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Topic: Trombones - range

  1. #1

    Trombones - range


    I\'m a new user of GPO (arrived this morning) and I am quite upset about the limited ranges of the trombones - there may be a way of increasing these and if there is I\'d be grateful of someone advising me how.

    The tenor trombone stops at low E and only goes upto high F.

    The tenor trombone should go down to at least pedal F and upto the Bb above high F. Granted these are professional ranges, but that is what a product such as this should reflect.

  2. #2

    Re: Trombones - range

    Originally posted by Richard N.:
    ... I am quite upset about the limited ranges of the trombones ...
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I\'m very interested in what you are saying about the trombone.

    As a user of GPO I have the Bass Trombones covering the lower notes you mention.

    As for extending the upper range -- I had no idea trombones could play way up there. (I\'m not complaining, I just didn\'t know.)

    What\'s that super high note in Bolero? Isn\'t it a D# (or an E?, I don\'t remember.) I had assumed that that was pushing the range.

    Can you recommend recordings of a tenor trombone playing above the treble clef?

    I did an arrangement of a piece by Paul Lincke that took a tenor trombone up to the high E, and I figured that I\'d get called a fool for writing a trombone part so ridiculously high. Here it is:


  3. #3

    Re: Trombones - range

    I\'m not sure what you mean by range, but a tenor trombone plays down to a E (first ledger line below in bass cleff), the upper range is usually determined by the player. It\'s practical that the upper range go no higher than 3rd line B flat in treble cleff.
    In some solo work there may be need to play higher than that. For orchestra it\'s not very practical when it will resmeble french horns and not resonate as well.

  4. #4

    Re: Trombones - range


    I think I will have to use the bass trombone for the lower range of the tenor trombone - but it will be a bit of a pain, and also a tenor trombone playing a pedal Bb should sound quite different to a Bass trombone playing a pedal Bb. And I suppose that I will have to try using a trumpet or french horn for the other end of the range.

    As for the high range, a professional classical principal trombone should have a solid high F, and there are soloists who have the Bb above \'top Bb\' in their range as well. I\'m not aware of any specific calssical recordings that demonstrate this but I would guess that Christian Lindberg would be a good starting point.

    There is a beautiful recording of Lush Life performed by Bone Structure where Mark Nightingale ends on the Bb above top Bb, and on the same album he finishes another piece on the F above that!

    I\'m not saying by any means that this extended range is the norm, but then not every violinist is capable of playing every violin concerto that exists.

    I am a semi-pro trombonist (albeit more focussed in the Jazz/Big Band genre) but even I included the Bb above top Bb in my repertoire.

    [just for clarification, \'top Bb\' is the Bb above concert middle C on the piano]

  5. #5

    Re: Trombones - range

    kitekrazy - \"a tenor trombone plays down to a E (first ledger line below in bass cleff)\"

    The standard tenor trombone also includes pedal Bb (Bass clef two ledger lines below staff) down to Pedal E. Many tenor trombonists use a F trigger/valve which fills in the chromatics form low E to the Pedal Bb, and extends the pedal range down to Pedal C.

    \"the upper range is usually determined by the player\"


    \"It\'s practical that the upper range go no higher than 3rd line B flat in treble cleff.
    In some solo work there may be need to play higher than that. For orchestra it\'s not very practical when it will resmeble french horns and not resonate as well\"

    I would disagree, to the extent that the sound will again depend on the player, as would the resonance. Also, I am thinking more of Trombone ensembles where this problem would not exist.

  6. #6

    Re: Trombones - range

    I was looking at a score one time by Walther and another by Elgar that have the bass trombones playing above the tenor trombones quite a bit.

    This is for timbral effect. I am suprised when people here don\'t seem to understand why one would want the more extreme ranges of instruments.

    Checking in Adler\'s book, I see that tenor and bass trombones should have a greater range than is supplied in GPO.

    In a given instance, yes you could use horns instead, but the trombones may give a desireable timbral effect. This is what creative orchestration is all about (though the trombone and other wind players may throw their music stands at you for writing that stuff!).

