The 20′ Century II

THE 20th CENTURY (1900 – ) II

Latest updated 13/11 2018





















The best-known wind-orchestra strength is that of the Wind Band. It has woodwind as well as brass and percussion of course. During the years there have been several kinds of strengths: The English Brass and Reed band is almost a Brass band with only a few high woodwind players, the English Military Band is a relatively small Harmony of only about 25 members, the Dutch Fanfare Band exists of brass players with a flugelhorn at the top and a complete group of saxophone players, but without flutes and clarinets. In the south of Europe, you find some really big orchestras, as the Republic Garde in Paris: Garde Republicaine, a band with 80 musicians, and the Police orchestra in Rome: Banda del Carabinieri with 103 musicians. Here the strength exist, beside the standard strength, of alto horn, Bb- and Eb flugelhorn, tenor horn (baritone) cimbasso, string double bass, harp, piano and more.



Fig. 1 GARDE REPUBLICAINE BAND, PARIS, exists of 80 musicians. The band had many prominent brass players amongst their members. One of the classics in the repertoire of brass chamber music: Eugene Bozza’s “sonatine for brass quintet” was written in 1951 for the a quintet of this band.


Fig. 2 BANDA DEL CARABINIERI, ROME, exists of 95 musicians. At the right, you see a “Cimbasso”, an instrument that is seldom used in a wind orchestra.


The type of harmony orchestra that is most common is the American inspired Concert Band. The repertoire is versatile, with arrangements of classical music, jazz and entertainment music and pop music, and original compositions. There can be many different instruments, as double bass, harp, piano, and cello and more, which makes it possible to show big contrasts, from soft chamber music to big orchestral tutti. When you look at the score of a Concert Band, you will find the high parts in the woodwind section while most of the lower parts are in the brass section. The brass section exists of:

4 trumpets (in older times there were special parts for cornets, like 2 trumpet and 2 cornets)

4 horns

2 tenor trombones and a bass trombone

A part for a euphonium – that can be double (there has been parts for baritone/tenor horn)

A part for the tuba, often written in octaves or divisi, to be played by 2 – 4 tuba players.

There has also been written a long range of original pieces for the Harmony Orchestra: Rimsky Korsakov (1844-1908), Gustav Holst (1874-1934) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (1857-1934), Paul Hindemith (1895-1963), Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) and Percy Grainger (1882-1961). Recently Johan de Meij (1953- ), Holland, has written some prominent works, solo concerts and symphonies, with an instrumentation that is full of fantasy, and therewith widened the knowledge and the popularity of the Concert Band.









One of the most remarkable wind orchestras ever was the American John Philip Sousa’s (1854-1934) Band. Originally, he was a violinist but he became leader of a wind orchestra and a composer, especially of marches. He became known as the King of the Marches, and during his career, he wrote more than a 100, amongst them The Stars and Stripes Forever” that became the American National March. He wrote 10 operas as well, but he is not known for that.



Fig.4 SOUSA ON A STAMP, 1940


He conducted the ’United States Marine Band’ – the band with the nickname ’the President’s Own’ in Washington 1880-1992, but after that he started his own band. He had a real crowd of star soloists and he himself was a good conductor (in the opinion of the tuba player William Bell Sousa was the best conductor he ever had). Sousa’s ambition was to create an orchestra that was as good as a symphony orchestra, and he succeeded, he got all his wishes fulfilled. His orchestra became world famous and he himself too. The Sousa Band was on various European tours and in 1910-1911, he toured all around the world. When Sousa was in Berlin in 1900, R. Strauss was present at the rehearsals and the performance, and you can imagine that Strauss got many ideas from the splendid musicians. Under the 1st world war, Sousa was a real patriot as he volunteered at an age of 60, and he became the manager of the many music corpses in the marine. He asked though that his salary would not be more than 1 dollar a month. When Sousa stopped with his Band in 1931, he had played 15.623 concerts.

Fig. 5 JOHN PHILIP SOUSA and the SOUSAPHONE. J. P. Sousa’s name not only was the name of his orchestra, but also the name of an instrument, a special tuba that was named after him. In 1893 orchestra he conducted a Marine orchestra that had Helicons, but in his opinion the sound was too thin and direct, and he got build an instrument that had a bigger bell which was bend upwards, it got the nickname: “the rain catcher”. However, the sound went upwards as well, and disappeared. Therefore, Sousa had the bell bend forwards. From left to right: J.P. Sousa, the rain catcher and a “nymph” with a sousaphone.


Fig.7 A SOUSAPHONE SIDE BY SIDE WITH 2 TUBAS, in the bass section of the Cedar Falls Band , Iowa USA in 1902.

The size and shape of the sousaphone has continued to make it a favorite object of cartoons and jokes. Here at the front of an American magazine for teenagers from 1947:

Part of Sousa’s succes were the prominent soloists who often played virtuous and incredible variations on simple but ear catching melodies.


Fig. 6 HERBERT CLARKE (1867-1945) was known for his virtuous and expressive cornet playing. He was a composer, he wrote etudes and had been trumpet player in the New York Philharmonic and at the Metropolitan Opera, but he loved the cornet far more than the trumpet. In a letter from 31 January 1921 to a young man, who sought his advice to change to the trumpet instead of the cornet he wrote: “Replying to yours of the 19th just received, would not advise you to change from cornet to trumpet, as the latter instrument is only a foreign fad for the time present, and is only used properly in large orchestra of 60 or more, for dynamic effects, and was never intended as a solo instrument. I never heard a real soloist playing before the public on a trumpet. One cannot play a decant song even, properly, on it, and it has sprung up in the last few years like ”jazz” music, which is the nearest Hell, or the devil, in music”.


Fig. 7 ELDEN BENGE – was the young man. We do not know whether he took Clarkes warning about jazz to heart, but he ignored the great mans contempt for the trumpet. From 1928 to 1933, he was principal trumpet of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and then accepted the same position with the Chicago Symphony. In Chicago, he began designing a new trumpet for his own use. By 1937, he was making trumpets at home and selling them. Two years later, he formed the Benge Company and continued to make and sell trumpets after he moved to California in 1953. He did little advertising; his trumpets sold through word of mouth among professionals about the quality of the Benge trumpets made in Burbank. After Benge died in 1960, the Conn-Selmer company made Benge trumpets for a time, but production of most models dwindled, then ceased in 2005.


As mentioned in ROMANTICISM II Patrick Gilmore had 2 competing cornet-soloists. Also Sousa had 2 famous conet-soloists: Herbert Clarcke and:

Fig. 7 HERMANN BELLSTEDT (1858 – 1926) who played in Sousas band 1904 – 1906. Later he conducted his own band and served as Professor of Wind Instruments at the Cincinnati Conservatory. Bellstedt composed for band, orchestra, piano, violin, and cornet. His most famous piece is the cornet solo NAPOLI – variations on the Neapolitan tune Funniculi-Funnicula.


