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A Beginners Guide to the Baroque

Natural Trumpet
Trumpet players in the 17th and 18th centuries players aural skills. Since the natural trumpet
enjoyed an exalted status socially as well as musically. requires pinpoint accuracy in the slippery upper reach-
Poets lauded their artistry and painters captured their es of the overtone series, the ability to hear intervals
likenesses on canvas. Even today, we marvel at the and pitch relationships is paramount. Like the human
great Baroque soloists like Girolamo Fantini, Gottfried voice and unfretted string instruments, the natural
Reiche, and Valentine Snow, who tamed the valveless trumpet is essentially a blind instrument that relies
natural trumpet and made it sing in the stratosphere. on expert ear training for successful performance.
Thanks to the brilliant work of trumpeters such as Those accustomed to performing Baroque music on
Edward Tarr, Friedemann Immer, and Don Smithers, the piccolo trumpet particularly benefit from learning
the technique of playing the natural trumpet is not the to play the natural trumpet. They gain invaluable
mystery it once was. The work of conductors such as insights into appropriate Baroque phrasing and artic-
John Eliot Gardiner, Paul McCreesh, and Ton ulation as well as the unique personalities of the nat-
Koopman has similarly done much to popularize and ural trumpets registers (principale, middle, and clari-
promote the performance of early music on historic no). Although the somewhat homogenized sound of the
instruments. piccolo trumpet is unable to reproduce the natural
A quick glance at the bibliography for this article trumpets ethereal clarino or the characteristic earthi-
will prove that publications devoted to the serious ness of its low register, acquaintance with an authen-
study of the Baroque trumpet have mushroomed in the tic sound ideal enriches any musicians performance.
past two decades. Most notably, Edward Tarrs land-
Issues of Authenticity
mark three-volume method, The Art of Baroque
Trumpet Playing, appeared in 1999-2000. Recent One of the first steps on the road to playing the
advances in scholarship, instrument construction, and Baroque trumpet is the acquisition of a suitable instru-
pedagogy have created a veritable renaissance for the ment. This can be a daunting process for the unin-
Baroque natural trumpet. Never before has informa- formed. Modern builders of historic brass instruments
tion on playing historic instruments been as accessible usually model their trumpets after historic makers,
as it is today. My purpose in this article is to consoli- such as Ehe, Haas, and Bull, and it is important to
date resources and information that might be useful understand the differences between these models.2
for any trumpeter who wants to study the natural Photos of several historic trumpets appear in the first
trumpet, but doesnt quite know where to begin. two volumes of Tarrs Art of Baroque Trumpet Playing
along with photos of modern reproductions. The defin-
Benefits of Studying the Valveless Trumpet
itive work on the subject is Robert Barclays Art of the
Trumpeters who learn to play a valveless Baroque Trumpet-Maker. This book concerns the history of the
instrument enjoy a host of benefits. They not only Nuremberg trumpet-makers of the 17th and 18th cen-
develop a new awareness of the trumpets regal her- turies and includes step-by-step instructions for build-
itage, but they improve their overall musicianship and ing a trumpet.3 Understanding the basics of historic
technique on the modern trumpet as well. Playing the instrument construction gives the trumpeter a fund of
natural trumpet forces a musician to focus on the knowledge from which to make an informed purchase.
basics of sound production and fundamental tech- Before going one step further down the path to
niques such as flexibility, range, note accuracy, articu- purchasing an instrument, issues of authenticity must
lation, embouchure strength, and breath control.1 be confronted. Because the natural trumpet can only
Perhaps the greatest benefit is the enhancement of a produce notes of the harmonic overtone series, some of

Fig. 1. The harmonic overtone series in C. These notes are all playable by a natural trumpet. Darkened notes indicate partials that
are out of tune.
the pitches, or partials, are inherently out of tune. The issue, but players should seek to balance concerns of
most problematic partials are the 11th (F) and the 13th comfort with those of authenticity. A musician just
(A). The 11th partial is too sharp for F and too flat for beginning to play the natural trumpet may prefer to
F-sharp while the 13th partial renders a rather flat A. use his or her familiar modern mouthpiece at first and
See Fig. 1. then switch to an authentic mouthpiece once acquaint-
Trumpet players in the seventeenth and eigh- ed with the feel of the instrument. Some makers pro-
teenth centuries corrected these intonation problems vide instruments with tapered leadpipes that accept
by lipping, or note bending.4 This technique was also modern mouthpieces, but many do not.7 See Fig. 2.
applied to occasional non-harmonic tones such as B- Although some professional players occasionally use
natural (by lowering the 8th partial), C-sharp (by low- modern mouthpieces, such compromises are made for
ering the 9th partial), and F-sharp (by raising the enhanced security in the service of an historically
notorious 11th partial). Around 1960, Otto Steinkopf
devised a system of three vent holes for a natural
trumpet built by the German maker Helmut Finke
that rendered the fickle 11th and 13th partials in tune.
