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Topic: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

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  1. #51

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by pdNH
    When I was in high school concert band during the dark ages, all we had were trumpets/cornets, french horns, baritones, trombones, and tuba. In football season the french horn players carried Alto horns.

    From watching "Brassed Off" more times than I can count ("It's a bloody euphonium!") and seeing some brass ensembles I know that all these other things exist but I don't know anything about their ranges. Could somebody provide a list? Euphonium, Mellophone, Mellophonium, Flugelhorn (not mentioned in this topic yet), Tenor horn, and so on. Are they all conical bore?
    I've found Wikipedia.com to be a valuable source of information when writing for an instrument for the first time. The articles tend to be written by players and very comprehensive. Of course, nothing beats finding a player and talking to them.

    Your post got me thinking about regional differences in an instrument's availability. I grew up in brass band country not far from where Brassed Off was set and euphonium and flugelhorn players were ten a penny. We even had a euphonium player in the school orchestra making up for the lack of French horns. (BTW, following discussion elsewhere, I still like to say 'French' horns to distinguish from the general jazz usage of 'horn' to mean anything blown. It's not often an issue but I like to be clear about these things! ).

  2. #52
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
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    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    If there isn't a definite consensus, would be the best policy be to make two versions of the score, one with key sigs w/transposed parts and another one in C, would that be the way to go?
    (and if this question indicates I have totally misinterpreted something, please let me know)

    Would that be a great auto feature for the notation programs to have, a convert button that would take your finnished score and re-render the whole thing in C on a separate file?


    BTW, great thread!

    PS: if anyone has a Wagner horn laying around that you don't need anymore, you can send it to me.

  3. #53
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    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by Leaf
    If there isn't a definite consensus, would be the best policy be to make two versions of the score, one with key sigs w/transposed parts and another one in C, would that be the way to go?
    (and if this question indicates I have totally misinterpreted something, please let me know)

    Would that be a great auto feature for the notation programs to have, a convert button that would take your finnished score and re-render the whole thing in C on a separate file?


    BTW, great thread!

    PS: if anyone has a Wagner horn laying around that you don't need anymore, you can send it to me.
    This is a very trivial thing to do with both Finale and Sibelius, and I often print jazz scores out this way, one to give to the conductor, one to study while the band is playing. My feeble mind finds it easier to assimilate the sounds coming in with what's on the printed page if it's in concert pitch.

    Keith Walls

  4. #54
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    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by snorlax
    Well, Keith, you're close. It's a SAXHORN, not a saxophone. Saxhorns (same Adolphe Sax, though) are valved brass. Clever guy, that Sax...horns and saxophones. I guess the greatness of the saxhorns would cancel out the evils of the saxophones.

    Not to be confused with that errant throwing second baseman Steve "Alto" Sax.

    Jim
    The Saxhorn is an interesting instrument. I is an old style marching trombone with the bell pointed backwards over the player's left shoulder and was popular among the troops in the US Civil War. I am not sure I would have liked to have been marching behind it.



  5. #55

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    The bell pointed backwards so the band could march in front of the army and be heard by the troops. Guess that means if the music stopped it was time to RUN!

    The bell to the rear was only one configuration and I think they are still around. Although there are differences, one could make an argument that modern Euphonia, Tubas, and Flugel Horns are pretty much sax horns (or at least descended from them).

    Richard Smith

  6. #56

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    In Kays' Creative Orchestration he states "brasses are good in flat keys" with no further information. Is this true and, if so, why? Thanks

  7. #57

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron St. Germain
    In Kays' Creative Orchestration he states "brasses are good in flat keys" with no further information. Is this true and, if so, why? Thanks
    Not necessarily.

    My guess is that this book is somewhat dated, especially if you mean George McKay. Doesn't that book date from the late 50s?? Is it primarily for "stage Band"? Can't recall right now.

    That statement is often made because the orchestral brass often have Bb, Eb, or F as their fundamental. C instruments were likely less popular in that day...HOWEVER:

    1. Orchestral trumpet players usually play C trumpet, and the standard orchestral tuba is in CC (or F)...and

    2. A good brass player (good enough to play in an orchestra) can play in any key on their instrument, and horn players can frack in any key.

    3. Having said that, some keys are easier than others, especially where rapid passages are concerned. I ain't about to play Carnival of Venice in E on the Bb Euphonium.

    B and E are awkward on Bb instruments, C#/Db and F#/Gb are awkward on C instruments, E and A are awkward on Eb instruments, F#/Gb and B are awkward on F instruments. Same finger patterns for each instrument.

    A trumpet player might play a piece in B on the C trumpet, since fingering would be easier on C than on Bb for a piece in B. Additionally, most all professional trumpeters can transpose quite well at sight.

    100% Easiest keys: for Bb brass=F, Bb, Eb.
    for C brass=G, C, F
    for Eb brass=Bb, Eb, Ab
    for F brass=C, F, Bb
    If you are writing for beginner band or middle school band, stick primarily to those keys.

    All the old warhorse brass solos like Carnival of Venice are in the flat keys for ease of fingering, but an orchestral part can be in any key your heart desires.
    Fear not.

    Jim
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  8. #58

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Great answer. That's a definite print out. Thanks!

  9. #59

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Just a note to Snorlox: Thanks for your informative posts on brass. I have learned some useful things.

    :-)
    Alan Belkin, composer
    Professor of Composition
    University of Montreal

    http://www.musique.umontreal.ca/pers...n/e.index.html (links to examples of my music, as well as my online textbooks)

  10. #60

    Re: R-K Update & Discussion: Orchestral Brass

    Quote Originally Posted by belkina
    Just a note to Snorlox: Thanks for your informative posts on brass. I have learned some useful things. :-)
    THANKS, Alan! You have made my day! In turn, I have learnt very much from you via your writings and presence here...

    J. Snorlax Williams
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

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