Fig. 7 ARTHUR PRYOR (1870-1942) invented a technique that made it possible to play as virtuous on the slide-trombone, as on the valve-trombone. His technique was outstanding and besides, he made his compositions to be ”right” for the trombone – you can hear that in his most well know solo: Variations on the melody “The Blue Bells of Scotland”. Pryor became famous and a feteret musician. One time, when the audience called: “Pryor-Pryor” , it was heard like ”fire-fire” and the concert was stopped by the lokal fire brigade. At a performance in Leipzig before an audience estimated at 25000, Pryor received a tremendous ovation. At the intermission, members of the Gewandhouse Symphony Orchestra came to stage to disassemble his trombone and inspect it, questioning how anyone could achieve technique on the trombone as Pryor’s without the benefit of some mechanical “yankee trick” aid. Through 12 years, Pryor performed about 10,000 times, at least twice a day, all week trough, from the age of 22, until he became 35.


Fig. 8 SIMONE MANTIA (1873-1951) was born in Palermo, Italy, and began playing the alto horn at age 9. In 1890, the Mantia family immigrated to New York City where he soon began playing professionally in orchestras on trombone and in bands on both trombone and euphonium. In 1896 he joined John Philip Sousa’s Band as the euphonium soloist, and by 1900 had become known as the “best euphonium player in the world” when he toured Europe with the Band. On trombone he performed with many orchestras, in Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 35 years. Here Mantia worked under the baton of the legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini. The trombone section complained that the parts for the Verdi-operas were so difficult that they could only be played on valve trombone (As they were actually meant for), but the argument was quickly settled when Toscanini asked the very able Mantia to demonstrate these parts on his slide trombone. Later, Mantia moved on to conduct his own ensemble, the Arcade Orchestra. Mantia recognized the need to expand the euphonium repertoire and arranged and composed many solo pieces.


Just at Sousa’s time the Harmony Orchestra movement reached its top in USA with about 10.000 orchestras in 1890 – later a bit less. A later Faymos band was THE GOLDMAN BAND. It was established 1918 by Edwin Franko Goldman (1878-1956). His son Richard Franko Goldman conducted the band from 1956 – 1979. The Goldman Band gave the first complete performance of Percy Grainger’s LINCOLNSHIRE POSY 1937, Darius Milhauds Suite Francais 1945 and Arnold Schoenbergs Theme and Variations op.43 1946. Hector berlioz’s Grande symphonie funebre et triomphale was given its first performance in USA by the Goldmann Band 1947




A special kind of performance is seen today in the American High School and University wind bands. They play in colourfull uniforms and with a special choreografy at sport events. For this purpose some special ”marching” versions of the low brass instruments have been designed, to be hold as a trumpet, or to carry on the shoulder.


mellophone2[1]Marching French Horn.2




Fig.9 “MASSED BAND”. Really big wind orchestras can be seen when several orchestras play together. Here are several Russian military orchestras put together to form a gigantic harmony orchestra.




The Brass Band movement speeded through the 20th century. It is still the competition element that bears the Brass Band atmosphere, and from being a British phenomenon there now are competitions in other countries, as well as European and World competitions.


Fig. 10 THE INSTRUMENTS IN A BRASS BAND. Apart from two tenor trombones, a bass trombone and percussion, all other instruments are almost one big saxhorn family:


One soprano Eb-cornet


Nine Bb-cornets. Front row: one principal cornet, three solo cornets. Back row: one repiano cornet, two 2nd cornets, two 3rd cornets



One flugelhorn (B)


Three tenor horns (E; called alto horn in almost all other countries) – solo, 1st, 2nd



Two baritone horns (B) – 1st, 2nd



Two euphoniums (B)


Two E basses, also known as E tubas, notated in treble clef

Moreover, two BB basses, also known as B tubas, notated in treble clef


At first, the Brass Bands only played arrangements, but already from the beginning of the 20th century, pieces have been written to form an original Brass Band repertoire. At first it were the “Great” English composers , such as Edward Elgar (1857-1934), Gustav Holst (1874-1934) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (1857-1934) who wrote original pieces, that nowadays can be seen as “classics“. Since then, a load of pieces are written for the many competitions, music that is a real technical challenge, and difficult to play.

Traditionally Brass Bands played with a steady, quick and heavy vibrato, what some people would call “A Unique singing quality” – others would call it vulgar and without taste. In the score to the Overture for Brass Band “Henrik V”, the composer Vaughan Williams writes: The composer wishes that trumpets should be used instead of cornets and that ‘the vulgar sentimental vibrato that disfigures most brass band performances should be strictly avoided’. Today the vibrato is moderate and the way the players of modern Brass Bands perform is rather “normal”.


The use of vibrato in brass bands is a very discussed subject. Traditionally Brass Bands played with a steady, quick and heavy vibrato, what some people would call “A Unique singing quality” – others would call it vulgar and without taste. Conductor Sir Thomas Beecham (1879 – 1961) conducted symphony orchestras, but was disparaging of other ensembles: “Brass bands are all very well in their place – outdoors and several miles away.” In the score to the Overture for Brass Band “Henrik V”, the composer Vaughan Williams writes: The composer wishes that trumpets should be used instead of cornets and that ‘the vulgar sentimental vibrato that disfigures most brass band performances should be strictly avoided’. Today the vibrato is moderate and the way the players of modern Brass Bands perform is rather “normal”.


Fig. 10 ROBERT CHILDS. The British euphonium player, conductor and Director of Brass Band Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Robert Childs writes about vibrato in brass bands: In my opinion playing with vibrato in brass bands comes from the days when we used to play symphonic arrangements. Arrangers of the day gave the euphonium cello and bassoon parts, cornets often played violin or high wind parts, and various instruments in the band would play the vocal solos in the operatic arrangements. The brass band basically played more en the style of a chamber orchestra then a modern brass ensemble – this included vibrato. However during my time in the brass band movement I’ve noticed a change in attitudes to vibrato. The professional brass players (conservatoire trained) returning to the movement have an added colour in their sound field. These men have taught us there is more to tone colour than just playing with the same vibrato all the times.


Fig. 11 BLACK DIKE MILLS BAND with conductor Nicholas Childs (brother to Robert Childs) . Perhaps the most famous of the bands was formed 1855 in the village of Queensbury in Yorkshire. John Foster, an amateur French horn player in the early part of the century, established a cotton mill on a stretch of land known as “Black Dyke”. He organised a brass band with what little was left of a village band, and provided instruments, a practice room, and uniforms, known as the Black Dyke Mills Band. Foster could never have imagined that one day his band would be more famous than the textiles manufactured in his mill. The band has won many prizes and competitions over the years. In 2014, the band won the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain for a record 23rd time, and the British Open Championship for another record 30th time. They have also won the European Championships a record thirteen times, most recently in 2015. Black Dyke Band has made over 350 recordings, including one of the first brass band recordings in 1904. Even not being military orchestras, the English Brass Bands always wear uniforms.



Fig. 12 BRASS BAND SOLISTS. The best-known Brass Band musicians are soloists. They started as members of the best Brass Bands and became fulltime virtuoso. As Brass Bands are so popular, their soloists have become idols. Above two cornetists, left: Roger Webster, right: Richard Marshall (principal cornet in Black Dyke Mills Band). Below two euphonium players, left: Steven Mead, right: David Childs. Brass Band musicians are in principle amateur musicians and perform officially without fee, but soloists as these four have professional jobs as well, especially as teachers, but also as musicians in other orchestras apart from Brass Bands.