Steinkopf was also a pioneer in the revival of the
Renaissance cornetto and he perhaps found inspira-
tion for the vent hole system from his experience with
that hybrid wind instrument.5 Later, the British trum-
peter Michael Laird devised a four-hole system that Fig. 2. A natural trumpet by Andrew Tomes (UK) pitched in D
increased the stability of many pitches and offered (modern pitch) compromised with a tapered leadpipe and vent
additional solutions to intonation problems.6 Although holes. An adapter for a modern mouthpiece and tapered tuning
vent holes made the natural trumpet safer to play, bit may also be used with this trumpet. With these additions, the
instrument should be labeled as a Baroque trumpet and not as a
they altered the sound slightly. The resulting compro-
natural trumpet. This instrument is a modern reproduction of a
mise instruments would not have been used by trum-
trumpet built by the Nuremberg maker, Johann Leonard Ehe III, in
peters 300 years ago and could hardly be called nat-
ural. In an attempt to clarify terms for these instru-
ments, it is becoming accepted practice to refer to informed performance.
trumpets without holes as genuine natural trumpets Historians rightfully contend that the use of vent
and to label vented instruments as Baroque trumpets. holes, tapered leadpipes, and modern mouthpieces bor-
With this in mind, it must be emphasized that the ders on the heretical, but quibbling over equipment is
use of vent holes is only a modern convenience, but it not the primary concern of the beginning natural
is often deemed necessary for professional players. trumpet player. All musicians should begin by playing
Performing on an instrument without the vent hole a natural, unvented trumpet with a familiar mouth-
system pays dividends in terms of authenticity and piece. Like any style tradition, the conflict between
sound, but it presents a daunting challenge when mod- theory and practice in the 20th century Baroque
ern audiences expect flawless intonation in equal tem- revival rages on, and these issues must be confronted
perament and pinpoint accuracy. Although the number when a player purchases a professional instrument
of musicians who play the Baroque trumpet exclusive- and seeks to perform in public.8 Any musician embark-
ly has risen sharply in recent years, the vent hole sys- ing on the study of the natural trumpet must respect
tem is favored by professional trumpeters who primar- authentic performance practices and strive to serve
ily play the modern trumpet because the technique of them as closely as possible. An instrument with vent
playing a vented trumpet is more secure. holes does improve accuracy, but the added security
Using an appropriate mouthpiece is another con- can lead to overblowing and inappropriately harsh
sideration when approaching the natural trumpet. articulations if aesthetic standards are not observed,
Most players get started by using their modern mouth- especially in the early learning stages.
pieces with natural trumpets, but an adapter is usual-
Finding an Instrument
ly needed to fit the shank into the larger leadpipe.
Authentic Baroque mouthpieces possess a wider cup The Historic Brass Society is the best source of
diameter, larger, flatter rims, a sharper bite, and a information about current makers of natural trumpets
longer, thicker shank. The longer shank encases a and authentic mouthpieces. The most recent compila-
tapered backbore that compensates for the lack of tion of makers was published in the Summer 2001
taper in the leadpipe. These dimensions affect the Historic Brass Society Newsletter.9
sound and facilitate the practice of lipping. A shallow- The purpose of this article is not to recommend
er mouthpiece does not necessarily aid high register specific brands of instruments; however, a sampling of
playing due to the expanded dimensions of the natural current makers includes Robert Barclay (Ottawa),
trumpet. Rainer Egger (Switzerland), Keavy & Vanryne
The selection of a mouthpiece is a highly personal (Reading), Ewald Meinl (Germany), Andrew Naumann
(USA), Frank Tomes (London), and Geert Jan van der
Heide (Netherlands).The authoritative source of infor-
mation on the Internet is David Baums Natural
Tr u m p e t R e s o u r c e We b S i t e , l o c a t e d a t;
this site includes links to information on current
Baroque trumpet makers, scholars, study programs,
and performers.
Used natural trumpets occasionally appear at pro-
fessional music stores and Internet auction sites, such
as eBay. Although it is possible to build a natural
trumpet out of parts of discarded modern B-flat trum-
pets, it is a challenge to accurately replicate the dimen-
sions of an authentic instrument this way.11
Fig. 4. A natural trumpet by Frank Tomes (UK) pitched in D (mod-
Homemade natural trumpets are useful for starting
ern pitch) with additional crooks, shanks, and tuning bits for the
out, but a professional-quality instrument will be nec-
keys of B-flat, C, and D which is playable in modern pitch
essary for serious study.
