Trombone  

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  1. A musical instrument in the brass family, having a cylindrical bore, and usually a sliding tube (but sometimes piston valves, and rarely both). Most often refers to the tenor trombone, which is the most common type of trombone.

Contents

History

Renaissance and Baroque periods

When the sackbut returned to common use again in England in the 18th century, Italian music was so influential that it was known as the "trombone", although other countries used the same name throughout the instrument's history, viz. Italian trombone and German Posaune. The 17th century trombone was built in slightly smaller dimensions than modern trombones, and had a bell that was more conical and less flared.

The instrument was used extensively across Europe from its appearance in the 15th century to a fading out in most places across the mid-late 17th century. It was used in outdoor events, in concert and in liturgical settings. The groups varied from alta capella, wind ensembles, with voices, and the first 'orchestra'-type ensembles in religious settings like St Mark's Basilica in Venice in the early 17th century. Famous composers writing for the trombone in this period include Giovanni Gabrieli and his uncle Andrea Gabrieli, Claudio Monteverdi and Heinrich Schütz. There are also some solo pieces written specifically for trombone in the early 17th century.

During the later Baroque period, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel used the trombone on a few occasions; Bach used it in combination with the cornett to evoke the stile antico in some of his many cantatas and Handel used it in the Dead March from Saul, Samson, and Israel in Egypt, all of which were examples of a new oratorio style, popular during the early 18th century.

Classical period

The use of the trombone in the Classical era was mostly limited to Austria, where the repertoire of trombone solo and chamber literature has its beginnings with composers such as Leopold Mozart, Georg Christoph Wagenseil, Johann Albrechtsberger and Johann Ernst Eberlin who were featuring the instrument, often in partnership with a voice.

Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart used the trombones in a number of their sacred works, including two extended duets with voice from Mozart, the best known being in the Tuba Mirum of his Requiem. Mozart also used trombones in several of his operas. The inspiration for many of these works is thought due to the virtuosic players in the courts at Vienna and Salzburg, including Thomas Gschladt and several members of a family named Christian.

The trombone retained its traditional associations with the opera house and the Church during the 18th century and was usually employed in the usual alto/tenor/bass trio to support the lower voices of the chorus, though Viennese court orchestra Kapellmeister Johann Joseph Fux rejected an application from a bass trombonist in 1726 and restricted the use of trombones to alto and tenor only, which remained the case almost until the turn of the 19th century in Vienna, after which time a second tenor trombone was added when necessary.

The construction of the trombone changed relatively little between the Baroque and Classical periods with the most obvious feature being the slightly more flared bell.

The first use of the trombone in a symphony was in 1807 in the Symphony in ETemplate:Music by the Swedish composer Joachim Nicolas Eggert 1, although the composer usually credited with its introduction into the symphony orchestra was Ludwig van Beethoven, who used it in the last movement of his Symphony No. 5 in C minor (1808). Beethoven also used trombones in his Symphony No. 6 in F major ("Pastoral") and Symphony No. 9 ("Choral").

Romantic period

19th-century orchestras

Many composers were directly influenced by Beethoven's use of trombones, and the 19th century saw the trombones become fully integrated in the orchestra, particularly by the 1840s, as composers such as Franz Schubert, Franz Berwald, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Franz Liszt, Richard Strauss, Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Alexander Borodin, Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Charles Gounod, César Franck, Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saëns and many others included trombones in their operas, symphonies and other orchestral compositions.

The 19th century also saw the erosion of the traditional alto/tenor/bass trombone trio in the orchestra. While the trombone trio had been paired with one or two cornetts during the Renaissance and early Baroque periods, the disappearance of the cornett as a partner and eventual replacement by oboe and clarinet did not fundamentally alter the raison d'être for the trombones, which was to support the alto, tenor and bass voices of the chorus (typically in an ecclesiastical setting), whose harmonic moving lines were more difficult to pick out than the melodic soprano line. The introduction of the trombones into the orchestra, however, allied them more closely with the trumpets and it did not take long for tenor trombones to replace the alto and bass trombones, though the Germans and Austrians held on to the alto trombone and F or ETemplate:Music bass trombone somewhat longer than the French, who came to prefer a section of three tenor trombones until after the Second World War.

