Mogens Andresen


In France the success of the cornet worked almost as a  drag on the process of introducing the valve  trumpet. It went quicker in Germany, already in 1829 the Prussian cavalry’s Trompeten-Musik used valve trumpets with different pitches. On a journey through Germany in 1843 Berlioz thinks the German trumpeter much better than the  French, and he is overwhelmed by the “exultant sound” of the trumpets.


Fig. 1   2  GERMAN TRUMPETS. Left: Trumpet from Dresden 1836 with 2 Stötzel Valves. Right: Trumpet from Markneunkirchen 1840 with 2 Berliner-Pumpen valves.

One composer who actually never composed for the valve brass instruments but anyway knew about them was Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1849). Commenting in 1834 on his overture Die Schöne Melusine, Op. 32 (1833), which featured the horns and trumpets outlining the minor triad (written, Eb instead of E).  That mean the work was composed to require hand stopping by the horns but and the trumpets, but Mendelssohn stated that:

“The E flat for the horns and trumpets I put down trusting to luck, and hoping that Providence would show the players some way to do it; if they have new contrivances for it (valves), so much the better”. Mendelssohn seemed to be open to the idea of valved instruments playing these parts.

It was a confusing time for trumpeters who received several trumpet types to choose from. A good example is the French Francois Georges Aguste Dauverné (1799-1874), trumpet virtuoso, teacher and composer. He was 1.trumpet in the Kings Band, The Opera. The Academy Orchestra and in projects for Hector Berlioz. His instruments over time was: The Natural Trumpet, The Keyed Trumpet, The Valve Trumpet, The Cornet and  The Slide trumpet  (Fig. 2 )

According to Georges Kastner (composer with a special interest in the instrumental inventions of Adolphe Sax) The Royal Music Academy orchestra in 1851 was composed like following  (family of brass instruments) : 4 french horns, 2 trumpets, 1 keyed trumpet, 2 valve cornets, 3 trombones et 1 ophicleide.


Fig. 2   Left: FRANCOIS GEORGES AGUSTE DAUVERNÉ (1799-1874). Right: BELL FROM A  SLIDE TRUMPET, by the french company ANTOINE COURTOIS. In 1840 Meyerbeer brought to Dauverné along from Berlin this beautiful slide trumpet, as a gift for Dauverné who played it until 1846 when he handed it to his student Jules Henri Louis Cerclier (1823-1897), the winner that year of the Paris Academy of music competition. 

After the creation of valves 2 main styles of trumpet were developed: The French style with piston-valves and the German-Austrian style with rotary-valves. The  Piston-valve trumpet has a clearer and more brilliant tone made with the concept of a consistent sound across all dynamic levels and registers. This kind of trumpet were also used in England and USA. The rotary-valve  trumpets used in Germany and Austria is not intended to have a consistent tone and is actually supposed to dramatically change in timbre at different dynamic levels – soft dynamic dark sound, loud dynamic bright sound. The difficult crook-system disappeared at last when introducing the Valve Trumpet in F ( an octave higher than the F-Horn)  as a sort of ”Standard”.  Even being free of the natural harmonic tones, still all trumpet parts were written in C, meaning that, if the part was not written for trumpet in F, it was still necessary to transpose the part.










The musical importance of the valves and the new chromatic possibilities showed in the more lyrical and melodious music for trumpet.  The parts became even higher and higher, and reached their maximum in the opera Parsifal by Wagner (1882), where a lyrical solo reaches the high C, and even:  to be played sehr zart. (very soft and tender). That is possibly why (and maybe under influence of the cornet) the Bb-trumpet was used more and more. It was more secure in the high notes and the sound was more clear and brilliant. On the other hand, the Bb-trumpet’s sound was a bit thin, so in groups of 3 or 4 trumpets, the F-trumpet stayed on the lower parts.


Fig. 6    TRUMPET IN Bb/A by “KÖHLER & SON”, ca. 1888-1896, with 3 piston valves and for tuning one rotary valve 






Another solution was the idea of using the cornet for orchestral trumpet-parts, and it seem to last quit long. A typical 19th century attitude  towards the orchestral trumpet is expressed by Ebenezer Prout, professor of music in the University of Dublin, in “The Orchestra, Volume 1. Technique of the Instruments”, published in London in 1897: “The tone of the trumpet is the most powerful and brilliant of any in the orchestra…Its quality is noble and it is greatly to be regretted that in modern orchestras it is so frequently replaced by the much more vulgar cornet.  The tone of the cornet is absolutely devoid of the nobility of the trumpet, and, unless in the hands of a very good musician, readily becomes vulgar.  It is, however, so much easier to play than the trumpet, that parts written for the latter instrument are very often performed on the cornet.  In some cases, especially in provincial orchestras, this may be a necessity, as it is not always possible to find trumpet players; but it is none the less a degradation of the music.  We cordially endorse the dictum of M. (Francois- Auguste) Gevaert, who says—‘No conductor worthy of the name of artist ought any longer to allow the cornet to be heard in place of the trumpet in a classical work’”.  


The trumpet was first of all an orchestral  instrument but once in a while it was used as a solo instrument. The brothers Friedrich and Ernest Sachse played as soloists in the 1850ties on the low F- and Eb- trumpet. The trumpet got more popular as a solo instrument when the music from the Baroque was rediscovered, especially the music from Handel and Bach. The art of Clarin playing had long been forgotten, so to play the high baroque parts it was necessary to build trumpets with a high pitch. Up till 1900 trumpets in C, D, G, and A were built and those with the highest pitch were called Bach-trumpets even if their length only was 1/3 of the original baroque trumpets.

Fig. 9    TWO PIONEERS OF BAROQUE TRUMPET PLAYING ON SMALL TRUMPETS. To the left: Julius Kosleck (1837-1903), Berlin, to the right John Solomon (1856-1953), London.


Fig. 10   OSKAR BÖHME (1870 – 1938) was born near Dresden, Germany. After studying trumpet and composition in the Leipzig Conservatory of Music until 1885, he probably concertized, playing in smaller orchestras around Germany. From 1894-1896 he played in the Budapest Opers Orchestra and then in 1897 he moved to Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia,  and was playing the cornet employed as “Kaiserlich. Russischer. Hofoperkünstler”. 1921-1930 he turned to teaching at a music school, and then returned to Leningrad (St. Petersburg). However, in 1936 a committee was established to oversee the arts in Soviet Russia. According to its anti-foreign policies, Böhme was exiled to Orenburg on account of his German heritage. 