The idea of giving marching wind bands or brass bands uniform on has hit all over the world. They are often locally dressed in national or locally colorful costumes, but the use (more or less) of international standard-instruments is worldwide:


Fig. 4 TYROL



Fig. 7 INDIA


Fig. 9 Easter procession in SPAIN






Fig. 13 FRANCE

Fig. 14 JAPAN

Fig. 15 BRAZIL

Fig. 16 ITALY

Fig. 17 SERBIA


The mountain village of Baade, Austria, hosted the annual FESTIVAL OF ALP HORNS. This ancient musical instrument is a symbol of the region – performed on during weddings, festivals, battles, funerals.



Before and after the change to the 20th century there have been written chamber music for different strengths accompanied with brass wind instruments. The Wald horn is a part of the wind quintet, and there are other well-known pieces like Stravinsky’s “History of a Soldier”, with trumpet and trombone, his Octet for wind players with two trumpets and two trombones, and The Sonata for trumpet, horn and trombone by Francis Poulenc (1899-1960).


The wind quintet is a standard combination af instruments consisting of 4 woodwind players and one brass player, namely: Flute, Obo, Clarinet, Fagot – AND HORN. A large number of original works have been written for wind quintet all the way from the 18th century to the present.

Fig. BERLIN PHILHARMONIC WIND QUINTET. Hornplayer is Fergus McWilliam.


The biggest break-through for brass chamber music came in the 1960ies, with the following ensembles: The New York Brass Quintet and The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, England, and the brass ensembles got a big boom. The best-known strength for a brass ensemble is the brass quintet, with two trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba. Already from the start, the repertoire existed of:

1 – MUSIC FROM THE RENAISSANCE AND THE EARLY BAROQUE. The brass quintet does not sound like the music of Mozart or Brahms, and the old music sounded somewhat authentic. However, it is not, the full sound of the tuba is not like the sound of the old bass trombone or the lighter sound of the Serpent, but the repertoire was perfect and the effect tremendous. The brass quintet promoted in a way the playing of the old music – later even on original instruments like the zinc and the sagbutt.

2 – THE FEW ORIGINAL PIECES FROM ROMANTICISM. This repertoire played an important part in the acceptance of the brass ensemble as a chamber music ensemble.

3 – A RANGE OF ARRANGEMNETS OF CLASSICAL MUSIC, JAZZ and POPMUSIC – not just “chamber music” as it was known, but it became important in the establishment of brass ensembles.

4 – NEW ORIGINAL CHAMBER MUSIC. Like with the old music, the brass sound was something rather new, and free from traditions. So lots of new chamber music is written for brass ensembles. Some of the best known, and nowadays almost classic original brass quintets, are the Sonatine by the Frenchman Eugene Bozza (1805-1991) and the Quintet op.73 by the Englishman Malcolm Arnolds (1921-2006).




Fig. 19 “EARLY” BRASS QUINTET FROM FROM AROUND 1900. Walter Bowman Rogers, ( 1865- ) – was a key figure of the phonograph industry for three decades, first as a featured cornet player on records and then as a music director for companies, the two most important being the Victor Talking Machine Company and Brunswick. Here he is performing (no. 2 from right) with a brass quintet.


Fig. 19 BRASS QUINTET OF THE CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. Back row from left: bagerst Frank Crisafully – trombone, Arnold Jacobs – tuba, front row: Adolph Herseth – trumpet, Hugh Cowden – horn and Reinold Schilke (who later founded his instrument- and mouthpiece firm) – trumpet (der senere skabte sit instrument- og mundstykke firma). This ensemble was a pioneer for brass chamber music; they were playing from the beginning of the 1950ies, and had their jobs in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well.


Fig.19 THE NEW YORK BRASS QUINTET, established in 1954, played all kind of music, from Renaissance to Romanticism up to New Music, but all very seriously and with elegance. Far from the popular element that later became famous amongst brass ensembles. They helped to put the brass quintet in “the good chamber music environment”. The N.Y. B. Q. commissioned Vagn Holmboe’s Brass Quintet no. 1 and Malcolm Arnold’s Brass Quintet. This photo was taken by a reunion concert in 1986 at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.


Fig. 20 THE PHILIP JONES’ BRASS ENSEMBLE. From left to right: John Pigneguy, Michael Laird, David Purser, Raymond Premru, James Watson, John Fletcher, Roger Brenner, Denis Wick, Paul Archibald and Philip Jones. The ensemble was founded in 1951 by the trumpet player Philip Jones (1928-2000), at the far right on the picture. The ensemble started as a quartet, became a quintet, but had different strengths in between; especially the 10-man strength (picture) was very popular. The repertoire was a mixture of: Renaissance and Baroque, the few original pieces for brass chamber ensemble from Romanticism and New music and Popular music. A mixture of old sacral, cheerful and popular music. When the ensemble stopped, P. Jones felt the pressure from two sides: The ensembles that played the old music on original instruments like Zincs and Sagbutts, (Fig. 21), and from the ensembles that had their focus on the popular music, like “Canadian Brass” and “Mnozil Brass” (Fig. 22 & 23).


A French brass quintet founded 1964 by horn player George Barboteu (1924 – 2006). Other members are: Trumpet – Bernard Jeannoutot and Marcel Lagore, trombone – Camille Verdier, tuba – Elie Raynaud.


Fig. 23 EMPIRE BRASS, another full time brass quintet, founded in 1972 by the trumpet player ROLF SMEDEVIG, 1953-2015 (middle back). With a broad repertoire and playing at the highest level, Empire Brass got lots of success. The ensemble still exists after the death of R. Smedevig.

Fig. 24 THE BERLIN PHILHARMONIC BRASS, one of the longest standing ensembles to have emerged from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, was founded in the 1950s and they bring the distinctive sound and tradition from their orchestra. From left to right: Tamás Velenczei, Gábor Tarkövi, Martin Kretzer, Guillaume Jehl, Georg Hilser, Sarah Wilis, Alexander von Puttkamer, Stefan Schultz, Thomas Leyendecker, Jesper Busk Sørensen, Olaf Ott, Christhard Gössling. They have a wide repertoire, with special arrangements for their strength, which is 12 musicians: five trumpets, one horn, five trombones and one tuba.

Fig. 35 GERMAN BRASS was founded in 1974. All members have other jobs as orchestral musician or teacher in different places in Germany. When they perform, they meet at the concert place, where they rehearse as well. German Brass exists: four trumpets, two horn, three trombones, tuba and percussion.

Fig. 22 CANADIAN BRASS, FOUNDED 1970: Ronald Romm and Fred Mills – trumpet, Graeme Page – horn, Eugene Watts – trombone and Charles Dallenbach tuba. The ensemble started as a chamber music group, but very soon, they found their own form with a repertoire that mostly exists of arrangements of all kind of music, from the Renaissance to Dixieland music and with funny introductions to the various numbers. As you can see on these various record covers, we have by far gone beyond the old music opinion of “chamber music”. The ensemble was one of the first where the musicians were 100% ensemble-musician. “Canadian Brass” is identical with the special brass instrument’s popular sound and they have performed and played all over the world with great success.


Fig. 23 MNOZIL BRASS was founded in 1993 and got an enormous success as a very special and unique entertaining Brass-ensemble. They took a step further than Canadian Brass and away from the “traditional” chamber music as such. They play everything by head and in every possible style with a bravura that has not seen anything like it. They are comedians as well as virtuosi when they with the trumpet player Thomas Gansh in the centre, have their performances speckled with crazy ideas and arrangements special written for them: three trumpets, three trombones and tuba.

