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Topic: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

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  1. #21

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by gravehill
    Could someone elaborate on the usage of Wagner tubas, please?
    Rismky only mentions them briefly. Prof Snorlax already mentioned that they are usually played by hornists. If I were to use Wagner tubas in a piece, would the normal thing to do be to have less horns or are Wagner tubas normally considered as "extra"? Also how many Wagner tubas is enough or a practical amount? How do they relate to the rest in terms of pure volume? Any other important stuff about them?

    Great resource, BTW!
    It's decidedly non-standard. I'd call it a curiosity or an oddity, but someone might punch me in the nose.


    I'd not use them in lieu of french horns, but certainly as an ADDITION...Stravinsky does that in Rite of Spring. Here's a foto. Note that the instrument is played left-handed. By a horn player (not shown). Using a horn mouthpiece (present, but if you can see it I worry about you)

    It is less mellow and more "present" than a regular horn. Note also that the horn points its bell to the back of the stage, whereas this thing points to the side. It's also a bit wider-bored than a horn, which also helps to impart the extra presence.
    I don't have the score in front of me, but Rite of Spring uses at the max 4 or 6 horns and at least a couple Wagner Tubas.

    The consensus use of the thing seems to be as horns 5-6-7-8 or as a bridge between the horns and the tuba.



    As little as this instrument is used, notating it causes more problems than allother instruments combined.

    For those seeking TMI (too much information) about this thing, go here:

    www. wagner-tuba.com

    EGAD...the thing has its own website
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  2. #22

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by snorlax
    The consensus use of the thing seems to be as horns 5-6-7-8 or as a bridge between the horns and the tuba.
    Thanks for the info.

    What do you mean with the 5-6-7-8? Which number represents which instrument group here?

    Thing is, I have a nice sample set of Wagner tubas and I like the sound and therefore feel compelled to use them. At the moment "real life players" are out of the equation but maybe/hopefully that will some day change...
    For mind-boggling music:

    http://www.chaosresearch.de

  3. #23

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by gravehill
    Thanks for the info.

    What do you mean with the 5-6-7-8? Which number represents which instrument group here?

    Thing is, I have a nice sample set of Wagner tubas and I like the sound and therefore feel compelled to use them. At the moment "real life players" are out of the equation but maybe/hopefully that will some day change...
    Normally these "odd brass" appear only in pieces of huge scope such as Rite of Spring.

    The normal orch. would have 4 horns, playing 1-2-3-4. To play the Rite (Too lazy to italicize titles today), 4 extra players would be hired to play parts 5-6-7-8. In the Rite, the 5th---8th players would be on the Wagner Tuben at least part of the time. My specifics may be a bit off here as to exactly how many play when, but the principle is right. I don't have the score in front of me.
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  4. #24

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Thanks for the clarification! Is it safe to assume that the normal thing to do would be to have the same amount of Wagner tubists as hornists, eg 4+4, for optimal balance in tone and volume?
    For mind-boggling music:

    http://www.chaosresearch.de

  5. #25
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    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Snorlax,

    I was wondering if you've ever seen either Mellophoniums or Mellophones in any type of orchestral work? I've seen plenty of Mellphoniums (Mellophonia?) in marching wind ensembles and even a few jazz bands. Reason I ask is that Blatter refers to them. And a Mellophone looks like a small Euphonium, so maybe what I thought was a Euphonium was indeed a Mellophone.

    (As an aside, I know several Mellophonium players and they mistakenly call them Mellophones.)

    Keith Walls

  6. #26

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by gravehill
    Thanks for the clarification! Is it safe to assume that the normal thing to do would be to have the same amount of Wagner tubists as hornists, eg 4+4, for optimal balance in tone and volume?
    Not really. It all depends upon the sound you want to hear. Anything's possible here...well, almost anything...
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  7. #27

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithW
    Snorlax,

    I was wondering if you've ever seen either Mellophoniums or Mellophones in any type of orchestral work? I've seen plenty of Mellphoniums (Mellophonia?) in marching wind ensembles and even a few jazz bands. Reason I ask is that Blatter refers to them. And a Mellophone looks like a small Euphonium, so maybe what I thought was a Euphonium was indeed a Mellophone.

    (As an aside, I know several Mellophonium players and they mistakenly call them Mellophones.)

    Keith Walls
    Keith,
    I have been on this earth a good number of years, grew up in NY City, and lived in several of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world as well as in a few rural areas. As such, I have seen and experienced much of what life has to offer.

    I can say, however, that I am a better person for NEVER having heard those beasts in anything resembling an orchestra.

    A mellophone is usually a bell-down, valves-up horn sorta thing.




    A mellophonium (may be a trademark name of Conn Corp) is a thing with a huge bell flair like a horn, but with top-action valves and a straight-out bell.
    Stan Kenton asked trumpet players to use them when he was in his "large neophonic" phase. I fully believe the story that the trumpet section threw them into a pool when Kenton was asleep.


    If there is any justice in the world, all the rest of these things will wind up at the bottom of some briny deep.
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  8. #28
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
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    458

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    I stand corrected... the one that looks like a Euphonium is indeed an Alto horn. And the Mellophoniums that I was talking about look like this:




    I guess the term "mellophone" is indeed ambiguous...

    Keith Walls

  9. #29

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    I have nothing germane to add to the discussion, except how much I am enjoying it.
    I am learning a lot from these post tutorial discussions.

    Great stuff Jim, ( and other contributors).

    Brass playing and writing, has come on in leaps and bounds since R.K.'s day, and it is nice to see that reflected in this discussion.

    regards Joe

  10. #30
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    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    This certainly is an interesting discussion. Thanks Prof. Jim for your insights into the brass instruments.

    During Rimsky-Korsakov's time, valved brass instruments were a relatively new thing. It was only in the early 1800's that the first valved instruments were invented. In the mid to late 1800's, there was an exposion of new brass instruments. Below are approximate dates of the introduction of these new valved brass instruments:

    1827 - cornet
    1828 - Valve Trombone
    1831 - Cimbasso
    1839 - Bb/F trombone
    1835 - Valve Horn
    1835 - Tuba
    1843 - the mighty Euphonium!
    1845 - Saxhorn
    1853 - Wagner Tuba
    1855 - Mellophone
    1890 - the modern orchestral Trumpet
    1890 - Sousaphone
    1905 - Piccolo B flat trumpet

    With the relative newness of brass instruments, and neoteric instruments entering the scene (or disappearing), the full range and depth of brass was not have been explored by composers until the 1900's. This may be why Rimsky-Korsakov does not assign as much importance to the brass as modern composers do.

    Question for brass lovers: What is the difference between a Euphoium and a Baritone?

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