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How important is range?


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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, let me add a few things about musicals and range. I need to give a disclaimer that all of this information is based on my personal experience. There are college courses in musical theatre history, but I've never taken one. Besides - those classes wouldn't have anything about the trumpet parts so...pretty much a waste of my time.

"West Side Story" (1957) called for the 1st & 2nd players to have solid Fs & Es. Those two were Gino Bazzacco & David Jandorf.

As far as I know, WSS is the show that really broke the range barrier for trumpets.

"Gypsy" (1959) has a 1st Trumpet solo in the Overture where Dick Perry gets to go crazy!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYS1G9ZLOio

And that, boys and girls, is the way to play an Overture!

Back to kehaulani's question.

I think extending the trumpet range for musicals was simply natural evolution. Broadway composers started writing for a more "jazz" or "big band" kind of sound vs. the Golden Age of shows written by Rogers and Hammerstein, Rogers and Hart, etc. which were much more "orchestral" in sound. Even shows like "Guys and Dolls" (1950) which was very much big band in style, the trumpets had only a couple of Ds to play.

By the mid-to-late 60s, show themes became much more contemporary, and the style of music followed those changes. Composers liked that they not only could write higher trumpet parts, but that there were plenty of power-house players available to play those parts. That came about mostly because the jingle, TV, movie and record recording session work started to diminish and "A" list jingle players (who always looked down on pit players - Broadway used to be considered a job NOT to take and certainly not one to tell your trumpet buddies that you had) were now available and willing to play their shows.

Then we need to factor in the addition of electronic keyboards to pits. Not to take away from the talent of those musicians who play and can program those keyboards but...they are taking jobs away from wind & string musicians.

Those machines can play any note any time. Composers/orchestrators hear it played on a keyboard & they expect you to play in on your part.

Hope that answers your question. Always happy to help with what I can!
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim,

Great history lesson. Where else can you read something like that outside of Trumpet Herald?

Good stuff.

Warm regards,
Grits
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grits Burgh wrote:
Tim, Great history lesson. Where else can you read something like that outside of Trumpet Herald? Good stuff.


Couldn't have said it better, myself. Thanks for such a concise, yet significant post. You're a good guy, Tim.
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bach_again
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post, Tim!
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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're known to have a really solid range...you might get the 1st trumpet part for a show written specifically with you in mind.

Cases in point....or izzit case in points....whatever:

"In the Heights" and "The Book of Mormon" were written with NY trumpet great Raul Agraz in mind. Anyone who's played "Club Number" knows what I'm talking about.

And Book, which has a smattering of Gs, Gbs & F#s ENDS on a dubba A stinger.

"Legally Blonde" was written with Dave Trigg in mind. The MD for that show heard Dave play on the Martin Short B'way show ("Martin Short - Fame Becomes Me") and hired him for Legally Blonde.

Those who have played LB know about the end of "Positive" with its Ab - Eb - dubba Ab ending. That's the tour version. On B'way, it was up a half step.

Same with the last tune in Act I - "So Much Better" with its dubba A to dubba G last notes. On B'way, that tune, too, was up a half step.

Dave nailed the crap outta those notes on every show.

Kinda like if ya got it, flaunt it.
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Arjuna
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1



trpthrld wrote:
Sound is the most important thing. A rich, vibrant, resonant sound is what most players go for.

After that is technique and control.

Add those in with a consistent sound (also meaning good pitch center) throughout the range that you have and you can be a highly-in-demand trumpet player.

Doc Severinsen said it best - when he was asked what could be done to increase range he replied "Why worry about high notes? Herb Alpert is the richest trumpet player ever and he seldom plays above the staff."

(I could be paraphrasing a bit on Doc's quote).

When you audition, you should always play to emphasize your strong points.
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