(A=440), and Baroque pitch (A= 415).
Most natural trumpets come with sections that
may be assembled to render an instrument playable in
a number of different keys. These sections are the cor-
pus (main body of the trumpet), crooks (curved tuning
slides), and yards (pipes with or without vent holes
that connect the crook to the corpus). It is important to
note that these sections are not soldered together and
are freely adjustable to improve intonation and flexi-
bility. See Fig. 3. Instruments may also come with
leadpipe extensions for tuning purposes called bits.
See Figs. 4 & 6. Some modern compromise instru-
ments come with an adjustable leadpipe to facilitate
tuning. Depending on the maker, natural trumpets are
usually available in the keys of D (modern pitch,
A=400 Hz), Db (Baroque pitch, A=415 Hz), C (modern
pitch), and Cb (Baroque pitch C). Fig. 5, shows a trum-
pet pitched in D (modern pitch) with crooks and yards
Fig. 5. A trumpet by Andrew Naumann (USA) pitched in D
(modern pitch) with additional crooks and yards with vent holes
for the keys of Db, C, and Cb.
in Db, C, and Cb, respectively.
Once the decision is made to purchase a natural
trumpet from a professional maker, there are many
considerations to be factored into the final selection.
The box below lists some of the factors to consider
when selecting an instrument. As with any trumpet,
price and playability determine most purchase deci-
sions, but care must be taken to select an instrument
that boasts a high degree of historic authenticity.
Purists rightfully contend that no valveless trumpet
employing vent holes is authentic, but other factors
such as bell size, metal alloy, and workmanship may be
faithfully reproduced on modern compromise instru-
Fig. 3. A natural trumpet pitched in D (modern pitch) by Andrew
Naumann (USA) dissembled to show how the corpus, tuning Material for Study
slide, and yard fit together. A wooden block wrapped in cord Until very recently, beginning study material for
serves as a brace and provides a suitable hand grip for the trum- the natural trumpet was not readily available. There is
pet. This modern reproduction of an instrument by Ehe features no shortage of Baroque literature. The great works of
two 20th century additions: an adjustable leadpipe and an Bach and Handel, however, are hardly appropriate for
Amado water key.
to natural trumpet study can be found within its three
What to Consider When volumes. Those interested in learning to use the vent
hole system will find useful information in Michael
Purchasing a Natural Trumpet
Lairds BrassWorkBook for Natural Trumpet.13
Although it is certainly possible to gain a working
Historic Models knowledge of the valveless trumpet from these fine
Which historic model does the maker follow? books, it is vital to seek out the tutelage of a profes-
(Ehe, Haas, Bull, etc.) sional natural trumpet player, especially in the early
Once a working fundamental technique is within
Does the maker offer a selection of Baroque reach, a wealth of literature awaits the natural trum-
mouthpieces? peter. Thanks to the pioneering work of Edward Tarr,
Will a modern trumpet mouthpiece fit into the Ludwig Gttler, and others, reliable printed editions of
leadpipe or will an adapter be needed? Baroque trumpet repertoire are readily available. In
Keys & Pitch the realm of orchestral and ensemble repertoire, it is
advisable to begin with the works of Henry Purcell
In which key(s) is the trumpet pitched? (C, D,
before moving on to the music of Handel and Bach.
Cb, Db, Bb, etc.)
Purcells works do not pose the same challenges in
Vent Holes or No Holes terms of endurance and range, and are usually scored
Does the trumpet come with yards with vent for two trumpets. Pieces like the Ode on St. Cecilias
holes? Are yards without holes also available? Day and The Fairy Queen, with their egalitarian part
writing and playful, imitative passages, provide
Tuning Aids
rewarding practice material for two natural trum-
Are tuning bits or an adjustable leadpipe avail- peters working together. Purcells complete trumpet
able for the trumpet? music, as well as the music of Bach and Handel, is pub-
Case lished in collected editions by Musica Rara. This reper-
Is a case available? If not, an alto trombone gig toire belongs in every trumpeters library.
bag is a good fit for the natural trumpet. A One of the major challenges in ensemble playing is
padded camera tripod bag is another option. intonation, and this problem is compounded by the
Additional padded storage for crooks, yards, and unequal temperament of the harmonic overtone series
mouthpieces will also need to be improvised for produced by natural trumpets. With that in mind, a
most cases and bags. welcome reprieve from the isolation of the practice
The British company, Brass Bags, manufac- room may be found in playing ensemble literature as a
tures custom natural trumpet gig bags section with fellow Baroque trumpet enthusiasts, if
( possible.14 When approaching the major works of Bach
and Handel it is beneficial to begin by playing the
lower parts before moving up into the clarino register
anyone just starting to play the instrument. With the and the solo arias. In the realm of solo literature,
publication of Edward Tarrs new method in 1999, The Purcells works are a good starting point. Other suit-
Art of Baroque Trumpet Playing, trumpeters finally able solo pieces for the beginning natural trumpeter
received a wonderful source of beginning exercises, are the sonatas for trumpet and organ by Fantini and
repertoire, and advice for learning to tame the natural Viviani, and the suites in D major by Handel and
trumpet from a 20th century perspective.12 Before the Jeremiah Clarke.