Fig. AMERICAN BRASS QUINTET. From left to right: Kevin Cobb, Louis Hanzlik, Michael Powell, John D. Rojak, Eric Reed.

An ensemble with the completely opposite entrance to the repertoire than canadian Brass and Monzil Brass is the American Brass Quintet, established 1960. Committed to the promotion of original brass chamber music, both contemporary music and renaissance music written for the precursors of today’s brass instruments. They play with a bass trombone on the 5. part instead of the traditional tuba.


Fig. 24 HULL & ANOLD’S QUADRILLE BAND (ca. 1838-1888) . Organized in 1838 shortly after the Hull family settled near Constantine, the band became known throughout Michigan and Indiana as one of the premiere orchestras of its kind. Led by violinist and caller John Hull, the band included Daniel Arnold, clarinet; Oliver P. Arnold, cornet; and Morris I. Arnold, trombone.

The Jazz was founded in New Orleans in the beginning of the 20th century, where it sprouted from spirituals, marching music and dance music. The brass instruments were part of it just from the start, but the strengths were individual and not standardised, as an example: very often violins, valve trombones or tubas were involved.


Fig. 25 ROBINSONS BAND PLAYS EVERYTHING. This cartoon was on the cover of New Orleans newspaper “The Mascot” for 15 November, 1890. The African-American band is playing on trumpet, valve trombone, drums and clarinet. People, horses, and dogs are either horrified or knocked prostrate into the street by the music. A man is shouting: For god sake stop! The very earliest jazz must have seemed confusing and provocative!


Fig. 25 JAZZ FUNERAL PROCESSION WITH MARCHING JAZZ-BAND, AN OLD TRADITION GOING BACK TO c. 1900 . A typical jazz funeral begins with a slow march, from funeral home or church to the cemetery. Throughout the march, the band plays hymn tunes. A change in the tenor of the ceremony takes place, after the deceased is entombed and the music becomes more upbeat, often starting with a hymn played in a swinging fashion, then going into popular hot tunes.Those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the second line, and their style of dancing, in which they walk and sometimes twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air, is called second lining.



Fig. 23 BODDY BOLDEN (1877-1931) AND HIS ORCHESTRA ca. 1903-1905. No. 2 from the left in the back row is Willie Cornish on valve trombone and to his right Boddy Bolden on cornet.

Little by little, the strength changed from a “Dixieland” – or “New Orleans Jazz orchestra” to three in the front row (trumpet, clarinet and trombone) and a rhythm group.

The Jazz had its own musical language from the start, but had its influence on the technical playing method on trumpet and trombone, and in all music styles.

Fig. 25 The Original Dixieland Jass Band Dixieland jazz band, PROMOTION POSTCARD 1918. 1918 From left: Drummer Tony Sbarbaro , trombonist Edwin “Daddy” Edwards, cornetist “Nick” LaRocca, clarinetist Larry Shields, and pianist Henry Ragas The group made the first jazz recordings in 1917, and claimed authorship, of many jazz standards, the most famous being “Tiger Rag”. In late 1917 the spelling of the band’s name was changed to Original Dixieland Jazz Band. ODJB billed itself as the “Creators of Jazz”. Band leader Nick LaRocca argued that ODJB deserved recognition as the first band to record jazz commercially and the first band to establish jazz as a musical idiom or genre.


Fig. 23 THE TRUMPET PLAYER LOUIS ARMSTRONG (1901-1971), in this picture as a member of the trumpet player King Oliver’s Orchestra (about 1922), front row, no. 2 from the left. Armstrong was a giant trumpet player and unique in the Jazz, and until the 1930ies he blew everyone away. At first, he played the cornet but later he changed to the trumpet.


Fig. 24 LOUIS ARMSTRONG and HIS “HOT FIVE”. After playing as “side man” in other orchestras, he recorded (1925 – 1926) some epoch changing records in his own name with his “HOT FIVE” and “HOT SEVEN”. The trombone player was KID ORY.

Fig. 25 KID ORY (1886-1973, American trombonist and composer who was perhaps the inventor of the role for the trombone in classic three-part contrapuntal New Orleans jazz improvisation. When the New Orleans bands was playing in a wagon around the streets, the trombonist, in order to have enough room to maneuver his slide, would sit at the back of the wagon, giving the name “tailgate trombone” to this style, simple bass lines with a lot of glissandos. By 1911 Ory was leading one of the best-known bands in New Orleans. Among its members at various times were Sidney Bechet, King Oliver and Louis Armstrong.




Fig. 24 THE WOLVERINE ORCHESTRA – A BAND WITH SOUSAPHONE. The most famous member was cornet player BIX BEIDERBICKE (1903-1931). He was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s and he had an unusual purity of tone and a gift for improvisation. He has been called a lyrical pendant to Louis Armstrong. The other brass players was Al Gande – trombone, and Min Leibrook – sousaphone.

Fig.25 LOUIS ARMSTRONG IN FRONT OF A BIG BAND. In 193’s and until 1947, Armstrong appeared as a foreground figure with big bands.


Fig. 25 LOUIS ARMSTRONG AND HIS ALL STARS. After his performances as a soloist with various big orchestras, Armstrong renewed the New Orleans Jazz with his “All Stars” in 1947. The trombone player was Jack Teagarden who gave the trombone a new standard role in the jazz, he played brilliant and with eminent skill, technical as well as musical.


Fig. 26 JACK TEAGARDEN AS A YOUNG MAN. He changed the importance of the trombone, from being a slow instrument to an instrument that could be played brilliant, technical as well as with musicality.


In the 1930ies, the Jazz orchestras became bigger. The big orchestras had three trumpets and three trombones at first; later in the 1940ies, they had four trumpets and four trombones, together with five saxophones and a rhythm section. In this swing time, the music got higher and higher for the brass players, especially for the 1st trumpet (in Big Bands called the “lead trumpet”).

Ellington 37

Fig. 26 DUKE ELLINGTON’S (1899-1974) ORCHESTRA 1947. This orchestra had a special style, “the jungle style”: a characteristic “speaking” solo part, a kind of wah-wah sound. You perform this with a plunger mute, with or without a small pixie mute mute behind the plunger. This playing method was developed by the trumpet player Bubber Miley (1903-1932) together with the trombone player Joe “tricky” Sam Nanton (1904-1946) and later used among others by the trumpet players Coottie Williams (1908-1985) and Ray Nance (1913-1976). Ellington used this style throughout his whole career, writing directly for his musicians and their personal playing style. When playing in the “Cotton Club” in New York, this wah-wah sound made sound like coming directly from Africa. Ellingtons trumpet-section got bigger up to 4 players, but he always used only 3 trombones. When trombonist Lawerence Brown joined the Ellington band 1932 as lead player it became the first jazz band to have three trombones. The 3 players had each their own special personality: L. Brown had for the time a “modern” and lyrical style, Juan Tizol played on valve trombone (se fig. 37), and then Tricky Sam Nanton with his plunger style. Ellington got a bass trombonist in the band in 1961, Chock Conners.



Fig. 28 COUNT BASIE (1927-1984) BAND (photo 1943) had the same development in the combination af instruments as the Ellington Band. From being a smaller group, it grew bigger into a standard big band size with 4 trumpets and until 1963 with 3 trombones, then with 4 trombones incl. a bass trombone, played by Bill Hughes.


