Originally Posted by Thared33
Technically, at least as far as I recall, a harmonic is any partial except for the fundamental, but otherwise partials and harmonics are the same thing (just numbered differently). The fundamental is the nominal note, the lowest frequency wave in the sound. If you refer to the fundamental as a partial, it is the 1st partial. The second partial (aka the first harmonic) is typically (but not necessarily
) an octave higher.
In most musical sounds, the harmonics or partials follow the harmonic series. "Partial" is the more general term, because not all timbres have frequencies in the harmonic series of their fundamental. For example, gongs and tuned percussion can have partials that are "non-harmonic".
Regarding the baroque trumpet, yes, they're talking about a note corresponding to the 16th in the harmonic series from the fundamental, rather than a component of the fundamental note. Sloppy terminology, but common usage. Since baroque trumpets did not have valves, they could only play the harmonic series. This is why they played in the clarino register: there, the notes in the harmonic series are close enough together that they could actually play scales. Same for the horn: horns play pretty high, considering that they have the same bore length as an F tuba.
On the trombone, the only problem is that there is an entire octave between the fundamental (pedal tones) and the next note in the harmonic series, and the slide only gets you half-way there. If you start at Bb, and play chromatically down, you run out of slide at E, and (unless you have a trigger or F attachment) there is no way to get the rest of the way down to the Bb pedal. As for the quality of the notes being unusable, well, I've never known a trombone player who didn't
like to play pedal tones