Böhme composed 46 known works, of which his Brass Sextet  and Trumpet Concerto (Op. 18) are the best known.






Fig. 11  BASS TRUMPET. Already in the early days of the valve a low trumpet was built: the  “Chromatische Trompetenbasse” (bass trumpet) , to be used in the wind orchestras.  

 For his opera cycle ”the Ring of the Nibelung” Wagner arranged that a bass trumpet should be made to (beside various solos) form a bridge between the trumpets and the trombones. It was pitched in C and could be tuned to Bb. After Wagner the bass trumpet was also used by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky.




Fig. 12   A SET OF AIDA TRUMPETS.  For his opera “Aida” (1871) Verdi had made six straight trumpets, three in Ab and three in Bb. Each one of them had one ”whole note valve” which, when playing , was covered by the hand, so the instruments looked like ”antique”  natural trumpets. Here is Aida-trumpet player in action from the opera in Verona:



Fig.13    WOODEN TRUMPET. For the opera “Tristan and Isolde” (1865) Wagner had made a wooden trumpet in C, with the same valve (in brass) as the Aida Trumpet.



As a young man Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) wrote 12 etudes for trumpet ca. 1848-1850. The story goes that Brahms was playing at a pub in Hamburg with a trumpet player sitting in, and that Brahms wrote him some studies to improve his technique. The authenticity of these etudes is obviously in question because Brahms never wrote anything for the trumpet in his orchestral music that was as melodic or extended as these etudes demonstrate. But Brahms knew for sure about chromatic brass instruments. His father,  Johann Jakob Brahms (1806-72), played the keyed bugle in the second Jäger-Battaillon band of the Hamborg Bürgerwehr 1837-1867. Later he switched to a new Vienna valve Flügelhorn which survives in  the Kammerhof Museum of Gmunden, Austria.

Fig. 14   JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897) and his father AND JOHANN JAKOB BRAHMS  (1806-1972) 




The trumpet players were rather cautious about the valve system, but that was nothing compared to the horn players. It took a very long time for them to accept the ”Mechanical Horn”. In their opinion the valves “cut” through the tones and it destroyed the soul of the French Horn. That is why Johannes Brahms preferred  the natural horn. The (natural) horn in F was still the one that was used most, but the players still changed  tubes.  The problem was though, and there is evidence: that it took too long for the horn players to change tubes, so they were late in playing their part, that it was noisy, so the other musicians were distracted, and the worst of all was when a wrong tube was used. When at last the valves were being used, they were used as a mechanical way to change tubes. That is why the valves on a French horn are operated with the left hand, while the right hand (for most people their favourite  hand) is placed in the bell, to play the stop notes. From ca. 1840 players began to use the valves the same way as done on cornet. 

The stop horn method went really far, see  for example the concert for Horn op.45 from 1815 by Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1825). The horn got two valves, later three, but its status as a solo instrument disappeared with it and Romanticism is not rich in solo concerts for Horn.





Fig. 16   GERMAN HORN (WALDHORN) WITH ROTARY VALVES from 1880 made by MÜLLER, BOHEMIA.  During Romanticism the development of the horn went in different national directions. The German horn had a wide bore and a dark sound.

In 1866 horn player Friedrich Gumpert played in a chamber music concert at the Gewandhaus , Leipzig in Germany, of Johannes Brahms horn trio op.4o together with Clara Schumann (piano) and Ferdinand David (violin). Brahms was utterly against the valve horn, as mentioned before, and you can imagine what he was thinking when Clara Schumann send a letter to him about a rehearsal of his Horn Trio op. 40 for violin, French horn and piano (1868): ”We have played your Trio and the horn player was fantastic. I do not think that he ever  kicked, which was splendid, but he played on a valve horn, and would not even think about playing on a natural horn”.



Eduard med søn richard og datter melanie 1835

Fig. 17   EDUARD CONSTANTIN LEWY with his son Richard and his daughter Melanie. Some of the most important pioneers of the valve horn were the brothers Edward Constantin Lewy (1796-1846) and Joseph Rudolph Lewy (1804-1881). Eduard Constantin played the famous fourth horn solo in Beethoven’s 9th symphony at the premiere in 1824 – could be on a valve horn?




performed on a valve horn already in 1826. He was a horn player when Franz Schubert’s song “Auf dem Strom” (On the river) for singer, piano and horn had its premiere in 1828. The horn part is possibly one of the first pieces written for valve horn. Joseph Rudolph was employed at the opera in Dresden, and it is rather possible that he affected Wagner in writing the horn part to his opera “Lohengrin”(1848). The horn parts were played – strangely enough – with a mixture of valve- and stop technique. 


Quote by Robert Schumann: “The horn is the soul of the orchestra

It was not only negativism, there were certainly positive thoughts about the new valve horn. Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was very inspired by the Lewy brothers. He shows his clear excitement in his “Adagio and Allegro Op.70” for (valve)horn and piano written in 1848, and only two weeks later in his virtuoso “Concert Piece for four horns and orchestra in F Major Op.86”(1849) for 4 valve horns. He wrote the piece in only 2 days and has written in the score: “Difficulkt and too long”.


Fig. 19  HORN VIRTUOSO H. POHLE – 1st horn player at the premiere of Robert Schumann’s Concert Piece for four horns and orchestra. Drawing from 1845 by C. Reimer. 

At the first performance af Schumanns Concertpiece 1850 the 4 solo parts was played by:

Eduard Pohle (1817–1875) Principal horn in Leipzig Gewandhausorchesters  1843-1853

Joseph Jehnichen (? – 1852) 2. horn i Gewandhausorchesters

Eduard Julius Leichsenring  (1810–1878) 3. hornt in Gewandhausorchesters

Carl Heinrich Conrad Wilke (1811-1856) 4. horn in Gewandhausorchesters  1842-1856.



Fig. 20  Poster from the first performance og the Concert piece Monday 25 February 1850. However, it was performed with piano one year earlier for a small company in a private home.


