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Topic: Valve (Bass) Trombone?

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  1. #1

    Valve (Bass) Trombone?

    I was just wondering if there is such a thing as a valve bass trombone.

    As I am finishing off my audio files of my score and beginning to think about cleaning up the staff view in Sonar to generate sheet music, I am beginning to take a closer look at the individual parts to see if any is likely to pose a problem for players (making sure there is enough time to adjust to different registers, or switch to another instrument, etc.). Since I ultimately decided that I didn't need any trombone slides, it occurred to me that I wouldn't have to worry as much about the agility of the trombone part, if the player could use a valve instrument. (The part is for a bass trombone, with an optional double on the tenor for the numbers where it goes above the staff.)

  2. #2

    Re: Valve (Bass) Trombone?

    All classical players are going to use trombones with an F attachment and the bass trombone has another. These are rotary valves. BUT, that is not like a trumpet valve system. Velocity issues on trombone are not that big of a deal and are mostly dictated by register rather than method of playing. Three valve "trombones are rarely, if ever used. And never in classical. Look at other trombone parts to see what they are capable of, I also suggest looking at the Samuel Adler or Kent Kennan/Donald Grantham orchestration books.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  3. #3
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: Valve (Bass) Trombone?

    Hi EJR,

    I'm not a 'bone player, but from what I know there is no commonly available valve bass trombone. I say commonly because there have been valve trombones built in various registers, but I wouldn't count on finding one when contracting a pit. The tenor valve trombone is usually all you'll find, if at all.

    Note also that even a 'standard' bass trombone does have one or two triggers/valves to divert the air to additional tubing (but these are not 'note'/pitch valves).

    Just a suggestion EJR ... why even specify a valve trombone? The range between the valve and slide flavors is identical. You don't need to baby the trombone part (fast 7th to 1st position notes excepted ) and you are much more likely to contract a slide trombone player than a strictly valve trombone player (generally, valve trombones are not considered to have the bite and volume of a slide flavored one ... most slide TB players don't own a valve TB). Just call for a tenor trombone ... let the player (or contractor) decide what to play it on.

    The only real advantage with a valve trombone is that with embouchure adjustments, trumpet players can double on it easier than if they had to learn the slide trombone. But once again: don't count on trumpet players owning the instrument ... as a rule, trumpet players don't double on trombones of any flavor.

    Hope this helps,

    Regards,

    Frank

  4. #4

    Lightbulb Re: Valve (Bass) Trombone?

    Valve trombones (including bass trombones) are more favored in Italy, but are rarely seen these days in the US (outside the "marching trombone" used in some marching bands). (If you want a bass valve trombone, you can still order one from Orsi.)

    Trombonists can be quite agile, but if you're really concerned about the part you could always score it for euphonium (and you will find players who double euph and bone).
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

  5. #5

    Re: Valve (Bass) Trombone?

    You are describing a CIMBASSO.

    Go here or here

    and prepare to pay a hefty doubler fee if you want one. The instrument in the vids is in BBb; they also come in CC, Eb, and F...IOW, just like tubas.

    The modern instruments are superb; earlier ones were/are abysmal. The cimbasso is normally played (usually reluctantly) by a tubist. It is NOT a normal double.

    The primary use for the cimbasso is as a bass for Verdi operas and the like, for which tuba is inappropriate. FWIW, Italians used valved trombones extensively. Check this and this out.

    Jim "who has actually played an F Cimbasso and lived to talk about it" Williams.
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: Valve (Bass) Trombone?

    Quote Originally Posted by snorlax View Post
    You are describing a CIMBASSO.

    Go here or here
    Hey Snorlax,

    That was great!!! What an odd looking piece of plumbing ... right up there with early bass flutes, contrabass clarinets and so on. But what a beautiful sound ... wow. I really enjoyed those clips (plus, an added bonus, got to see Mike Abene, a great arranger, conducting).

    I've always been a big fan of Stan Kenton's Mellophonium band ('60-'63), but until yesterday, had never seen one ... another odd-looking horn with a great sound. Stan's Mellophonium Section

    Thanks for the trip down Italian Trombone lane.

    Regards,

    Frank

  7. #7

    Lightbulb Re: Valve (Bass) Trombone?

    Quote Originally Posted by snorlax View Post
    You are describing a CIMBASSO.
    IIRC, the cimbasso was invented to satisfy Verdi's desire for a contrabass brass, pitched below the bass bone, that would blend with the trombones better than the tuba (which he disliked).

    Here's a historical example, and a modern product.

    In addition to tenor and bass valve trombones, Orsi makes a cimbasso, although it is wrapped like a tuba. Had a chance to play the old prototype when I visited their old factor in Milan a few years ago. (Good sound, but the valves needed maintenance -- to be expected for a horn whose only remaining function is to be copied.)
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

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