Fig.28 TOMMY DORSEY (1905-1956) Even if there were very good trombone players in the 1930ies and 40ies, like for example Jack Teagarden, the Jazz-trombone was seen as a lyrical instrument and trombone payers found a niche in playing “ballad-like” or “sweet-trombone” playing in the higher register. Tommy Dorsey was the perfect performer in this style and he had a big influence on the general opinion of the trombone being a lyrical instrument, and he was an example to many trombone players. Tommy Dorsey was also the leader of his own Big Band, which was one of the most popular bands during this “Swing” time.

Fig. 29 DIZZY GILLESPIE (1917-1993), TRUMPET and J.J. JOHNSON (1924-2001), TROMBONE, became leading instrumentalists in the time of the Bob music, with an almost explosive but full controlled playing method. D. Gillespie had something special, the trumpet with the bell pointing upwards. The trombone was a bit slow in this Bob period, not being able to play as fast as the trumpet, but J.J. Johnson broke the “code”. He essentially proved convincingly that anything Gillespie could do on the trumpet could now also be matched on the trombone. Johnson is regarded as the true founder of the modern school of jazz trombone, developing astounding (for the time) speed and agility, and he became an example for all jazz trombonists.

The popularity of the jazz trombone got a boost when J.J. Johnson in 1954 formed a quintet with the trombonist Kai Winding and a prominent rhythm group.

KAI WINDING (1922-1983) earlier a member of the Benny Goodman and Stan Kenton bands. He participated in famous “Birth of Cool” sessions in 1949-1950 under Miles Davis leadership), appearing on four of the twelve tracks, while J.J. Johnson appeared on the other eight.


Fig. 27 MILES DAVIS (1926-1991) – had played with the “Bob-kings” Dizzy Gillespie and the sax player Charlie Parker, but he developed quite another style, the “Cool-jazz”, that had less but longer tones and a very lyrical sound. He developed this style throughout his whole career.

STAN KENTON mellofoner 1960 - 1963

Fig. 28 With the STAN KENTON’S (1912-1979) ORCHESTRA the top is reached in size as well as in sound volume. The brass section has come to five trumpets, five trombones (with two bass trombones, with one of them playing the tuba as well), and between 1960-1963 also with four mellophoniums (alto horn shaped like a trumpet, with the bell pointing forward). Kenton’s wish was a band like a ”concert-orchestra”, almost like a parallel to Wagner’s big symphony orchestra instead of being a dance orchestra.



Fig. 29 Left: The Conn Mellophonium. Right: RAY STARLING – one of Stan Kenton’s mellophonium players with his characteristic instrument.


Fig. 30 Two famous LEAD TRUMPET PLAYERS, Maynard Ferguson (1928-2006), Stan Kenton’s orchestra, and Cat Anderson (1916-1981), Duke Ellington’s orchestra. In the Big Bands the music became higher and higher for the 1st trumpet player, the leading trumpet. So far, both Ferguson and Anderson culminated in extreme high playing. With the leading trumpet style, the Jazz contributed with a special playing technique and sound on the trumpet, which is not only heard in Big bands, but also in film and popular music

Fig.30 THE FIREBIRD-TRUMPET MADE ESPECIALLY TO MAYNARD FERGUSON, trumpet with a “Dizzy” bell, with valves as well as a trombonistic slide.

Fig. WYNTON MARSALIS (1961) – is a jazz trumpeter, composer, teacher, music educator, and artistic director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He is known as a jazz musician who plays modern jazz but he has also recreated the old jazz from the 1920s and 30’s. As a musician, Marsalis possesses a remarkable stylistic range. In addition to being a jazz musician, he has performed and recorded the classic trumpet concerts of Haydn and Hummel, arias for soprano and trumpet by G.F. Händel and band solos such as Carnival in Venice – and all done with the highest possible quality. Wynton Marsalis currently serves as director of the Julliard School of Music Jazz studies program.



Fig. 31 GEORGE ROBERTS (1928-2014) was known as bass trombone player at Stan Kenton’s orchestra, where he played from 1950-1953. After that, he was a freelance-musician in Los Angeles, and there he created together with the arranger Nelson Riddle a special bass trombone style, based on his ideas of melodic playing on a bass trombone. G. Roberts made the world look different on his instrument, and brought focus on the bass trombone, not only in the Jazz, but also in film-, popular music and in the classical music. Stan Kenton was one of the first who used the bass trombone, but it became a real part of the Big band in the 60ies.


The trumpet and the trombone are the dominating brass instruments of the Jazz, together with the members of the family: the flugelhorn and the bass trombone. Other brass instruments are not as often used.

Fig. 32 TWO VALVE TROMBONE PLAYERS. There are two special musicians on the valve trombone: JUAN TIZOL (1900-1984), best known as a member of the Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, although he never played solo or improvised, but he composed some of the well-known Ellington melodies: “Caravan” and “Perdido” and Ellington let him often play together with the saxophones. BOB BROOKMEYER (1929-2011) was the leader of an orchestra, he was a composer and the best-known jazz musician on valve trombone, he played for instance with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet.

Fig. 38 TROMBONIUM is a valve instrument with forward bell and a bore between trombone and baritone. It was designed by the King company in the 1930s for marching bands to give a trombone sound without an “unpractical”slide. It has been especially known from the J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding Quintet recordings.


Fig. 38 DON ELLIOT (1926-1984). Most of Kentons mellophone-players was trumpet players who actually preferred to play the trumpet. Don Elliot took one step further and established himself as a bob jazz-player on the mellophone – maybe the only one ever ? ( he also was a singer, a composer and played trumpet and vibraphone). Elliott commissioned the Conn company to create a mellophone with the bell pointing up for his live performances.

Fig.39 TRUMPET PLAYER DON CHERRY (1936-1995) used THE POCKET CORNET quite often:



Fig. 39 2 SPECIAL BRASS INSTRUMENTS IN JAZZ: JOHN CLARCK (1944-), french horn RICH MATTESON (1929-1993) euphonium.

John Clark (1944-) is one of the few Jazz “horn players”. He wrote music books and taught at the State University of New York 2001-2008 – he is now on faculty at Manhattan School of Music.

Rich A. Matteson, (1929-1993) – American jazz artist, collegiate music educator, international jazz clinician, big band leader, and jazz composer/arranger. Euphonium was his primary instrument, although Matteson was proficient on several other low brass instruments, particularly tuba. Matteson was the only significant euphonium soloist in jazz. In 1986, the University of North Florida appointed Matteson the Kroger Distinguished Professor of American Music.


  • 1990 — Inducted into the Jazz Educators Hall of Fame
  • 1992 — Down Beat Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2000 — Inducted into the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Hall of Fame for his significant contributions to jazz as an educator and musician

Fig. 34 HOWARD JOHNSON AND DAVID BARGERON. The tuba often was the bass instrument in the New Orleans- music and later used by Gil Ewans, and it is often used as an extra instrument for bass trombone players in modern Big Bands. However, Bargeron and Johnson developed the tuba from being a bass instrument to a jazz solo instrument.