Fig. 17  FRIEDRICH GUMPERT (1841-1906) – was perhaps the most important German valved horn performer and teacher of the late nineteenth century. From 1864 – 1899 he was First horn in the Gewandhausorchestra, and Professor of Horn at the Leipzig Conservatory 1882-1906. His publications (all of which appear, erroneously, under the name “Gumbert” include twelve volumes of orchestral excerpt books, horn quartets, a horn method, and many arrangements for horn and piano.


In France the natural horn was rather popular and the valve horn was more like a natural horn with set up valves. On most models it was possible to remove the valve part, and to switch it with a tube, so it was like a combination of the natural horn and the valve horn.  That’s why the French right up to the mid 1800 century experimented with “Omnotonic horns”.


Fig. 21   OMNOTONIC HORN build  by PIERRE LOUIS GAUTROT (1812-1882) in the 1870s (see also Romanticism I ).




Fig. 22  FRENCH HORN (COR) WITH PISTON VALVES.  The ”French” horn had piston valves and often a 3rd valve to change the pitch from F to G, it had a small bore and a light sound and the dynamic power was not big.  The instrument was said to be difficult to play, because the tone very easily kicked. The natural horn kept its popularity in France in a long time. The orchestral version of Maurice Ravel’s “Pavane for a dead princess” from 1908 shows a horn part, marked as ”Cor simple en sol”, which means that the pitch shall be changed to G and that the part shall be played with hand technique alone. The French method to play the horn, and the choice of instruments was overtaken by the English.



Fig. 23     SINGLE HORN IN F  “système Sax”  F. Van Cauwelaert (père) à Bruxelles, ca 1885. This horn  was made between ca 1884 and 1900 with 2 Perine´ valves and crooks, this set consisting of D, Eb, E and F crooks would have been the typical pick of a late-19th century Belgian bandsman.






Vienna horn by Robert Engel

Fig.24   VIENNA HORN – is directly opposite to the french horn. The deep f-pitch, the very deep mouthpiece and the open Venna valves gives it an even darker and fuller sound than the German horn. Up till today the Vienna Horn gives the Vienna Philharmonic its special sound.




Fig. 25    JOSEF SCHANTL (1842-1902) to the right, and HIS PUPILS, FOTO ca. 1895. Josef Schantl, (picture from 1880) the great horn player and teacher, principal horn player in several symphonies by Anton Bruckner and Johannes Brahms, principal horn player in the SHORT CALL at performances of parts of Wagner’s Siegfried and Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods) in Vienna under direction of Richard Wagner 1875. He died in 1902, just retired. He wrote a most comprehensive Horn Method (4 volumes)

 No.3 from the right is his successor Karl Stiegler as principal horn player in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. When Karl Stiegler had performed the Siegfried Signal 50 times, he got this picture from his colleagues  – signed: Christian Nowak, Franz Moissl, Rudolf Reiss, Hermann Moissl, 2nd row: Karl Romagnoli, Anton Stark, Christian Nowak jun., 3rd row: Franz Koller, Hans Koller, Leopold Kainz, Karl Wesetzky, Josef Sandner



Fig.  VIENNA HORN PLAYER, drawing by König.


Fig. 26   ABERDEEN TRIO, PHOTO FROM c.. 1880
In UK players took over the French type of horn and the French way of playing. This photo shows such a horn with 2 Stötzel(piston) valves. The horn is probably made c 1846 by the instrument maker Thomas Key from London. 

Fig.  THE FRENCH HORN PUB, TRADEMARK. Hornplayer with piston valve horn.


Fig. 27   HENRY SCHMITZ  1823 – 1914.  In the 18th century many horn players in USA came from Germany. One of them were Henry Schmitz who came from Germany to USA 1846. He was solo horn of the N.Y. Philharmonic from 1848 to 1869 and of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra from 1866 to 1877, and several other well-known orchestras of the time. He was no doubt the first true virtuoso horn player in the United Sates and a frequent soloist. On January 12, 1856 he gave the American premiere of Weber’s Concertino with the Philharmonic. He was also the principal in the first U.S. performance of Robert Schumann’s Konzertstück for four horns given in New York on December 4, 1852, only three years after its composition



In his orchestral work Wagner called the horn group for ”the sonorous centre”. He visited Adolf Sax’s shop in Paris in October 1853, whilst he thought about using saxhorn (Tenor horn, Baritone and Euphonium), or something like it, as part of the orchestral strength in ”The Ring of the Nibelung”.  It was the director Hans Richter though who gave him the idea to have built low valve instruments with a lead pipe connected to a “horn” mouthpiece. That gave the horn players opportunity to switch easily between these instruments and their “normal” horn. The new instruments were called Wagner tubas, and the Wagner tuba-section was formed with two tubas in Bb and two in F. You cannot put your right hand into the bell of a Wagner tuba and they sound a bit like a mixture of a horn and a euphonium. It took some time to have built these Wagner tubas and at the premiere of Rhine Gold (1869) the parts were played by ”military instruments”: Tenor horn, Baritone and Euphonium. Later the Wagner tubas were used by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) in his Symphony no.7 (1884), by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) in Le sacre du printemps (the Rite of Spring) (1913) and by Richard Strauss (1864-1949)in the opera Elektra (1909). Wagner tubas have also been used in Hollywood films.




The sound of a Wagner tuba goes downwards, and with an almost identical mouthpiece to a normal horn mouthpiece it is rather difficult to ”push the sound upwards”, and make it bigger and darker.  In France and England, the horn sound was very light, and to play the Wagner tuba was something of a challenge.  That is why substitutes for the Wagner tuba have been developed.



Fig. 29  WAGNER TUBA-SUBSTITUTES FOR THE OPERA IN PARIS, SAX TROMBA WITH A REMOVABLE BELL. At the Opera in Paris this construction has been used. The bell could turn downwards, and thus give a dark and soft ”mystical” sound.


Fig. 30   WAGNER TUBA-SUBSTITUTES FROM  COVENT GARDEN, LONDON. In 1892 the old Royal Italian Opera at Covent Garden became the Royal Opera House (also called “Covent Garden”). It was the year of the first performance at Covent Garden of Wagner’s Ring cycle (conducted by Mahler) and the change of name was no doubt influenced by this as, until then, all performances had been sung in Italian. For this Ring a bass trumpet and Wagner tubas would have been required, and it seems likely that these very instruments have been discovered in the attic at Covent Garden. They were made by the Belgian company Mahillon. Three of the four Wagner tubas were found, one tenor in Bb (the other Bb is missing) and two basses in F. These Wagner tubas are of four-in-line piston valve design, and interestingly, built to be played by trombone players (not horn players which is conventional) as they have lead pipes suitable for the small-bore trombone mouthpieces in use at that time. Along with their maker’s name, there is an inscription “Gold Medal Paris 1878”. 