publication of Tarrs method, those desiring to study Beginning to Play
the natural trumpet gleaned exercises from historic
When trumpeters approach a valveless instrument
methods like those of Fantini (1638), Altenburg (1795),
for the first time, they are often unsure of quite how to
and Dauverne (1857), and traveled to study with great
hold a natural trumpet. Depending on the maker and
teachers like Friedemann Immer, Michael Laird, or
type of instrument, the natural trumpet is usually held
Edward Tarr himself.
primarily with the left hand, like the modern trumpet.
No book can replace the guidance of a good teacher,
There is often an ornamental ball (sometimes called
but Tarrs method presents an overview of all the
the boss) or a brace made of a wooden block wrapped
important historic methods (Bendinelli, Fantini,
with cord that serves as a suitable handgrip. The right
Altenburg, etc.) and their exercises along with his own
hand grasps the parallel tubing on the other side of the
practice material. Valuable information on practice
trumpet or just simply hangs at the players side. If the
techniques, ensemble intonation, and the proper exe-
instrument employs the vent hole system, the right
cution of trills is also included. Tarrs method does not
hand would then manipulate the holes.15 The manner
discuss vent hole systems, but everything else related
of holding a long natural trumpet may take consider-
able adjustment for the new player. Although the vented yard with the system is by playing the open C5
instrument is much lighter than the modern trumpet, (3rd space C, or C'') and the G above, and compare the
the longer arm extension and stretched hand position tuning with the last hole covered and then open again.
can be fatiguing at first. As with any new skill, short If the vented yard is positioned correctly, the pitches
practice sessions on a regular basis are advisable to will match when played with the hole open and as well
avoid overuse injuries and undue strain. as closed. If the open-hole C or G does not match the
Once a workable posture has been found, the play- closed-hole C or G, the yard should be adjusted back
er can concentrate on making music. One thing that and forth to find the proper placement. Depending on
will strike any musician during the first few encoun- the particular design of the instrument, the back-bow
ters with the natural trumpet is that it will not (tuning slide closest to the mouthpiece) and the lead-
behave! New players often experience a sense of dis- pipe (or tuning bits) may need to be adjusted to ensure
orientation caused by the lower fundamental of the proper yard positioning and tuning.
natural trumpets harmonic series, the unequal tem- Incidentally, vent holes are not numbered uniform-
perament of those harmonics, and the response of a ly by all makers. The numbering system used by
longer, untapered leadpipe. Careful practice with the Michael Laird, the creator of the four-hole system, is
aid of an electronic tuner helps to clarify reference based on the fingers used to manipulate the holes (e.g.
pitches and, with time, the ear, the lungs, and the T, 2, 3, 5) rather than their sequential order (1, 2, 3,
embouchure remember the physical reflexes that 4).16 Lairds numbering system works as follows: T=
accompany specific intervals and patterns. Even the thumb (the first hole), 2 = index finger (the second
most accomplished modern trumpeter will need to hole), 3 = 2nd or 3rd finger (the third hole), and 5 =
spend some extended time working on basic triadic pinky, or little finger (the fourth hole). The three-hole
exercises in the low register to develop an acquain- system is similar, but omits the third hole (e.g. T, 2, 5)
tance with the feel of the natural trumpet. from the previous list. The stretch of the hand required
It must be emphasized that vent holes should not by the four-hole system is often uncomfortable at first,
be used when first learning to play the Baroque trum- and the woodwind-like fingering technique can be
pet. Most of the initial work will be in the principale rather disorienting for players accustomed to piston
register with pitches that would not benefit from nodal valves. Initial fingering technique should focus pri-
venting, and it is important for the player to become marily on using the thumb to adjust the 11th partial F
familiar with the unique characteristics of the natural and then build from there.
trumpet. Musicians must resist the impulse to cor- On a more practical note, the manner of emptying
rect the out-of-tune notes in order to play in equal excess moisture from the natural trumpet also
temperament. Once given the permission to blow deserves comment. Some makers include Amado water
freely, players will discover that the natural trumpet is keys on their instruments, but this is not always the
far more flexible and resonant when youre not bat- case, and historic instruments certainly did not have
tling nature, so to speak. Exploring the natural ten- them. The best method to use is very similar to that of
dencies of the overtone series yields insights that aid the French horn; turn the trumpet end over end and
future intonation work, such as the pronounced flatter allow the water to drip out of the leadpipe. With
pitch of the lower register, the relative stability of the Baroque trumpets with vent holes, the water can sim-
tonic triad (C, E, and G), and the malleability of the ply escape through the thumb hole.