    I believe the desicion was made to restrict the ranges of many instruments to conserve ram (why I miss Gigastudio, I guess!). This is understandable, but I would like to see the ranges revised in an update with more multisampling done to cover the WHOLE range (but I\'m just greedy I guess!).

  7. #7

    Re: Trombones - range

    Man what timing. I just ran across this little gripe ( and I do mean \'little\' ) last night.

    The solo bass trombone 1 ( which IMO is the better sounding of the two ) only goes up to G below middle C. The top end for SBT 2 is higher but I can\'t remember where it tops out.

    I just picked up my horn again after a twenty + year hiatus and - as rusty as I am - I can get to F above middle C fairly easily. In my prime G - A was not out of the question and my college instructor - who also played bass trombone - could play as high as he wanted.

    The points about timbre are well made as bass trombone is much mellower in the upper ranges than tenor and with a sound that leans toward a euphonium, yet there it is way more bite down in the pedal range.

    BTW - A lot of the impetus for me to start playing again is thanks to GPO. ( Gary, my dogs hate you. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] ).

    Hmmm.... maybe a bass trombone concerto ... [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  8. #8

    Re: Trombones - range

    Here’s something for the “Tips and Techniques” folder: Whenever you find that one of two similar instruments (like Bass Trombone 1 and 2) has greater range than the other and you prefer the sound of the one with the lesser range, here’s something to try:

    In GPO there is a box called “keyrange” located below the name of the loaded instrument. It has two numbers 0 – 127. These can be used to restrict the active notes in an instrument. It is possible to use this to create “hybrid” instruments. For example, load Bass Trombone 1 into the first slot of GPO and Bass Trombone 2 into the second slot. The goal is to extend the range of Bass Trombone 1 (whose top note is G2). Highlight Bass Trombone 2 and place your mouse cursor over the “0” in the keyrange box. Hold left click and move your mouse forward (or “up”). The numbers will scroll incrementally larger. Stop and release at “56.” That’s the key number for G#2. Leave the second number (127) where it is. You have just restricted Bass Trombone 2 to the notes from G#2 to its top note of C4. Change the channel assignment of Bass Trombone 2 to match that of Bass Trombone 1. You now have a hybrid bass trombone that plays the notes of Bass Trombone 1 up to the G2 and above that the notes of Bass Trombone 2. The timbre match is not perfect but in context with reverb is reasonably good and very usable.

    Another example would be extending the range of Bassoon 1 with the samples of Bassoon 2. Same procedure as above but the lower range of Bassoon 2 would be restricted to note number “68.” Be sure to always check to see that the pan positions for the two instruments are identical. You could also tweak the volume setting for the best match at the transition.

    This can even be used to extend the range of something like the cello section. Use the Cello 3 Ens1, Ens2, and Ens3 instruments restricted to “80.” This will extend the cellos to the C5 without the polyphony penalties of layering them over their entire range. In this case let the Ens instruments retain their unique panning positions.

    If you have the full version of Kontakt such hybrid instruments can be constructed and saved as a single instrument. You can even take further steps with EQ to help get better timbre matches.

    All kinds of possibilities, but the above GPO player suggestions are pretty easy to use and come in very handy if you need those extra notes. The more adventurous among you can use this technique to construct some truly bizarre combination instruments too.


  9. #9

    Re: Trombones - range

    Thanks Tom,

    Those are good points. And something I might try later. ( Although if I had my druthers I would trade a few notes off the top of SBT 2 for a few notes up on SBT 1 ).

    But... you want to know the real kicker?

    I have SAM brass as well, and all of their solo bass trombone patches only go up to Ab below middle C! [img]images/icons/confused.gif[/img]

    Once again, GPO wins the bang-for-buck battle hands down.

  10. #10

    Re: Trombones - range


    Thank you for the Player tip! I have a couple of bassoon pieces where I wanted to use the instrument with the smaller range but I needed just 1 note more! So this is excellent to know.

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