In the first part of the 1800rds the trombone established itself more and more as a solid part of the symphony orchestra, and from about 1840 they are almost obligatory. Franz Schubert (1797-1828) writes rather advanced parts for trombone in his masses and remarkably enough for that time, also in his symphony no.8 ”Unfinished” (1822)  and no.9 (1830) , his last two symphonies. Mendelssohn thought the trombone really sacral and used it only in one of his symphonies, Symphony no.5 (1830) ”the Reformation”, where the last part is based on the chorale by Luther, “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (A mighty Fortress is our God).




In the beginning of the 1800rds the classical German trombone group existed of an alto trombone in Eb, a tenor trombone in Bb and a bass trombone in F.


Fig. 32    GERMAN TENOR TROMBONE WITH A ROTARY F-VALVE.  In 1839 the instrument maker C.F. Sattler, Leipzig, put a rotary valve on the tenor trombone, which made it possible to change the pitch to F: an F-valve. This valve made it almost possible for the bass trombone to get as low as BB (in a chromatic way),  (C is difficult and B almost impossible), and this trombone was in the beginning called “tenor-bass trombone”. Little by little it overtook the F-bass trombone and with a somewhat bigger bore it was called: ”Bass trombone”. The standard trombone group in the orchestras went from ”alto trombone in Eb, tenor trombone in Bb and bass trombone in F”, to ”two tenor trombones and one bass trombone – all in Bb”.

Fig. 33  THE TROMBONE SECTION IN A PRUSSIAN MILITARY BAND 1910. The F-bass trombone did not disappear overnight. On the left is a F-bass trombone with a handle on the slide.



When the F-valve was introduced on the trombone, it made a change in the trumpet/trombone group in the orchestra. In the brass group of natural trumpets and alto- tenor- and bass trombone was the alto – and even the tenor – often higher than the 2nd trumpet, because of the big distances between the low natural tones of the trumpet. With the natural trumpets it was now possible to make a pyramid of sound with the trumpets at the top and the trombones at the bottom.  This meant that a second tenor trombone overtook the alto (also because they needed more volume). But the old names – alto, tenor and bass – were kept, rather as a definition of sound, not because a real alto was wished for. The 1st trombone part in Bruckner’s 4th symphony, “the Romantic”, says alto, but the part is clearly written for a tenor trombone. The 1st trombone parts in works by the ”classical” composers like Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms sound idiomatically on alto, while the works by Bruckner, Wagner, Tchaikovsky , Dvorak and Rimsky Korsakov are written with a tenor trombone in mind.



The trombone was the instrument that had the least alterations with the invention of the valve. The bore and the bell were bigger but the instrument was still ”the old instrument”. The trombone had though been ”away from the spotlights” for a long time and was now suddenly seen as a completely new instrument. Strangely enough two trombone players became the leading wind-soloists of that period.


Fig. 33    To the left: FRIEDRICH AUGUST BELCKE (1795-1874) and to the right: CARL TRAUGOTT QUEISSER (1800-1846)  -two German trombone players who played at big music festivals all over Europe, and often with the leading stars of that time, such as: Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt and Niccolo Paganini. Belcke came from the court orchestra of Friedrich III in Berlin, and Queisser from the Gewandhaus orchestra in Leipzig. When you look at their outstanding career, and see that they are  almost forgotten, it is because of the repertoire: it went the same way!  The piece from their repertoire that is best known is the ”Ferdinand David’s Concertino for trombone op.4”, written for Queisser in 1837 – today maybe the most performed trombone-concert of all.

Another well known romantic trombone concerto is the Concerto for trombone and harmony orchestra written by the Russian composer Rimski-Korsakov in 1877.  




The German trombone was full and relatively dark in sound, while the French trombone was light in sound, with a small, almost “baroque’ish” bore. The French music life existed mainly of free-lance musicians. To be free and not bound of specialisms the French trombone group was put together with three tenor trombones without a special F-valve. That is the reason why the French bass trombone parts never get lower than E.


Fig. 34   3 ILLUSTRATIONS FROM FRENCH TROMBONE METHODS. During the 1800 hundred century wrote three leading French trombonists each their trombone method: Vorbaron in 1834, Antoine Dieppo in 1837 and Cornette in 1854. The french trombone had a narrow bore, nearly like a Baroque Trombone.
















Fig. 36    MELODY FOR 200 TROMBONES.,1844—France: Famous caricaturist Jean-Ignace-Isidore Gérard (also known as J. J. Grandville) publishes a caricature  –  A parody of perceived overuse of brass in contemporary music, it depicts 2 longs lines of trombonists. The caption instructs that the piece be played “with fire, fortissimo, repeated 300 times, then louder still” .



FIG. 40 The LOW BRASS GROUP IN LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 1922. The French trombone sound was taken over by the Englishmen. The small bore on the English trombone gave it the nickname “peashooter”. The 2 tenor trombones were supplemented with the English specialty, “Bass Trombone in G”, with handle on the slide like the F Trombone. 


Fig. 41 BRITISH G-BASS TROMBONE. English trombone player Denis Wick tells (see PROMINENT TROMBONE PLAYERS in THE 20′ CENTURY I) TELLS: “The mystery of a G rather than the german F bass trombone has never been satisfactorily explained, except possibly guessed at by me. My theory is that playing in the front of a marching band, the spectacular effect of tonic-and-dominant “ompah” notes were really effective in the traditional keys of Ab and Db, where the six-foot length of trombone slide was waving about. A sight to behold !”. In the 1920s  the company Boosey had produced a slightly larger orchestral model G bass trombone with a valve to D – this could play the missing low C and B required in the symphonic repertoire that have been written for the continental F bass trombone (shown on Fig. 40).



The valve system was also used on the trombones, and alto-, tenor-, as well as bass trombones were built with a valve system. They were immediately used in the wind orchestras and they got very popular.  The valve trombone was probably more common in the nineteenth century than the slide trombone. The exception was in Britain, where the slide instrument seems to have been more prominent. This might have been because some brass band contests explicitly banned the use of valve trombones.  For a while they were also used in symphony orchestras, the technical parts were easier to play, but the special warmness in the sound and the intonation got lost, and that is why they switched again back to the slide trombones.  