Howard Lewis Johnson (1941-) is an American jazz musician known mainly for his work on tuba and baritone saxophone, although he also plays the bass clarinet, trumpet and other reed instruments


David W. “Dave” Bargeron (1942-) is an American trombonist and tuba player most famous for playing with the jazz-rock group Blood, Sweat and Tears. He became famous for his jazz-rock solo on the tuba in “And When I Die/One room country shack”


Fig.34 JAMES MORRISON (1962- ), AUSTRALIA, is a multi-instrumental Australian jazz musician. Widely known for his trumpet playing, he has also perform, on bass trumpet, trombone, euphonium and tuba. Here he is seen with a “normal” trumpet and a bass trumpet. In addition, he was part in the developing of the SUPERBONE-TROMBONE (made by SCHAGERL, Austria) that (like the firebird-trumpet) both has valves and a slide.




“Popular” music is widely used as a name for all kinds of music, like film music, musicals and much more, and almost always brass instruments are involved, with their most jazzy-ish and show-ish effects.


Fig. 42 “CARTOON” MUSIC. The sound tapes for cartoon films often show brass players who use special sound effects, and who play in a jazzy swinging style, like in the films “Tom and Jerry”, “Looney Tunes” and more, or like in the Disney film “Trombone-Trouble” from 1944 where Donald Duck himself playes the trombone. There has always been a special love for the tuba in cartoon music, like for example in “the Flintstones” (1960-1966) where there is an extreme amount of tuba, often playing solo or in long cadenzas, used as fabulous background music.!





Most well known performers in popular music are singers, but it happens that an instrumentalist is the basis for the success. Brass players mostly are part of an ensemble or a band, but there are some brass players who have become famous themselves. Not because they were very tremendous instrumentalists, but maybe because of their playing method or special style that did the trick, in a short or longer period. Of course there are musicians who were both great players, as well as great performers with their special style, for example Louis Armstrong, who was the top in jazz music, but at the same time one of the most popular and well known musicians in the 20th century: at a concert in New Orleans in 1968 he was introduced as:”the most famous man in the world”.

Fig. 62 STATUES OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG – New Orleans Airport, Algier – New Orleans, Armstrong Park – New Orleans, National habor – Maryland, Las Vegas.

Fig. 42 GLEN MILLER (1904 – 1944) American trombone player and arranger who especially became famous as the leader of an orchestra. During the Swing Time, the Big Bands were either “hot” which means: jazz orientated, or “sweet” which means: focused on popular music. Miller did both, but by focusing on orchestral playing rather than jazz soloists he got his own special sound. Although he had worked as an arranger himself, most of his “hits” were written/arranged by others, and often with his special sound that came by letting a clarinet and a tenor saxophone play the melody in octaves. He was not especially famous as a jazz musician, but pieces like “In the Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade”, “Pennsylvania 6-5000″, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, “A String of Pearls”, “American Patrol”, “Tuxedo Junction”, and “Little Brown Jug” made his orchestra the most popular Big Band of all. Between 1939 – 1943, Glen Miller was the musician whose records sold best – Of “Tuxedo Junction” itself 115000 records were sold in the first week it was released. There is a film about his life from 1954 “The Glenn Miller Story”. Although the popularity of the Big Bands lessened late 40ies, Glenn Miller never was a temporary success, and his music is still being played.

Fig.43 “EDDIE” CALVERT (1922 – 1978), ENGLISH TROMPETIST, LANCERED AS “THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TRUMP”. He succeeded with a melodic repertoire game played with a big warm sound and a “Mexican” vibrato. His best-selling hits “worldwide” were: “Oh Mein Papa” and “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White”.

Fig. 44 CHRIS BARBER (1930 – ), ENGLISH TROMBONE PLAYER AND ORCHESTRAL LEADER came from the revival of New Orleans music that blossomed in England in the 50ies and 60ies. Although his fame became less by the upcoming of rock music and the Beatles, he continued his carrier. Never has a trombone player been so popular in such a long time.


Fig. 45 HERB ALBERT (1935 – ), AMERICAN TRUMPET PLAYER AND ORCHESTERLEADER, got known as the leader of “Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass”. His special style with a “cheap”, lazy and south-american inspired sound got an enormous impact with the numbers ” A Taste of Honey”, “Tijuana Taxi” and “This Guy’s in Love with You”. He sold more than 72 million records.

11. TECHNIQUE AND TRAINING . The technical aspects of playing a wind instrument

Until the middle of the 20th century, there was very little knowledge about embouchure or breathing technique: If you got enough “talent”, you could be a professional. Although it was common known that the technique one should have to keep a career as a professional solo trumpet player in a symphony orchestra, only lasted until one reached the age of 40. All this has changed since. With developing systems, (like in sports) it is possible to grow physical strength and control by training. These ideas are based on study and experience, and as a result less professional brass players “break down” and are able to keep their playing standard up to a high age. The extreme example is the American trumpet player Adolph Herset who was a solo trumpet player in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra until he became 79 – long after the “normal” retiring age. (See Trumpet, the 20th century I)

Fig. 49 CARMINE CARUSO (1904-1987)) and JAMES STAMP (1904-1985)

Carmine Caruso started with music at an early age. At four, it was discovered that he could remember tones – he had absolute pitch. Most of his playing career he made his living as a saxophone player. In 1941, Carmine gave up the big bands in favor of a career of full-time teaching and freelance playing. In 1942, Carmine took his first trumpet student. Within a year, Carmine had forty brass students and he became one of the greatest brass teachers of all times. Brass players from all over the world came to New York to study with him. He had a reputation for being able to help improve players just starting out, detoured talents, and players who already performed well.


james Stamp was a trumpet player but made his career as a teacher. His system for all brass players is described in his book: “Warm-ups + Studies”. The Stamp exercises emphasize musical principles as much as physical concepts to accomplish the desired technical results. Perhaps the most famous Stamp aphorism was that if it sounded correct (i.e. «in-tune») then one was doing it correctly. On the other hand, conversely, if one did not play correctly it would not sound correct. Indeed, everything that has been said or written about Mr. Stamp and his teaching/playing concepts reinforces this basic idea.

Fig. 50 ARNOLD JACOBS (1915-1998) should also be mentioned here (see THE TUBA, the 20th century I). He was a pioneer in wind techniques and he got students from all over the world. He never wrote a “method” though. On the other hand, many of his students wrote about his ideas and about their experiences when studying with him. To the left: Arnold Jacobs in his room together with a student. Look at all the “breathing” appliances; they are an important part of Jacobs’ method. To the right: A book about Jacobs with his motto: SONG AND WIND, as the title.



Since the 60ies, it has become rather wide spread to perform music in a “historic” way, that means with a characteristique pulsating rhythm, almost without vibrato, with the possibility to improvise and played on copies of historical instruments. In the beginning, it was seen as rather amatueristic but today the “historical performances” are top professional, as played by the London Baroque Soloists – who also perform as Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique (England), Freiburger Barockorchester (Germany), The Orchestra of the 18th century (Holland) or Il Giardino Harmonico (Italy). At first it was only the music from the Renaissance that was played on instruments from the time the music was written, later from the Baroque as well, and then from the Viennese and Romanticism. There was a lot of discussion about this idea, but it has become more and more accepted, and it even has influenced the way “normal” orchestras play old music. To follow up with the demand, many instrument makers produce “historical” instruments. Some of them are ”old” even in the details, but most of them have “modern” elements as water key, trombone slide in chrome or holes in the trumpets to be able to play difficult notes.

Today there are even amateur musicians playing the old music on historically instruments.