7th, 11th, and 13th partials (B-flat, F+/-, and A).
Ideas for Serious Study
Following an honest appraisal of the pitch tenden-
cies of the natural trumpet, the real work begins. If a musician seeks to play the natural trumpet
Careful practice on long tones, flexibility studies like professionally, it is important to seek out a reputable
those of Schlossberg and Irons, and target practice on teacher and devote considerable energy to perfecting a
isolated pitches builds a strong foundation for a reli- reliable technique, studying appropriate performance
able technique. The studies found in the first volume of practice, building range, and learning the repertoire.
Tarrs method, the natural trumpet exercises of It should be remembered that trumpeters in the
Dauverne, and the warm-ups in Lairds 17th and 18th centuries usually studied the instru-
BrassWorkBook for the Natural Trumpet are highly ment in a two-year apprenticeship which often
recommended. Trumpeters familiar with James involved daily lessons with a master teacher. If the
Stamps note bending exercises and Carmine Carusos vent hole system is used, dedicated work on fingering
endurance routines will find that these studies are technique is also required. Listening to recordings of
especially beneficial for learning lipping technique and Baroque trumpet soloists and period instrument per-
developing strength and accuracy on the natural trum- formances is especially important. Attending live per-
pet. formances is even better. A good source of information
If a player wishes to learn the vent hole system, on active early instrument groups is the Period
the proper positioning of the yard with the holes is Instrument Performing Ensemble [PIPE] web page
essential. A good way to check the positioning of the ( The site lists infor-
mation on groups all over the world and includes per- relaxed embouchure and gentler airflow. Recorder fin-
formance schedules, when available. gerings are not identical to those of the cornetto, but
Aside from the physical challenges of playing the the fingering technique is the same, and the switch
valveless trumpet, the study of appropriate Baroque from recorder to cornetto is not difficult for trumpet
performance style should be an ever-present task. The players accustomed to transposing. Finally, since the
primary differences between modern performance tra- human voice was (and remains) the model for all wind
ditions and those of the 17th and 18th centuries con- instruments, taking private voice lessons further
cern intonation, improvisation and ornamentation, enhances the musicianship of any instrumentalist.
articulation (especially unequal tonguing patterns), a
Back to the Future
heightened emphasis on strong vs. weak beats, and a
more bel canto sound ideal.17 Luckily, several good ref- Playing the valveless trumpet and other early
erences have recently been published that provide brass instruments clarifies the artistic heritage of
sound advice for those new to Baroque performance. In brass playing and demonstrates that the fundamen-
1999, Cambridge University Press instituted a new tals of good trumpet playing are timeless.
series devoted to performance practice, Cambridge Furthermore, the rapid rise in the performance of
Handbooks to the Historical Performance of Music. The early music on period instruments is a cultural phe-
first volume in this series, The Historical Performance nomenon that has impacted performances on modern
of Music: An Introduction, by Colin Lawson and Robin instruments in addition to invigorating classical
Stowell, delivers precisely what its title offers: a valu- music-making in general. The cultural historian
able overview of the major issues involved in perform- Jacques Barzun wisely observes that:
ing early music.18 Similarly, Doningtons classic The recent interest in playing old music with the
Baroque Music: Style and Performance. A Handbook is instruments of its own day has shown the difference it
a fertile source of information. makes not merely in dynamics but in meaning. The
Although modern research is useful, there is no absence of certain timbres and the presence of others
substitute for reading the original historic treatises. affect the force and the atmosphere of the passage and
Most are available in good English translations. dispose of the idea that a note is a note whether played
Thanks to the efforts of Edward Tarr, Igino Conforzi, on the kettledrum or the ocarina. Also of our time, the
and others, the trumpet treatises by Bendinelli, retreat from the 19C orchestra and the popularity of
Fantini, and Altenburg are all available. Although chamber music, partly due to economic reasons, have
Fantini and Alternburg provide enlightening com- arisen from the feeling that Romanticist passion is
ments on articulation, ornamentation, and trills, per- pass.22
haps the most useful source of information on Baroque A topic that most definitely is not pass is the con-
music performance was written by a flutist who also troversy over the use of vent holes on the natural
played the trumpet, Johann Joachim Quantz.19 trumpet. The battle between purists and practitioners
Quantzs early training as a town musician required has at times created a rancorous partisan atmosphere.