By the time the trombone gained a footing in the orchestra and opera, trombonists were no longer usually employed by a cathedral or court orchestra, and so were expected to provide their own instrument. Military musicians were provided with instruments, and instruments like the long F or ETemplate:Music bass trombone remained in military use until around the First World War. However, orchestral musicians adopted the trombone version with the widest range that they could easily apply to any of the three trombone parts that typically appeared in scores—the tenor trombone. The appearance of valve trombones in the mid-19th century did little to alter the make-up of the orchestral trombone section; though it was ousted from orchestras in Germany and France, the valve trombone remained popular almost entirely to the exclusion of the slide instrument in countries such as Italy and Bohemia, and composers such as Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Bedřich Smetana, and Antonín Dvořák scored for a valve trombone section.

Especially with the ophicleide, or later the tuba subjoined to the trombone trio during the 19th century, parts scored for the bass trombone rarely descended as low as parts scored before the addition of either of these new low brass instruments. Only in the early 20th century did it regain a degree of independence. Experiments with different constitutions of the trombone section during the 19th and early 20th centuries, including Richard Wagner's addition of a contrabass trombone in Der Ring des Nibelungen and Gustav Mahler's and Richard Strauss' occasional augmentation by adding a second bass trombone to the usual trio of two tenor trombones and one bass trombone, have not had any lasting effect; the majority of orchestral works are still scored for the usual mid- to late-19th-century low brass section of two tenor trombones, one bass trombone and one tuba.

19th-century wind bands

Trombones have been a part of the large wind band since its inception as an ensemble during the French Revolution of 1791. Over the course of the 19th century various wind band traditions were established, including military bands, brass bands (primarily in the UK), town bands (primarily in the US), and circus bands. Some of these groups, especially military bands in Europe, made use of rear-facing trombones, where the bell section pointed behind the player's left shoulder.

These different wind bands all played a limited repertoire with few original compositions that consisted mainly of orchestral transcriptions, arrangements of popular and patriotic tunes, and feature pieces for soloists (usually cornetists, singers, and violinists). A notable work originally for wind band is Hector Berlioz's 1840 Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale, which uses a trombone solo for the entire second movement.

Toward the end of the 19th century, trombone virtuosi began appearing as soloists in American wind bands. The most notable was Arthur Pryor, who played with the Sousa Band and later formed his own.

19th-century pedagogy

In the Romantic era, Leipzig became a centre of trombone pedagogy. The trombone began to be taught at the new Musikhochschule founded by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Later, the Paris Conservatory and its yearly concours would also contribute to trombone education. At the Leipzig academy, Mendelssohn's bass trombonist, Karl Traugott Queisser, was the first in a long line of distinguished professors of trombone. Several composers penned works for Quiesser, including Ferdinand David (Mendelssohn's concertmaster) who wrote in 1837 the Concertino for Trombone and Orchestra, Ernst Sachse and Friedrich August Belcke, whose solo works all remain popular today in Germany. Queisser almost single-handedly helped to reestablish the reputation of the trombone in Germany and began a tradition in trombone playing that is still practised there today. He championed and popularised Christian Friedrich Sattler's new tenorbass trombone during the 1840s, leading to its widespread use in orchestras throughout Germany and Austria.

19th-century construction

Sattler had a great influence on trombone design. He introduced a significant widening of the bore (the most important since the Renaissance), the innovations of Schlangenverzierungen (snake decorations), the bell garland, and the wide bell flare—features still found on German-made trombones today that were widely copied during the 19th century.

The trombone was further improved in the 19th century with the addition of "stockings" at the end of the inner slide to reduce friction, the development of the water key to expel condensation from the horn, and the occasional addition of a valve to increase the range of the tenor and bass trombones. Additionally, the valve trombone came around the 1830s shortly after the invention of valves, and was in common use in Italy and Austria in the second half of the century.