Fig. WALTER HOLY (1921 – 2006) – playing on his coiled “Reiche trumpet” with 3 holes made by Otto Steinkopf. Walter Holy was from Germany and the first trumpeter in the 20th century to play successfully on valveless Baroque trumpets. From 1960, as principal trumpet of the Cappella Coloniensis, he made recordings and demonstrated Baroque instruments in travels throughout the world. Holy plays very softly and in a more chamber-music spirit on his historical instrument than Adolph Scherbaum at the same time did on his valve piccolo trumpet.




Fig. SOLO FOR SERPENT. Musicians from the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall performing on historically instruments at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Berkshire, England. Photo from 1960: Getty


Fig. 52 THREE MUSICIANS WHO PLAY “HARDCORE” ON HISTORICAL INSTRUMENTS: – the Englishman PIP EASTORP, horn – the Englishman ADAM WOOLF, sackbut – and the Frenchman JEAN-FRANCOIS MADEUF, trumpet . All three play extraordinarily on their throughout historical instruments. Madeuf plays on a trumpet with no holes, and he stands as they did in the old days.

Fig. 50 ADVERTISEMENT FOR NATURAL HORN from 1989. The horn player Anthony Halstead who sees on the advertisement from the magazine “Brass Bulletin” designed the horn for the Webb company.



Fig. 21 HIS MAJESTYS CORNETTS AND SACKBUTS. Since 1970 the old instruments: The natural trumpet, the cornetto, the barock horn and the sackbut has got a renaissance and is used in many orchestras and chamber music ensembles. His Majestys Cornetts and Sagbutts is one af the leading pioneering historic brass ensembles. Established in 1982 by the cornetto player Jeremy West (No. 2 from the right).


Fig. THALIA ENS., Amsterdam, perform wind quintet om period instruments. Natural horn: Hylke Rozema



Fig.54 THE INDIANA BRASS KEYED BAND from Indiana, USA, recreates the early keyed band in the style of the bands from ca.1830.


Fig. 23 CHESTNUT BRASS, ETABLERET 1977: Bruce Barrie, John Thomas, Marian Hesse, Larry Zimmerman og Jay Krush. C.B.B. have found their very own personal niche as mediators by presenting and actually performing on almost all types of brass instruments with relevant styles and types of repertoire. Photo Credit: Paul Nixdorf .


Fig. 79 THE OLD SPECIAL VALVE INSTRUMENTS CAN AGAIN BEEN SEEN AND HEARD. Also amateur ensembles have begun playing old music on historical instruments:

Fig. THE PRINCE REGENT’s BAND: Richard Fomison, Richard Thomas, Anneke Scott, Phil Dale and Jeff miller – have recreated the sort of music that the Distin family played in their concerts, a compelling mixtures of styles and arrangements by the Distins and by members of the Prince Regent’s Band and performed on the old instruments.





Apart from the “normal” brass instruments, new versions of real old brass instruments, or rather lip wind instruments (because many of those are not made of brass at all) are being played on.

Fig. 51 From top left: Jazz trombonist Steve Turre plays on seashell. Indian trumpet from 880, India. “OVERTON”-lip wind instrument of bamboo with holes, Indonesia. New made “Rag-Dung trumpet” from Tibet.




Fig.53 – and the hunting horn is still used:


Fig.54 – AND ON NATURAL TRUMPET. A trumpeter with Florence’s city symbol has performed at the Calcio Storico Games since the days the city was an Italian economic power during the Renaissance:



in Sibiu Old City Centre, Transylvania, Romania.




Fig. 52 A NEW NATURAL HORN: RAM’S HORN WITH BRASS INSTRUMENT MOUTHPIECE developed by Ulf Nordlund, Denmark (tel.: 0045.20319684. Mail:




FIG. 53 FRONTPAGE TO 3 EDITIONS OF BRASS BULLETIN. During the period 1971-2003, the magazine Brass Bulletin published articles about brass instruments, brass players and events. The magazine was driven and edited by the Jean-Pierre Mathez, Switzerland.



Fig. THE HISTORIC BRASS SOCIETY (HBS) was founded in 1988. It is an international music organization whose goal is to promote the exchange of serious ideas about the history and performance of brass instruments and brass music, ranging from Antiquity through the twentieth century.





As told earlier, there has been national traditions in playing method and sound. Until the 50ies, this individuality was more pronounced than today. Suddenly the orchestras began to sound like each other (see under USA) and it became more and more difficult to hear which part of the world an orchestra came from. At this moment, orchestras try to find their roots again and go back to their national identity in sound and style.

By listening to recordingss, you can hear the changes in finding the ideal sound according to the nationality. As an example you can listen to the English horn sound using the French valve horn up till the fifties: the sound was very light, whereas the sound of the horns in the records of the London Symphony Orchestra from the end of the 20th century, (using the English Paxman horn with a big bore) have an extreme dark and full sound. Strangely enough, the sound of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is the opposite. The sound of the horns in the old records is soft and dark, whereas it nowadays is more compact with more overtones.



Fig. 52 THE HORN SECTION OF THE VIENNA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, WITH VIENNA HORN AND WAGNER TUBAS at the recording of the Rhine Gold 1960/1961, conducted by Georg Solti. 1st row from the left: Gottfried von Freiberg, Josef Veleba, Josef Koller, Otto Nitsch, Leopold Kainz, Wolfgang Tomböck sen., Josef Samwald – 2nd row with the Wagner tubas: Roland Berger, Hans Berger, Emil Kreuziger, Josef Lackner

(NOTE: The horns are seated in the so-called Wiener arrangement with the 1st hornist furthest away in the picture – this arrangement has now been abandoned)

In Germany and Austria, the brass playing culminated in the late Romanticism. According to that period, the sound was dark, with f-horn and trumpets with rotating valves, and based on playing together. Around 1900 the Germans were regarded as the leading orchestral brass players. When at that time people started to create orchestras in the USA, it was necessary to import qualified musicians, and as a rule, they were string players from Russia, woodwind players from France and brass players from Germany. Since that time, the sound in Germany has changed to a bit lighter one. In the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, they still keep the old sound tradition by playing on the old instruments or replicas

Fig. 53 STEFAN SCHULTZ has been a bass trombone player in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra since 2002. For a very long time solo playing on a bass trombone was something for “Americans”, but that has changed since the popularity of Stefan Schultz as a soloist. Photo: Jarek Raczek.



Fig. 54 THE FRENCH TRUMPET PLAYER PIERRE THIBAUD 1929 – 2004, was known as a soloist, 1st trumpet player in Karl Richter’s orchestra, “the” 1st trumpet player at recordings of Baroque music with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and a popular teacher, for instance at the Parisian Conservatoire.

Since the 19th century, the instrumental standard in France was very high, and already at that time focused on the skill of the musician playing solo. That is the reason that French brass instruments had a small bore, a light sound, an intense vibrato, and the trumpets always had pump valves. When one of the solo trumpet players in the Parisian Opera in the 1950ies for the first time played on a trumpet with a medium bore, was the comment from his colleague: “are we going to play the flugelhorn?”

French composers like Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) did not appreciate the thick and massive German brass sound at all, but were more focused on the exact timbre of each instrument.

