forget your unisons! 

I hope at least one of these helped you. Not sure where you're at on this road, so I might be telling you a bunch of stuff that seems painfully obvious. I guess the best advice is to start with silence, then try to improve upon it.

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