Twentieth century

20th-century orchestras

In the 20th century the trombone maintained its important place in the orchestra with prominent parts in works by Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Maurice Ravel, Darius Milhaud, Olivier Messiaen, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Rachmaninov, Sergei Prokofiev, Ottorino Respighi, Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, William Walton, Jean Sibelius, Carl Nielsen, Leoš Janáček, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein and Béla Bartók.

With the rise of recorded music and music schools, orchestral trombone sections around the world began to have a more consistent idea of a standard trombone sound. British orchestras abandoned the use of small bore tenors and G basses in favor of an American/German approach of large bore tenors and BTemplate:Music basses in the 1940s. French orchestras did the same in the 1960s.

20th-century wind bands

During the first half of the century, touring and community concert bands lost their popularity in the United States and were greatly reduced in number. However, with the development of music education in the public school system, high school and university marching bands and concert bands became ubiquitous in the US.

A typical concert band trombone section consists of two tenor trombones and one bass trombone, but using multiple players per part is common practice, especially in public school settings.

20th-century solo and chamber music

In the second half of the century, new composers began giving back to the trombone a level of importance in solo and chamber music. Pieces such as Edgard Varèse's Octandre, Paul Hindemith's Sonata, Charles Wuorinen's Trombone Trio and Luciano Berio's Sequenza V led the way for lesser-known composers to build a wider repertoire. Popular choices for recital music today include Stjepan Sulek's Vox Gabrieli, Jacques Casterède's Sonatine and Jean Michel Defaye's Deux Danses. Some well known trombone concertos from this period include works by Derek Bourgeois, Lars-Erik Larsson, Launy Grøndahl, Nino Rota, Christopher Rouse and Henri Tomasi. Jan Sandström composed two concertos to be performed by Christian Lindberg, his Trombone Concerto No. 1 (1990) is called Motorbike Odyssey or Motorbike Concerto. In 1995-6, Johan de Meij wrote his T-Bone Concerto for trombone and concert band.

Popular music

Despite the public's waning interest in classical, then jazz music, the trombone has remained a relevant instrument, though not always a prominent one. Nearly all flavors of jazz have used one or more trombones throughout the century. Originating in the Caribbean, salsa and ska music almost always incorporates a horn section including trombones. Rock bands with horn sections are relatively less common, but make for a distinctive sound in groups such as Chicago; Blood, Sweat & Tears; and Tower of Power. In the 1970s and 1980s, groups in the New Orleans brass band tradition began adding elements of funk, hip hop, and bop to their repertoires, but kept the instrumentation of sousaphone, trombones, and trumpets. In the Christina Aguilera song "Candyman", there are trombone slides throughout the song. The Christina Aguilera song, "Nasty Naughty Boy", the Colbie Caillat song, "You Got Me", the Beyonce song "Countdown", the Norah Jones song "Sinkin' Soon", the Fiona Apple song "Window", the Duffy song "Keeping My Baby", and the I Dream Of Jeannie theme used since the second season, also feature a trombone.

20th-century construction

Numerous changes in construction have occurred during the 20th century, including the use of different materials, increases in mouthpiece, bore and bell dimensions, new valve types and different mute types. The use of computer modeling in trombone manufacturing has allowed for better sonic construction and more consistency between individually produced instruments of the same model.

Contemporary use

Today, the trombone can be found in wind ensembles/concert bands, symphony orchestras, marching bands, military bands, brass bands, and brass choirs. In chamber music, it is used in brass quintets, quartets, or trios, or trombone trios, quartets, or choirs. The size of a trombone choir can vary greatly from five or six to twenty or more members.

Trombones are also common in swing, jazz, merengue, salsa (e.g., Jimmy Bosch, Luis Bonilla, and Willie Colón), R&B, ska (e.g., Don Drummond), and New Orleans brass bands.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Trombone" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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