him to acquire passable proficiency on a variety of Brilliant scholars such as Robert Barclay object stren-
instruments and, in addition to the flute, he was an uously to the use of vent holes, while great artists like
accomplished violinist and oboist as well. Michael Laird have furthered the art and built audi-
Consequently, Quantzs treatise is a veritable gold ences for the Baroque trumpet by employing vent holes
mine of information on all aspects of musical perfor- in countless fine performances and recordings. See
mance in the first half of the 18th century. Figs. 5 & 6). Although the purists rightfully voice the
Many professional valveless trumpeters today take conscience of authenticity, the overwhelming majority
a page out of Quantzs book and double on the cornet-
to, the premier wind instrument of the Renaissance.
This not only presents new repertoire, but it empha-
sizes the subtle articulations and phrasing of early
Baroque wind playing. It is beyond the scope of this
article to discuss cornetto playing, but the curious will
find a wealth of knowledge in Jeremy Wests excellent
method book, How to Play the Cornett.20 Wests book is
available along with inexpensive resin cornetti on his
web site ( Since the cornetto is Fig. 6. A trumpet by Frank Tomes (UK) pitched in D (Baroque
a hybrid instrument that requires a trumpet pitch) compromised with a tapered leadpipe and vent holes
embouchure and woodwind fingering technique, it is along with crooks and vented yards to render the instrument
advisable to spend some time studying the recorder playable in the key of C in both modern pitch (A=440), and
before approaching the cornetto.21 Soprano (descant) Baroque pitch (A=415). With the use of tuning bits and addi-
recorders are readily available and provide an enjoy- tional vented yards (not pictured) the trumpet is also playable in
able break from trumpet playing with the instruments Classical pitch (A=430).
of professional Baroque trumpeters currently play tromba [1638]. Edited by Igino Conforzi, Bologna: Ut
vented instruments. Advocates of authentic perfor- Orpheus Edizioni, 1998.
mance traditions, though are beginning to gain
momentum. Quantz, Johann Joachim. On Playing the Flute [1752].
Perhaps the best approach to adopt for a trum- Second Edition. Translated with notes and an intro-
peter new to the world of historic performance is one of duction by Edward R. Reilly, Boston: Northeastern
humility and curiosity. We live in what I believe is a University Press, 2001.
new golden age of trumpet playing. Ever since I first Study Material
heard Edward Tarrs early recordings, I have been fas-
cinated by the regal beauty of the natural trumpet, but Bach, J. S. Complete Trumpet Repertoire. Three
had no way to find an instrument or learn how to play Volumes. Edited by Ludwig Gttler, Monteux: Musica
one. Now things have changed. The Historic Brass Rara, 1971.
Society was founded in 1989, and has encouraged more
trumpeters to play the natural trumpet. The first Blmel, Christian, ed. Original Duets from Old
International Altenburg Competition for Baroque Trumpet Methods. Kln: Mark Tezak Verlag, 1985.
Trumpet Soloists was held in 1995, and the second took
Handel, G. F. Complete Trumpet Repertoire. Four
place in November 2001. Playing the natural trumpet
Volumes. Edited by Robert Minter, Monteux: Musica
requires great discipline and strength, but its enor-
Rara, 1974.
mous dividends are well worth the effort. If you are one
of those musicians who has always wanted to play the
Laird, Michael. BrassWorkBook for Natural Trumpet.
natural trumpet, but never thought it was possible, I
Essex: BrassWorks, 1999.
sincerely hope that this article has provided useful
information you can use to make your dream a reality. Plunkett, Paul. Technical and Musical Studies for the
Baroque Trumpet. Herrenberg-Kuppingen: Musikver-
All photographs courtesy of Elisa Koehler. lag Spaeth/Schmid, 1995.

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by John King, Monteux: Musica Rara, 1975.
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Tarr, Edward H. The Art of Baroque Trumpet Playing,
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Vol. I: Basic Exercises. Mainz: Schott, 1999.
the Heroic and Musical Trumpeters and Kettle-
drummers Art [1795]. Translated by Edward H. Tarr, Tarr, Edward H. The Art of Baroque Trumpet Playing,
Nashville: 1974. Vol. II: Method of Ensemble Playing. Mainz: Schott,
Bendinelli, Cesare. The Entire Art of Trumpet Playing
[1614]. Translation and Critical Commentary by Tarr, Edward H. The Art of Baroque Trumpet Playing,
Edward H. Tarr, Nashville: The Brass Press, 1975. Vol. III: A Beautiful Bouquet of the Finest Fanfares.