In Spain and Italy the valve trombones lived somewhat longer. All trombone parts by Verdi are written with a valve trombone in mind, sometimes he even writes trills in his trombone parts.  


Fig.37    TENOR VALVE TROMBONE from USA, 1875


Fig. 38   GIOVACCHINO BIMBONI (1810-1895), ITALY, PLAYING A VALVE TROMBONE. Lithograph by Guiseppe Ciardi.  In 1860 Bimboni is appointed professor of trumpet and trombone at the Cherubini Conservatory, Firenze. Between 1880 and 1889 he writes a valve trombone method, Metodo per trombone a piston. He also performed as soloist on the valve trombone. Bimboni played exclusively Italian operatic arias or variations and potpourris based on them.

Fig. 39 BIMBONIFONO.  In 1850 Bimboni invents a valve trombone called a “Bimbonifono” in which a separate rotary valve is used for each of the seven slide positions in an attempt to avoid the tuning problems of other valve systems.

Fig. 39   VALVE TROMBONES – German picture from 1905 – 1910.


Fig. 40  CIGARETTE PACK for W. DUKES & SONS 1888 – with a female valve trombone player.


There is an instrument in  Verdi’s orchestral piece which is called, Cimbasso, – a combination of “C in basso”.  The part was first played on an ophicleide, russian bassoon or serpentone, but, as it is placed directly under the trombones in the score, it is for many years played on the tuba. Verdi only wrote for tuba, bombardone, in the off stage music for wind band which appears in many of his operas. We know for sure that Verdi gave it some thought. He did not like the sound of the tuba under the trombones, in his opinion it was not homogeneous. In connection with the premiere of his opera Aida (1871) in Cairo  he writes to Guillio Ricordi, the publisher:

“I would prefer a bass trombone that is of the same family as the other trombones, but if it is too difficult or too weary to play the part, use rather a normal ophicleide that can go as low as  the deep B – or do whatever you like, if only you do not use the dammed bombardone, (tuba) which absolutely does not mix with the other instruments”.

In 1881  Verdi did something himself to solve his problem. He  listened to a range of deep brass instruments at the firm of the instrument maker Giuseppe Pelitti in Rome.  And he got Pelitti to build a contra bass trombone in BB with valves – a complete octave lower than the tenor trombone. This is the instrument that Verdi had in mind in his two last operas,  Othello and Falstaff, when he wrote Trombone basso. This instrument is also one of the characteristic ingredients in Verdis orchestral sound: A shrieking piccolo flute, a roaring bass drum and a hot-tempered cimbasso (often almost a contra bass trombone). In the last part of the 18th century the Italian low brass group existed of four valve trombones: two tenor trombones in Bb, one bass trombone in F  and one contra bass trombone in BB.


Fig. 40   CIMBASSO in BB


Also Wagner lowered the sound of the trombones. At Wagner’s request, a special contra bass trombone in CC with a double slide was built to be used in  the “Ring of the Nibelung” Like the bass trumpet and the Wagner tuba this instrument was also built by Johann Moritz in Berlin. With this contra bass trombone Wagner got  a splendid effective bass in the trombone group, and it is used at its best with lots of striking solo parts and chorale sounding accompaniments


Photography of the tuba player August Helleberg in 1905 with an instrument like the contra bass trombone that was built for Wagner’s  Ring of the Nibelung.

Fig. 42  CONTRA BASS TROMBONE IN BB WITH DOUBLE SLIDE FROM 1885. Bell section in a round formation encircles the player’s left arm. Bell Stamped: Class A/TRADEMARK/DISTIN/BOOSEY & Co./295 REGENT STt./LONDON/31260. The right figure shows the correct assembly of the instrument.

Fig. 42   CONTRABASS TROMBONE IN CC MADE BY BOOSEY & Co, ENGLAND . This instrument was  for many years the contrabass trombone used in British performances of music from Wagner’s Ring cycle and was known in the profession as ‘KING KONG’.



Around 1900 the valve trombone was still in use. In Opera houses in Scandinavian, Germany, and Austria  3rd and 4th trombone parts (cimbasso- and contrabass trombone parts) were often played on a valve-instrument in F like this:

Fig. 43  VALVE TROMBONE in F , MADE c. 1890 BY: “Winter & Schöner”, Linz, Austria


The introduction of  the valve instruments caused a real revolution in the wind bands/orchestras, in seize as well as in strength. It happened little by little, not as standardized as nowadays.   The wind bands were very popular and to a lot of people it was the only type of orchestra one ever heard. The repertoire was mostly national hymns, marches, and more of that kind of music, but arrangements of all kind of popular music and “classical” music were played. Most composers agreed with no further comment that their music was arranged for wind band, at that time there was no such thing as ”copyright” and they mostly saw it as some good and “free” publicity.

Fig. 44  BAND STAND – THE NAME SAYS IT ALL.  As wind bands/brass bands began to get bigger, Band Stands appeared everywhere as a platform for outdoor concert performances.


Adolph Sax expected a lot of his Sax horns, but through the English Brass Bands they got a breakthrough and spread which surely will have been far above his expectations.


Fig. 43    DISTIN FAMILY QUINTET  about 1834.  John Distin (1798-1863), the former keyed bugle player, travelled with his four sons George, Henry, William and Theodore performed on brass instruments as The Celebrated Distin Family . In Paris they got acquainted with Sax, who made them a set of saxhorn in 1844.(see more about Distin in ROMANTICISM I, OTHER INSTRUMENT FAMILYS and later here in ROMANTICISM II under INSTRUMENT MAKING IN ENGLAND). 

Accounts vary as to exactly how the Distins first acquired their saxhorns. In the accounts by the Distins themselves it began the February 3rd, 1844 , on hearing “a French artist” (or three, as it is likely that the Distin’s heard François Dauverné (se TRUMPET, ROMANTICISM II), Jean-Baptiste Arban (se CORNET á PISTON, ROMANTICISM I) and Jean–Louis Dufresne  (1810–1866) at the concert at Salle Herz,) perform on the new saxhorn . The next morning the Distins went to inventor Adolph Sax, who had only completed three instruments as models – a soprano in Eb, contralto (soprano) in Bb and an alto in Eb – and had not yet any for sale. Henry Distin made an arrangement for the loan of the three instruments, and when they were tried by his family at their hotel the combined tone awoke a sort of enthusiasm. Mr Sax readily agreed to complete the necessary instruments on the same principle for the quintet, and as soon as sufficient practice in their use had been attained they were brought out in public.

