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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformancePerformance(Moderator: BGuttman) Why not the small bore for "legit" or classical style playing?
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Author Topic: Why not the small bore for "legit" or classical style playing?  (Read 8245 times)
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DaCapo

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« on: Feb 14, 2017, 03:03PM »

 Hi why has it become so normal and basically standard for players on the collegiate and (for the most part) professional level to use a small bore for jazz and a large for legit? Shouldn't we encouraging players to seek a horn that fits their own unique vocal style and go from there? As a result you'd have to teach them also to learn how to create the characteristic sound for whatever they might be playing with whatever equipment suits them best and is most comfortable? I know this is common talk here on this forum but lately I've been contemplating the idea what it means to be a diverse and artistic trombonist. Also as to what type  of precautions and choices should be made when seeking to elevate the craft to the highest level.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 14, 2017, 03:25PM »

Actually, there are a lot of times where a small bore horn works in Classical.  Most music written up to 1950 was written for small bore trombones or valve trombones.  I find when I'm playing in a smaller ensemble a small bore trombone works better.  For example, in "L'Histoire du Soldat" a small bore with F fits in the ensemble better (you need the F for a couple of notes).  And single trombone pieces like Debussy "Afternoon of a Faun" work much better on small bore.  We were doing the Sibelius 2nd Symphony and I brought my small bore (1925 Olds) to a rehearsal and found the blend when we had a chorale with the horns was very good.  The trend for symphonies, though, is to use a large bore instrument for everything.  You won't make a "proper" sound on a smaller one.  You certainly won't win an audition on a small bore.

In jazz, playing a lot of high music on a large bore can be VERY tiring.  Even worse if you try to use a bass trombone.  But there are many advocates of large bore instruments in jazz and they do a very creditable job.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 14, 2017, 03:28PM »

With the orchestra I conduct, we are at present working on the last 2 movements of Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique" and Ravel's "Bolero". (Not for public performance-we can't play it well enough (yet) but just for our own enjoyment and experience)
Our normal "heavy brass" line up is usually 3 tenors (2x88H,1x682B), 1 bass (Reynolds Contempora double trigger) and 1 Besson New Standard EEb bass tuba (4 valve, compensated)
For this series I have suggested medium or medium-large tenors for trombones 1&2, large bore tenor for trombone 3, Tuba as normal and one of the trombone players doubles on euphonium so he is playing the 1st Ophicleide part. Seems to be working fine.

Cheers

Stewbones
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 14, 2017, 03:39PM »

I wonder whether the person waving the stick could tell the difference if the players played different instruments? 

PS legit? Really? Would you tell Trombone Shorty (inter alia) he doesn't play legit music?
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BGuttman
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 14, 2017, 03:42PM »

I wonder whether the person waving the stick could tell the difference if the players played different instruments? 

...

Some yes, some no.  I have more respect for the ones who can.  Mostly for their wanting a specific sound (which is their job, after all).
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 14, 2017, 03:52PM »

I've always understood the term 'legit' to have originated in the jazz community as a pejorative term to denote the stereotype of the snooty classical musicians who have little respect for other art forms. But I don't have a source for that.
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 14, 2017, 03:53PM »

Shouldn't we encouraging players to seek a horn that fits their own unique vocal style and go from there?

Vocal style and uniqueness needs to be cultivated so long as it is competative to win "legit" jobs, and competition for said jobs is all playing large-bore.

As a result you'd have to teach them also to learn how to create the characteristic sound for whatever they might be playing with whatever equipment suits them best and is most comfortable?

Ayuh. Right gear for the job.
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 14, 2017, 04:30PM »

Vocal style and uniqueness needs to be cultivated so long as it is competative to win "legit" jobs, and competition for said jobs is all playing large-bore.

Ayuh. Right gear for the job.
I guess what I'm asking here is why Large bore?
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BGuttman
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 14, 2017, 04:40PM »

I guess what I'm asking here is why Large bore?

If you want to win an orchestral audition nowadays you have to play a large bore.

It's certainly possible to use a smaller instrument at times, BUT:

1.  Often the 1st and 2nd are a pair and should be on similar sized instruments.
2.  The 3rd trombone needs to be a bridge between the trombones and a tuba (often a very large one) and a smallish bore horn won't bridge.
3.  The fashion today is to use large bore trombones.  Conductors are looking for that sound.  And remember, if the guy waving the stick doesn't like your playing you need to find a different job.

If you listen to Ron Barron's "Le Trombone Francais" album you will hear him playing a Conn 88H and a Bach 36B.  No reason why you couldn't use a smaller bore for solo.

Note that a medium or small bore with F is popular in pit orchestras for shows.  You need to be able to cover the range of what used to be 3 different instruments and something like a King 3B-F lets you play high when you need to and to pop out a trigger note or three when that is called for.

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« Reply #9 on: Feb 14, 2017, 04:44PM »

I wonder whether the person waving the stick could tell the difference if the players played different instruments? 

PS legit? Really? Would you tell Trombone Shorty (inter alia) he doesn't play legit music?