Mainz: Schott, 2000
Dauvern, Franois Georges Auguste. Mthode pour la
trompette [1857]. Paris: Editions I.M.D. Diffusion, Books and Articles
1991. Baines, Anthony. Brass Instruments: Their History and
Development. London: Faber, 1980.
Dauvern, Franois Georges Auguste. Mthode pour la
trompette [1857]. Complete English Translation by Barclay, Robert. The Art of the Trumpet-Maker. Oxford:
Gaetan Chenier, Ruby Miller Orval, Rebecca Pike, and Oxford University Press, 1992.
Jeffrey Snedeker, Historic Brass Society Journal 3
(1991): 179-261. Barclay, Robert. A New Species of Trumpet: The
Vented Trumpet in Context. Historic Brass Society
Fantini, Girolamo. Method for Learning to Play the Journal 10 (1998), 1.
Trumpet [1638]. Translation and Critical Commentary
by Edward H. Tarr, Nashville: The Brass Press, 1975. Barzun, Jacques. From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years
of Western Cultural Life. New York: HarperCollins,
Fantini, Girolamo. Modo per Imparare a sonare di 2000.
tromba [1638]. Facsimile, Nashville: The Brass Press,
1978. Collins, Tim. So, How Many Holes is a Baroque
Trumpet Supposed to Have? Historic Brass Society
Fantini, Girolamo. Modo per Imparare a sonare di Newsletter Issue 9 (Summer 1996): 11-15.
Donington, Robert. Baroque Music: Style and Trumpets by Andrew Naumann
Performance. A Handbook. New York: Norton, 1982.

Herbert, Trevor and John Wallace, ed. The Cambridge Christopher Monk Instruments
Companion to Brass Instruments. Cambridge: Cam-
bridge University Press, 1997.
About the Author: Elisa Koehler is the Director of
Lawson, Colin and Robin Stowell. Historical Perfor- Orchestral Activities and Trumpet Instructor at
mance of Music: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cam- Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, and the
bridge University Press, 1999. Artistic Director/Conductor of the Frederick Orchestra
in Frederick, Maryland. Koehler performs with the
Menke, Werner. History of the Trumpet of Bach and Lyric Brass Quintet, the Handel Choir of Baltimore,
Handel. Translated by Gerald Abraham, Nashville: and the Orchestra of the 17th Century. Dr. Koehler
The Brass Press, 1985. holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and the
University of Tennessee, and has studied at the
Nussbaum, Jeffrey. A Survey of Baroque Trumpet Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute. The author
Makers Worldwide. Historic Brass Society Newsletter thanks the following for their kind assistance: David
Issue 14 (Summer 2001): 12-19. Baum, Stanley Curtis, Kris Engle, Flora Newberry,
Frank Owens, and John Thiessen.
Owens, Frank J. Creating a High School Baroque
Trumpet Ensemble. M.M. thesis, Towson University, Endnotes
2000. 1 Frank J. Owens. Creating a High School
Baroque Trumpet Ensemble (M.M. thesis,
Smithers, Don L. The Music and History of the
Towson University, 2000), 5 8.
Baroque Trumpet before 1721. 2nd ed. Carbondale and
Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 2 Daniel J. Leavitt. The Trumpet Workbook.
1988. Teachers Guide. (Aurora, CO: West Wind Music
Company, 1996), 83. Leavitt wisely refers his
Smithers, Don and Klause Wolgran and John Bowsher, readers to the Historic Brass Society for more
Playing the Baroque Trumpet. Scientific American, information and advises that they become very
Vol. 254, No. 4, April 1986, 105-108. familiar with the various manufacturers of the
past and the history of mechanical inventions.
Tarr, Edward H. The Trumpet. Translated by S. E. 3 Robert Barclay, The Art of the Trumpet-Maker
Plank and Edward Tarr, Portland: Amadeus Press, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), 9. Bar-
1988. clay has also led annual summer workshops along
with Richard Seraphinoff in which participants
West, Jeremy with Susan Smith. How to Play the spend an entire week following the procedures
Cornett. London: JW Publications, 1997. outlined in his book to build authentic natural
Web Sites trumpets (without vent holes) that they take
home with them at the end of the week. The cost
The Historic Brass Society
of the workshop is usually less than half the cost
of a new instrument. For more information on
these workshops, consult the link for Robert
The Natural Trumpet Resource Web Site
Barclay on David Baums Natural Trumpet
R e s o u r c e We b S i t e , w h i c h i s l o c a t e d a t :
The Natural Trumpet Discussion List 4 Edward Tarr, The Trumpet (Portland: Amadeus
Press, 1988), 11-14 and 85-90.