Fig. 44 SALLE HERTZ, PARIS 1843 – the location of the Adolphe Sax concert attended by the Distin Family.

 The Distin family was really successful on their concert tours in England. The Sax horns made the family famous and the family helped create the british brass band movement. Here is a review from The Illustrated London News, December 14th, 1844: ‘The Distins are at present the only performers on the Sax Horns, which unites the powers of the French horn and those of the cornet-à-piston, but is infinitely superior to both, for it combines the mellowness and sweetness of the former, with all the brilliancy and power of the latter. The pieces which the Distins perform are of their own arrangement, and do credit to their musical skill.’ 


Fig. 45    DISTIN FAMILY QUINTET  1845 .  Charles Baugniet (1814-86), lithograph. Collection Arnold Myers.


The phenomenon ”Brass band” belonged to the English working class, as a kind of social activity, but in other social environments  orchestras like the Brass Band existed, as for example ”the Carafathy Band”, founded in 1838 and privately financed by the ”iron- & cole baron” Robert Thompson Crawahay. From the middle of the 1800rds the English Brass bands activity was build around competitions, as we know from the world of sports. It was rather ironical, as the 1st price for the many bands who still played the ophicleide often was an euphoniumthe instrument that little by little displaced the ophicleide.

Fig. 44    BESSES O’ TH’ BARN BRASS BAND about 1870. This band was already founded in 1818. The picture shows that in the 2nd. half of the 1800rds. the strenght of the band still was kind of loose, there is a clarinet and two ophicleides.  In time the strenght got more and more standardised though.

A Brass band exists of a soft sounding instrument family (apart from the trombones) which is almost identical with the Sax-horn family. The biggest difference is the soprano, the cornet, which is not like the tuba, with an upward bell, but the bell is pointed straight forward. A Brass band does not have the same contrast in sound like a wind band, but it can have a very homogeneous sound , like a string orchestra or a choir. Together with the Brass band movement an other movement came along: the publishing of sheet music. It was possible to subscribe to publications of Brass band sheet music. You could buy the most important parts, and later, if necessary, buy the rest.

It was especially two components by which the new Brass bands could florish: Only a few parts were important, so those who were not that qualified could easily join the band and play the less important parts, and all parts (apart from the bass drum and the bass trombone) were written in the G-treble key, so the fingering was the same for all instruments which made it  easy to switch between instruments. (not for the trombones though, as they had slides i.s.o. valves).

The popularity was enormous and in the end of the 1800rds there were about 20.000 Brass bands in Great Britain, that means that there were about 800.000 amateur musicians.  The press wrote that at a special Brass Band compitition there were more than 160.000 people in the audience.


In many places small ”brass” orchestras (or rather ensembles)  came into being – from quartets up till big military orchestras. In Denmark  and Norway they were called horn orchestras (hornorkestre), in Sweden Brunns sextet (even if there were seven musicians included percussion), in Germany they were called Trombone choir (Posaunenchor- which mostly played in churches) and in USA:  Brass bands (which had nothing to do though with the English Brass bands). At the age of 19 the finish composer Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957) wrote a series of small pieces for a brass orchestra that existed of: cornet in Eb, two cornets in Bb, alto horn in Eb, tenor horn in Bb, euphonium in Bb and tuba.

fig. 45  FROM THE FIRST BRASS BAND CONCERT IN COLORADO, USA, picture taken in Black Hawk, 1863 



Fig. 46    DANISH CIVILIAN HORN ORCHESTRA FROM ABOUT 1870. The small brass ensembles were splendid to play in the open air. They got very popular in small as well in bigger towns and in the country.

Fig. 47    BRUNNS SEXTET FROM MEDIVI, SWEDEN 1912. Even being civilian, as an exception they perform here in militairy uniforms. Take  a look at the valve trombone with the bent bell, a Swedish speciality made by the Swedish firm Ahlberg and Ohlsson, who made brass instruments from 1850-1959.

Fig. 48    POSAUNENCHOR, PHOTO from 1889.The German protestant Posaunenchor-movement played in churches. They existed for a long time of all-trombone ensembles.  

Fig. 49   JOHANNES KUHLO (1856-1942) and his KUHLO-HORN. The name POSAUNENCHOR got somewhat misleading at the time when the valve instruments came along, because from that moment the ”posaunenchor-movement” ensembles existet only of soft sounding valve instruments. The priest Johannes Kuhlo was a person who had made a speciel flugelhorn, that got his name:  “Kuhlo horn”. In his opinion the soft sound was so important that he said: ”Why be content with a sparrow or a chaffinch, (cornetto or trumpet) when you can have a nightingale! ”(Kuhlo horn)






Fig. 51    New Years card from 1904, painted by Alfred Mailich (1869-1946). In Germany the brass ensembles still have the old tradition to play from the city tower.

Fig 53   A VERY SPECIAL RUSSIAN BRASS BAND. The Russian Czar Alexander III (who reigned from 1881-1896)  Members of the musical society of crown prince (future Czar) Alexander III (standing, 3rd form the left) in the village of Krasnoe where they played often. He owned a big collection of musical instruments. He was a fine amateur musician and in this picture he playes the alto horn.

Fig.53   PARADE OF THE GUARDS in COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 1892. Music Corps of the Regiment with brass instruments. Part of the painting by E. Henningsen.  



The Wind Bands, with their wood and brass wind players prospered with the new valve instruments. There were (if possible) even more individual strenghts of instruments without any standardisation whatever. Compared with the Brass Band there are many more contrasts in the harmony orchestras with much more variation and possibilities in  sound, which was, allready at that time, somewhat like the sound of a symphony orchestra.  There were harmony orchestras all over Europe and USA. What did they sound like? After some research with old arrangements and with old instruments the verdict is that they sounded like the orchestras of today, albeit somewhat ”diffuse”, and with some problems in intonation and not that loud. The balance would certainly have been in favour of the woodwinds.