Fig. 55 TROMBONE QUARTET FROM PARIS IN AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE INSTRUMENT FACTORY SELMER, 1959. From the left: Gabriel Masson, Marcel Galiegue, André Gosset and René Allain. Note: there is still no bass trombone, but only four trombones without the F- valve. Gabriel Masson (1912-1975) was the leading trombone player of that time, he was a teacher at the Conservatoire in Paris and he did rather a lot of trombone solo recordings and chamber music, which was not at all common in the 1960ies.



Dublin Orchestral Society in the Royal University Concert Hall, c. 1900. Here are all the English specialties from this period: Trumpet parts played on Cornets, French Horns with piston valves and the english Bass Trombone in G with handle.

The method of playing and the way of building instruments was in England for a very long time under French influence, which you can hear on old recordings. In the 1950ies the “Americanising” of the sound – a more dark and full sound – was consequently introduced in England, especially for horns, trombones and tuba. You can clearly hear it in the music of many films that were recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. The principal trombone of the orchestra, Dennis Wick, said it like this: “The English brass players a European sound on American instruments”.

The English Brass Bands are an institution of their own, but also they have changed their sound, away from the light French sound with lots of vibrato, towards a fuller sound and a more “common” phrasing.


Fig. 56 Top: SOLOISTS IN THE LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA MAURICE MURPHY, trumpet, and DENNIS WICK, trombone, picture from 1982. Below: THEIR LATEST “DESCENDANT”: PHILIP COBB got the job at the age of 21 in 2009, and PETER MORE on the job at the age of 18 in 2014 – LSO’s youngest member ever.




Fig. 57 VITALY BUJANOVSKY (1928 – 1993) He was the legendary principal horn player at the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky and professor at the Leningrad Conservatory. In 1985, he was elected an Honorary Member of “The International Horn Society”.

The Russian brass players clearly show their cultural influence in their way of playing. They got their full sound from Germany, and their expressive vibrato from France. During some time, this vibrato made the Russian Wald horn to sound like a Saxophone!


Fig. 58 SERGEI MIKHAILOVICH NAKARIAKOV (1977- ) followed the Russian brass tradition with very expressive playing. From the age of 15, he made a series of splendid recordings of original pieces as well as transcriptions of solo pieces for violin or cello, often played on flugelhorn.



Fig. 59 JOE ALESSI (1959- ), Principal Trombone of the New york Philharmonic Orchestra and a soloist, teacher/clinician and recording trombone player.


American brass music was mostly based on German tradition, but it is gone beyond that. With their beautiful shining way of playing, they have influenced all those who loved the American brass sound, their precision and their intonation. This idea that being a brass player in a symphony orchestra means to go for it with a 100%, and not to focus on being a soloist, comes from the USA. In a way by focusing on your part to make the full sound of the brass group to flourish, and therewith to characterise the sound of the orchestra. That was a good idea of course, but after some time it made all orchestras to sound alike, because the national character disappeared. Today the orchestras all over the world do their best to keep their own peculiarity, without losing the technical quality.



Fig. 60 CAROL JANISCH (1985-) SOLOTUBIST IN THE PHILADELPHIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA SINCE 2006, The first female tubist in a leading American orchestra and the youngest employee ever.



Fig. 61 CHARLIE VERNON, BASS TROMBONE IN THE CHIGACO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA SINCE 1986, succeeded Edward Kleinhammer and almost a phenomenon, who with his technique and musicality influenced the understanding of the modern bass trombone.



Fig. 62 THE BRASS ENSEMBLE of the dutch Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by their former solo trombone player Ivan Meylemans.

Small countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Belgium and The Netherlands have all throughout time been influenced by England, France, Germany, Russia, and lately especially by the USA. Their brass players though have sat their mark all over the world, as orchestral musicians as well as soloists. As an example, the Dutch Concertgebouw Orchestra was praised by the English magazine “The Grammophone” and called the best symphony orchestra of the world. Of course, that is their opinion, they can only speak for themselves, and maybe it should not be regarded as true, but it is important and it tells you something about the high standard of the orchestra.

Fig. 63 THE TRUMPET PLAYER HÅKAN HARDENBERGER (1951-), SWEDEN made a career as a soloist, a virtuoso who manages the classical as well as the modern repertoire, and some pieces have been written especially for him by important contemporary composers. Hardenberger has been called: “the cleanest, subtlest trumpeter on earth”. H.H is a professor as well at the Malmö Conservatory.



If you look at the voices in a choir, and all four voices glide in a way from one to the other, you can illustrate that with a SOUND PYRAMID:

Almost like the instrument family from the Renaissance: the CONSORT. You can look at the strings in an orchestra in the same way:

This is also the case with the ”sax horns” or with the instruments in a British Brass Band: (not the trombones though), flugelhorn, baritone, euphonium, and bass (the tubas):



At the woodwinds it almost is the opposite, different sounds and kaleidoscopically contrasts, called BROKEN CONSORT in the Renaissance. A woodwind quartet could look like this:


– but looking at the “old” brass instruments in a symphony orchestra, it is something in between a ”consort” and ”broken consort”.

A brass quintet could look like this:



Brass instruments look very different: The Soprano instrument (trumpet) plays with valves and the bell pointed forward, the alto instrument (Wald horn) plays with one hand in the bell that is pointed backwards, the tenor instruments (trombone) plays with a slide instead of valves, and the bass, the tuba plays with the bell pointed upwards. Anyhow, they play very well together, but all four instruments have still their archetypical character and symbolic meaning in behold.

Today the symbolism is only a part of their presentation, because all brass instruments can symbolize in their sound almost whatever they want, also the very opposite of their historical meaning.

The trumpet was a military instrument meant to give signals, to send messages:

The trumpet still symbolizes a messenger:

– but can also be a folk instrument, characteristic for a nation:

The Wald horn traditionally was a hunting instrument, close to nature:

– og er derefter blevet et generelt naturbeskrivende lyrisk- and after that it has become a generally lyrical instrumentto illustrate nature. It is used in many Western movies and in 1978, the sound of the horn got very popular as a part of the signature music the TV series Dallas.


– and today the horn can be seen and heard I rather new connections, like at a ”jazz-horn-symposium”:



The trombone has been a dooms day instrument, a sublime voice from heaven, (or from hell) and the favourite instrument of the angels:


– But with its “glissandi”, it is used in other contexts with a rather earthy and unrestrained character like for example:




Being the last instrument the tuba was especially effective as a bass instrument, and without the symbolic meaning of the other instruments, it could well be seen as “the clown”:

-or as a “bumbler”:

Therefore there are many prejudices about “tubism”. Fortunately tubaister very self-deprecating.

– it took a long time before serious solo misuc was wrttien for the tuba, but Richard Wagner could use the tuba as the dramatique voice of the dragon Fafner:


– today the tuba even can have an expression quite opposite its origin: elegance and elf like souplesse:





Today brass players unite a national and historical style with international technique. By choosing the right instrument – from the more “historical” to the most modern instruments – you can colour the sound of style and history. People are also more focused on the style of a piece of music, you can play Debussy like they do in Paris and Brahms likethey do in Berlin. In this way you can enlarge the musical experience, for the audience as well as for he musician. In this “history of brass instruments” I have choosen to present mostly musicans from past times, seen from a historical point of view. But it shall be underlined that there are really many brilliant musicians, ensembles and orchestras today, classical as well as rhythmical, and they are not inferior to their predecessors – on the contrary. !


Mogens Andresen