The Period Instrument Performance Ensembles [PIPE] 5 Anthony Baines, Woodwind Instruments and
Web Page Their History, 3rd ed. (Mineola, NY: Dover, 1991), 262.
6 Edward H. Tarr, The trumpet before 1800 in
Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute The Cambridge Companion to Brass Instruments ed. Trevor Herbert and John Wallace (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1997), 100-101. The
Trumpets by Rainer Egger Steinkopf-Finke trumpet was a coiled trumpet patterned after the Jdgertrompete held by
Gottfried Reiche in his famous portrait painted by 17 Edward H. Tarr, The trumpet before 1800 in
E. G. Haussmann. Michael Lairds four-hole sys- The Cambridge Companion to Brass Instruments
tem was employed on a traditional long, single- ed. Trevor Herbert and John Wallace (Cambridge:
folded trumpet. Cambridge University Press, 1997), 96-98.
7 One such maker is Keavy & Vanryne (Reading, Musicians interested in a total immersion
England). approach to Baroque performance practice may
attend the two-week Baroque Performance
8 Tim Collins, So, How Many Holes is a Baroque Institute at Oberlin College (web address
Trumpet Supposed to Have? Historic Brass held each
Society Newsletter Issue 9 (Summer 1996), 11-15. summer. Master classes in natural trumpet are
See also Robert Barclay, A New Species of offered as well as classes in ornamentation,
Trumpet: The Vented Trumpet in Context. His- Baroque dance, and most other period instru-
toric Brass Society Journal 10 (1998), 1. ments.
9 Jeffrey Nussbaum, A Survey of Baroque Trumpet 18 Colin Lawson and Robin Stowell. Historical
Makers Worldwide. Historic Brass Society News- Performance of Music: An Introduction. (Cam-
letter Issue 14 (Summer 2001), 12-19. bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).
10 Dave Baum is a Professor of Physics at Goucher 19 Johann Joachim Quantz. On Playing the Flute
College and builds his own trumpets. I am indebt- [1752]. Second Edition. Translated with notes and
ed to Dr. Baum for his enthusiastic support of my an introduction by Edward R. Reilly (Boston:
efforts in learning to play the natural trumpet Northeastern University Press, 2001), xii-xiii, 27.
and for his inspirational devotion to the instru- Quantz was skilled enough on the trumpet to
ment. receive offers for professional positions following
11 Owens, Creating a High School Baroque Trum- his apprenticeship.
pet Ensemble, 9-21. Frank Owens provides a 20 Jeremy West with Susan Smith. How to Play the
detailed description of the procedure he followed Cornett. (London: JW Publications, 1997).
for building natural trumpets this way. Infor-
mation on authentic 18th-century procedure is 21 The Trapp Family Singers. Enjoy Your Recorder.
found in Barclays Art of the Trumpet Maker, 102- (Sharon, CT: Magnamusic Distributors, 1954).
168. Since the soprano (descant) recorder is often used
as a tool for rudimentary music education, many
12 Paul Plunketts book, Technical and Musical beginning recorder methods cover material at too
Studies for the Baroque Trumpet, published by slow a pace for the trained musician. That is not
Musikverlag Spaeth/Schmid in 1995, was the first the case with this excellent method by the
modern method for the natural trumpet, but its Austrian musical family of The Sound of Music
length (32 pages) and coverage are certainly not fame. Although the soprano recorder is popular
on the same scale as Tarrs 3-volume work. The with students, the alto (treble) recorder pitched in
book often refers the reader to exercises in F is the authentic solo recorder favored by
Dauvernes method and so works well as a com- Baroque composers. For example, the solo flauto
panion to that book. dolce part in Bachs Brandenburg Concerto No. 2
13 Michael Laird, BrassWorkBook for Natural was written for the alto recorder.
Trumpet. (Essex: BrassWorks 1999) 5, 9-14, 20. 22 Jacques Barzun. From Dawn to Decadence: 500
Lairds book also includes an appendix by Years of Western Cultural Life. (New York:
Crispian Steele-Perkins that lists instrument HarperCollins, 2000), 547.
14 Edward H. Tarr. The Art of Baroque Trumpet
Playing, Vol. II: Method of Ensemble Playing.
(Mainz: Schott, 2000). This volume includes valu-
able resultant tone intonation exercises for two
and three trumpets along with a wealth of litera-
ture and helpful text. The third volume of Tarrs
method, A Beautiful Bouquet of the Finest
Fanfares, provides more fine ensemble literature.
15 Musicians who play authentic natural trumpets
without vent holes sometimes strike a dramatic
pose with their right hands on their hips to high-
light this technique.
16 Laird, BrassWorkBook for Natural Trumpet, 5, 9.