Fig. 54    WILHELM FRIEDRICH WIEPRECHT (1802-1872), COMPOSER, ARRANGER AND CONDUCTOR – not only partner in the invention of the tuba, (see  Romanticism I), but  a pioneer in the development of the modern wind band. He finally became the chief of the complete Preusian military music, which he reformed using his own ideas. He worked with big strenghts, using all new valve instruments, focusing on the sound in the middle and low register of the harmony orchestra. He became very famous, and his work was praised by composers, like Leo Delibes, Hector Berlioz, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Caspara Spontini, Ambriose Thomas, Franz Liszt and the conductor Hans von Bülow. The climax in his career took place on the 21st of june 1867, at the world exhibition in Paris, where he won the competition for military orchestras, and there were orchestras from nine countries!


Fig. 56   A RUSSIAN LINE-INFANTERY REGIMENT AND IT’S BAND WHICH CONSIST MOSTLY OF BRASS INSTRUMENTS. During the reign of Emperor Alexander III, 1881-1894. (He was very interested in brass instruments and an enthousiastic amateur musician himself. (see Brass Orchestras))


The wind bands spread all over USA and became extreme popular. One important person was PATRICK GILMORE. He became the conductor of New York 22nd Regiment Band, also called Gilmore’s Band, the first professional wind band in the USA. The band was a pioneer of its kind, it performed all over America and was on tour in Europe. The brass section in Gilmores band was rather big: 1 Eb- cornet, 4 Bb-cornets(2 parts), 2 Bb-trumpets, 2 Bb-flügelhorns, 4 french horns, 2 Eb-tenorhorns, 2 baritones, 2 euphoniums 3 trombones og 5 tubas.

Gilmore arranged spectacular performances as well, he had the musical responsibility for two big festivals with an amazing amount of participants: “National Piece Jubilee ” and “World’s Peace Jubilee and International Musical Festival “.

Fig. 57   PATRICK GILMORE (1829-1892). He came from Ireland and worked at first as a cornet player. There is a famous ”duel” between Gilmore on the cornet and Ned Kendall on the keyed bugle in december 1856.The competition should show which instrument was best, but even if it almost was a draw,  the winner was Gilmore on the cornet. (see: Keyed bugle, Viennese ). 

Fig. 58   NATIONAL PEACE JUBILEE HALL, INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR built in Boston for the National Piece Jubilee 1869, big enough for 50.000 people, amongst them 1000 musicians and 10.000 singers.


Fig. 59   WORLD PIECE COLLOSEUM, INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR, built in 1872 for the World’s Peace Jubilee and International Musical Festival also in Boston, which could have twice as many people, that means 100.000 in the audience, 2000 musicians and  20.000 singers. Musicians from Europe performed here as well, amongst them Johann Strauss as a conductor. There was never ever such an amount of brass musicians in one place. 




– who both came from Great Britain and became soloists in Patrick Gilmore’s band. They developed an immediate rivalry which Gilmore exploited. The rivalry between Arbuckle and Levy was anything but a secret, so Gilmore, realizing that each had their own following of admirers, decided to make the most of this battle of egos and boost ticket sales in the process. The cornet was the replacement for the keyed bugle that had been the solo instrument of choice some years earlier and no group of soloists seemed to capture the imagination of the populace as the cornet soloists. 


Fig. 60   Left: JULES LEVY (1838–1903) was Born in London. After immigrating to the United States, he began a significant musical career as a cornet soloist.. He was a member of Patrick Gilmore’s’s band for several years, and was also a tester and promoter for the Conn Company manufacturer of musical instruments. Among Levy’s  most famous were “Una Voce” by Rossini, “Carneval of venice” “Grand Russian Fantasia”, and his favorite “Whirlwind Polka”. He was arguably the first cornetist to be recorded, having participated in an early public demonstration of Thomas Edison’s’s phonograph. Levy’s prodigious ego was easily observed in his attire. He refused tol wear uniform, preferring to wear a dress suit adorned with his medals and a monocle stuck in his eye. Levy was billed as “The World’s Greatest Cornetist”, widely regarded as a foremost player, although the claim of World’s Greatest has some challengers. One of them was: 

Right: MATTHEW ARBUCKLE (1828 – 1883) known as “The Great Favorite American Cornet Player”. He was born in Lochside, near Glasgow, Scotland 1828, into a very musical family. At the age of 13 he persuaded his father to let him enter the English Army as a musician. He took later what is called a “French leave” – in other words he deserted the Army and emigrated to USA. (This is also why he never came back to England on tour). From 1860 Arbuckle joined Gilmore’s Band. At the National Peace Jubilee in 1869, Arbuckle played the trumpet obbligato, accompanying Madame Parepa Rosa in the aria from Samson by G. F. Handel, “Let the Bright Seraphim”. At the World Peace Jubilee of 1872, Arbuckle conducted the opening fanfare of fifty trumpeters and played the same trumpet obbligato part with Madame Ermina Ruggersdorf. In 1880, he became the musical director and bandmaster for the Ninth Regiment in New York.


Fig. 60   GUISEPPE CREATORE AND HIS ’ITALIEN’ HARMONY ORCHESTRA.  A picture from Boston from around 1900. There was a time when harmony orchestras like this one were imported from Italy to the USA. Guiseppe Creatore was reported to have created a hypnotic spell over the musicians–one that exacted the most inspired performance. Stories claimed he also had a spell over the audience, especially the women who reportedly jumped on the top of tables and writhed and emoted as if in a frenzy.


Fig. 61   MONSTER-CONCERT. This gigantic band of 120 German military musicians posed for the camera on the extended stage of the Tivoli Beer Garden in Hannover, Germany. The title Monstre-Concert was a French term used to describe performances by especially large forces of musicians and instruments, usually with hundreds of brass, percussion, and woodwinds. In the 19th century there was of course no electronic amplification, so more instruments equaled more dynamic volume. For special outdoor occasions or sometimes in very large halls, several regimental wind bands would be assembled into a single monstrous musical ensemble. This concert dates from no later than the 1903 postmark on the back of the postcard sent to Mr. Louis Persenot of Saint-Denis, Paris, France


One would expect that chamber music for brass instruments would florish with all these chromatic brass instruments. However,  there was no tradition to build on, people should almost ”invent” it.  So there is very little chamber music written for brass, it is possible that the brass sound was more associated with a big orchestra or with the popular music repertoire.