You say it like I just made up the term up myself. Trust me, I'm not that cool...
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DaCapo

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« Reply #10 on: Feb 14, 2017, 04:49PM »

Is the third trombone really that bridge to the tuba? I think if they actually intended to make a bridge between the two they would probably put it euphonium in between
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 14, 2017, 04:51PM »

Not questioning your coolness, but it's a bit perjorative, whoever said it.
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 14, 2017, 05:05PM »

I'm sure plenty of Baroque harpsichordist get complimented on their classical music without having an existential crisis....

Large-bore has been the American way for many decades now. In different places at different times, different sound concepts and instrument morphologies have prevailed. "small" and "large" are also of course relative terms - consider that the "small bore" tenor trombone of the American school with a 0.500" bore and 7" bell is a much heftier instrument in proportion than the small French instruments they succeeded at the turn of the 20th century.
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 14, 2017, 05:17PM »

Is the third trombone really that bridge to the tuba? I think if they actually intended to make a bridge between the two they would probably put it euphonium in between

When you become the conductor, you can choose what plays what.

Standard orchestral setups are two tenor trombones, a bass trombone, and a tuba.  Richard Strauss used a Tenor Tuba (Euphonium) in his orchestra.  Wagner introduced a contrabass trombone and large French Horn-like "Wagner Tuben".  Before the tuba was invented, the orchestral brass bass was an Ophicleide.  But you aren't going to get that Orchestral job auditioning on an ophicleide or a cimbasso when they are looking for a tuba player.

Why is it this way?  It just is.  Justified or not.  Way of the world.

You may want to try to make your way in a non-conventional fashion like our friend who plays jazz on an alto trombone.  But you are headed into rough territory that way.   Contractors don't hire non-conformists.
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 14, 2017, 05:34PM »

I think Bruce hits the nail on the head when he says, "The fashion today is to use large bore trombones." Personally, I think it is a wrong fashion and does not do justice to either classical music, most of which was written for small bore; or for Big Bands and Jazz where it is completely the wrong sound to my ears. You also have to realise that most big band music for trombone is played in a much higher register than classical, concert and brass bands.

I remember in the mid 1950s when larger bore Bb/F trombones first started to appear in the UK. Most of the good jazz players gave them a try but their popularity soon waned. Like I say, it is completely the wrong sound. The trombone is not a bass instrument. It's a tenor instrument.
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 14, 2017, 06:53PM »

There are definitely a small handful of pro "legit" (whatever the term is, not important) trombone players who regularly play smallISH bore trombones in day to day orchestral playing. The one who impressed me the most was Harkan Bjorkman who when I met, could make a huge variety of sounds out of his yamaha which took a small shank mouthpiece at the time. Dont know if that is still what he is on.

I think one other reason that there are so few smaller bore trombonists in orchestra is probably  the same reason we dont see a huge number of tenor players on a mouthpiece as big as what Alessi plays.... Alessi makes it work and sounds simply unbelievable, but that gear simply doesn't work for everyone.... I think playing a small bore for day to day orchestral playing would be hard work for most. I know it would for me.

Honestly I think its a bit of a non issue.... If you can make a sound that impresses an audition panel on a small bore instrument  (which IS possible, just not by many players) then that is what you should play. I just think the number of players who could "weild and tame"  :D a small bore trombone in an modern orchestral setting are probably similar to the number of principle trombone players who can make a mouthpiece as big as Alessi's work. Possible, just not for all.
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 14, 2017, 07:10PM »

I'm pretty sure Hakan still plays his Yamaha Z for most of his work that I've seen in the past few years at least. A standard large bore just seems a little macho a seclusive when trying to match balance with the rest of the brass in an orchestra (horns and trumpets) and in terms of balance just makes more sense. This goes for the principal player at least, granted he or she is not playing Alto.

Hakan plays with the CEO and they play repertoire from vast amount of time periods. I'm pretty sure he changes horns around pretty frequently to fit the particular sound that was intended for that era. Oh yeah, when did large bore tenors become a thing?
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 14, 2017, 07:19PM »

Someone will know exactly, but with my limited knowledge i think dennis wick had a lot to do with it, promoting the 88h a lot. I would hazard a guess also that Basses becoming more of a seperate instrument and getting bigger would have had something to do with it.

I dont think its macho at all....  plenty of people think it blends perfectly well with trumpets and horns. Look at any big name orchestra for proof. Plenty of people also find large bore instruments easier to play than small. No machoism there....

I agree with you though that trombone players probably could swap instruments a little more depending on rep like trumpet players. Especially bass trombones. I think regularly using 2 or 3 would be cool.
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« Reply #18 on: Feb 14, 2017, 07:21PM »

The transition appears to have been in the 1940s and 1950s.  Blame Emory Remington and Lew Van Haney (among others) who seem to be the apostles of the Conn 88H (and Holton 68, later the 150).  Denis Wick picked it up from the Americans.

...
I agree with you though that trombone players probably could swap instruments a little more depending on rep like trumpet players. Especially bass trombones. I think regularly using 2 or 3 would be cool.

Simultaneously? Evil :-P
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« Reply #19 on: Feb 14, 2017, 07:26PM »

The transition appears to have been in the 1940s and 1950s.  Blame Emory Remington and Lew Van Haney (among others) who seem to be the apostles of the Conn 88H (and Holton 68, later the 150).  Denis Wick picked it up from the Americans.

Simultaneously? Evil :-P

Of course. How else could you interpret that?  :D
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