Fig. 62  LUDVIG MAURER (1789-1878) – from Germany is known as one of the first to try the genre. His “12 small pieces” for two trumpets, two horns and trombone, is written in a charming Viennese Classic style , and it is nowadays still part of the standard repertoire for modern brass quintets (2 trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba).

Fig. 63   WILHELM EMILIO RAMSÖE (1837-1895) – Danish composer and conductor. He worked in Copenhagen, for example at the ”Folketeatret”, later he became conductor at the opera in Sct. Petersburg, Russia. His ”6 quartets for brass wind players” are exceptional and were written between 1867 and 1888. They all have four parts, and are almost written like a string quartet. The quartets are written for: Cornet in Bb, trumpet in F, (valve-), trombone and tuba, but not the fifth, that one is written for 2 cornettos, althorn in Eb and tuba. They were published with parts and score, first at the publishers Horneman & Erslev, and later at Wilhelm Hansens Music Publishers.

Fig. 64   VICTOR EWALD  (1860-1935) – is seen as the father of the modern brass wind quintet. Victor Ewald (1860-1935) was born in the then Russian capital of St. Petersburg and lived most of his life there. At the surprisingly young age of 12, he entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory where he studied cello with the famous virtuoso Karl Davidov and composition with Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov. He pursued a dual career as a professor of civil engineering and as a musician. He served for 20 years as the cellist of the famous Belaiev String Quartet  and composed a string quartet which was awarded a prize in a quartet competition whose judges were Tchaikovsky and Rimsky Korsakov. He lived in Sct. Petersburg, Russia, and like many Russian composers of that time, he had another civil job. Ewald was a mechanical engineer, and apart from being a composer and being a cellist, he played the cornet, the trumpet, the tuba and the piano in his life. His ”3 quintets” were written between 1888 – 1912, not especially for the modern quintet, but for: 2 cornettos, althorn in Eb, valve trombone and tuba. They have become classic repertoire for the brass quintet, they are played very often, the style being somewhat ”Russian-Brahms-ish”.

Fig. 65   BOLSHOI BRASS QUINTET . A c.1895 Photo (standing from the left: Vassily Brandt (1869-1923), Ivan Lipaev (1865-1942); sitting left – Mikhail Tabakov (1877-1956), F. Putkamer)

Fig. 66   A 1922 photo (From left to right: Vitold Patsevich, Vassily Brandt, Feodor Shevchenko, Dmitry Gruzinsky)




The invention of the valve made the production of brass instruments grow perceptible. At first in small firms, driven by craftsmen, but after 1850 in big factories with more than a 100 employees. The establishment of commercial houses made the link to a bigger market. The smaller firms specialized in the production of bells, valves or mouth pieces.



Fig. 67   LITHO: BLECH-BLASINSTRUMENTENMACHER, ca. 1870, GERMANY . Brass instruments gradually were fabricated all over Europe


Fig. 68    BRASS INSTRUMENT MAKERS WORKSHOP. colored woodcut by G. Luvles 1880, Germany






Between the World exhibition in London 1851 and the World exhibition in Turin Italy in 1911, a range of exhibitions were showing brass instruments with improvements, inventions and patents, and it was possible to get prices for them. Paris had up til now been the promotor for new ideas, but after some time the German instrument makers came along.

Fig. 70  Medals won by the French firms  COURTOIS, F. BESSON and GAUTROT and the German firm ANTON HÜLLER


MARKNEUKIRCHEN – (until 1858 called Neukirchen) is a town in the part of Germany called Sachsen, just at the border with the Czech Republic.  Up til this time there still is at huge amount of instrument builders, in various firms.


Fig. 71   Instrument company  SHUSTER and CO, Markneukirchen 1890


Fig. 72   All employees at SHUSTER and CO  1892


Fig.. 73   Instrument maker Robert Petzold (1870-1951) from Markneukirchen with his smallest and his biggest instrument. A pocket Cornet and a large Imperial bass, both with rotary valves.  Below sees a picture of his workshop.



Fig. 75   ECHO CORNET, build by FRANZ HOERTH (1862-1932), Saarbrücken. Echo-instruments were very popular,  below a picture of the evangelical preacher and cornetist J. Manton Smith with such an instrument. The pictures are from around 1870 by the studio of Lambert Weston & Sons i Folkestone (UK).




The Besson-firm was established in Paris in 1837, by Gustav Auguste Besson (1830-1874), who as an 18-year old boy designed cornets, superior to all other cornets. But because of the severe competition by instrument makers like Sax, Courtois og Gautrot, he moved the production to London in 1857, where he built a large factory.  In 1894 Besson had 131 employees, he produced 100 brass instruments a week and he had contact with 10.000 orchestras and ensembles.  Besson became the biggest supplier of the English Brass Bands and the instruments were exported to other countries as well.




Fig. 77  AVERSIDTING FOR BASSON’s PARIS COMPANY, 1889. Bessons daughter Martha continued to lead the Besson shop in Paris


Another important brass instrument company was established by Henry Distin (1819-1903), son af John Distin. After having lived as a performer with his father and brothers Henri Distin established an instrument manufacturing and sales concern, Distin & Co., in London 1849. He first sold Adolph Sax’s instruments but later also his own instruments. Distin became the leading brass instrument manufacturer in Britain and he was able to influence the Brass band development at a critical stage of its development, Following receipt of a prize medal for the superiority of his instruments over European competitors at the Paris World’s Exposition, in 1868, he sold the business including a shop on Cranbourne to what would become the Boosey company and later Boosey and Hawkes. In 1876, Henri Distin came to the United States and set up a business manufacturing cornets in New York and later in Williamsport, Pensylvania making a full line of brass instruments (se more about Distin in ROMANTICISM I, OTHER INSTRUMENT FAMILYS and ROMANTICISM II. BRASS BANDS).





Fig. 80  English: TENORHORN, German: ALTO HORN IN F. DISTIN ca. 1855


Fig.  From a series of futuristic pictures by Jean-Marc Côté and other artists issued in France in 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1910. Originally in the form of paper cards enclosed in cigarette/cigar boxes and, later, as postcards, the images depicted the world as it was imagined to be like in the then distant year of 2000.  He assumes that even playing a brass instrument will be mechanical in the future