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zero to hero on piccolo



 
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nonchalant
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:43 am    Post subject: zero to hero on piccolo Reply with quote

What kind of progression would you lay out for a piccolo noob to advance to Brandenburg? Not just for me, but for anyone in/with a music degree.

Would this be a 4-5 year endeavour? maybe more, or less?

Would benchmarks should you hit along the way? What would the study progression look like? What about range development?

-Beginner Telemann Heroic, Torelli, Purcell Sonata VIII, Handle Suite in D
-Then maybe Vivaldi, Marcello, Tartini and orchestra/ensemble like Royal Fireworks, Bach Suite, Christmas Oratorio, B minor Mass, Molter, Fash, L Mozart, Telemann,

Then move to Brandenburg? What say you?
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spitvalve
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conventional wisdom says it's best to start on piccolo when you can comfortably play up to high F on the standard Bb trumpet.

Hard to put a timeline on development--really depends on where your chops are at currently.

Any of the standard range development exercises would also apply to piccolo. You need to rest a lot more between exercises, especially in the initial stages. Piccolo doesn't give you range you don't already have, but it can be more taxing at first.

Listen to Maurice Andre constantly to get that sound in your head.

Good books to use would be Gerald Webster's piccolo method and also David Hickman's "The Piccolo Trumpet Big Book" and "The Piccolo Trumpet: Duets, Etudes and Orchestral Excerpts."

The Brandenburg is probably the goal of every piccolo player. Telemann's "Heroic Music" is a good start--it's full of short pieces that you can mix and match into your own little concertos, and none of them are overly taxing. Working up to the Brandenburg will really depend on your range development--you'll need a solid high A.
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trombino
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you’ve laid out a terrific progression of study. Most players won’t have the patience to progress that sensibly and will still probably continually try to muscle out the Brandenburg. But Your plan is completely sensible and I’m totally stealing it for my students.
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Danbassin
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trombino wrote:
I think you’ve laid out a terrific progression of study. Most players won’t have the patience to progress that sensibly and will still probably continually try to muscle out the Brandenburg. But Your plan is completely sensible and I’m totally stealing it for my students.


Just to jump-in with a +1 on "Most players won't have the patience..." as I must admit, Bburg2 is an Everest I've never personally been able to tackle - though I've conducted the work on a number of occasions, always treating my trumpeter colleagues with respect and awe at the undertaking.

Range development is certainly a part of the process, as the three high concert G's do require our lips to vibrate 1567.982 times a second...approximately. Fortunately for us, JS didn't ask us to hold any of them out anywhere near a second, however there are enough high concert Fs (nearly 1400hz) in the piece to take down a trumpeting horse!

Range, yes, but the stamina factor is really the issue - AND, I've found that a focus on the lightness of articulation throughout the piece to really be the key to success, personally, and through hearing others succeed or stumble in this work.

To that end, the recommendation of Maurice André as model piccolo trumpeter is apt as ever, and particularly essential when approaching this work. We can get away with near-orchestral attacks on many of the baroque D-Major works, and achieve serviceable (albeit unidiomatic) results. However, with this particular beast, not only would it be ill-advised for even the meatheadiest among us to hack at those sixteenth-note runs with a 'big trumpet' tongue, but the equal footing Bach intended for our instrument alongside the recorder, oboe, and violin colleagues wouldn't be a fair fight, at all.

To this last end, a fairly-new to YouTube performance by a baroque trumpeter I must admit knowing nothing about, is revelatory:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEJ-xcblCMo

Happy practicing!
-DB
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Christian K. Peters
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:13 am    Post subject: From zero to hero on piccolo Reply with quote

Hello all,
I agree with the progression of music and listening for concept. What I did not hear strong enough was to get input from a player who has performed a majority of the literature. I have heard too many players muscle their way through the small horns without good instruction. I remember hearing a young high school player go to state solo playing the pic..Can't remember the tune though I do remember that I could not do it justice at the time, and I was already out of school and teaching. He was taking from a pro up in Portland...Well, he had the right everything and won first in state. He played so effortlessly. I was envious and have always tried to imitate that effortlessness, since.
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spitvalve
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trombino wrote:

To this last end, a fairly-new to YouTube performance by a baroque trumpeter I must admit knowing nothing about, is revelatory:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEJ-xcblCMo


Wow.
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mhenrikse
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest that every so often you pick up the piccolo and play some of the brandenburg. If its pretty close, then you can do it. If not then your overall trumpet playing is not at a high enough level. This was advice given to me by one of the BIGS and has rung true over many years. Keep practicing getting a beautiful sound and develop an ease of playing. This goes against the idea that you can go through some sort of progression on piccolo to the B-burg that is independent of trumpet playing as a whole.
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The real question is why would someone decide to take up the piccolo for the reason of playing Brandenburg 2.

If this is the sole aim, then the most musical and sensible thing to do is to be banned from piccolo ownership. Take some time and develop a mindset about this sort of music and a desire to perform baroque literature, not just one piece.

That said, if the opportunity arises, then we do need a plan, unless we are gifted with the chops hitch can cope with this tessatura. When I had the opportunity (I agreed with a couple of provisos) I decided that it was a combination of range building on Bb etc. trumpets and also getting far more comfortable on the small beastie.

On the big horns, it was the usual suspects with an increased focus on range. On picc, I simply started an octave lower and worked my up by key. So, actually on a Bb, playing it an octave down, then a C (just up a tone), etc, until I was comfortable playing the entire work in D.

Then the concert was cancelled... but my range was better, and I hadn’t wrecked myself in the process.

Each to their own, but why not do this for the right reasons?

Cheers

Andy
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy Del wrote:
On picc, I simply started an octave lower and worked my up by key. So, actually on a Bb, playing it an octave down, then a C (just up a tone), etc, until I was comfortable playing the entire work in D.

I was surprised when my teacher told me that this is his preferred way to work up this piece. I think he said that he'd allocate at least two months to get up to performance pitch.
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Dayton
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As another poster alluded to, Cichowicz had an approach to the Brandenburg. In a nutshell, it was to work out the piece on one of the big horns (Bb or C), and then progress to the smaller horns, ending up on the piccolo trumpet. The idea was not to burn yourself out learning the piece on the piccolo trumpet. You'd only play it on the piccolo trumpet once you had already mastered the piece, and were simply polishing it on the horn you'd be performing it on.

Clearly, this approach is intended for someone who is already proficient on the piccolo trumpet. As a general matter, several of the posters have outlined a good approach to gaining fluency on the pic.

Good luck!
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cgaiii
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danbassin wrote:

To this last end, a fairly-new to YouTube performance by a baroque trumpeter I must admit knowing nothing about, is revelatory:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEJ-xcblCMo
-DB

I often show this video to people as an example of Jean-François Madeuf's mastery of the natural trumpet and perhaps the sound of this piece closer to what it may have sounded like originally (a whole different sound from piccolo trumpet and modern orchestra). Madeuf is pretty much the undisputed master of the natural trumpet (not baroque trumpet), just phenomenal. One student of his, Julian Zimmerman does fine work too, but I have never seen a video of his taking on the Brandenburg 2 or playing the natural trumpet in F. I am sure there are others, but we do not see as many natural trumpeters as we see baroque trumpeters.
Here is Andre, who had no interest in HIP performance, but made wonderful music too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIX_XVji9UA
Wonderful stuff.
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mhenrikse
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ryan Anthony played the Brandenburg with the Detroit Symphony when he was in high school. I heard it live on the radio and it was great. He's famous now as a trumpet player and is principal trumpet of the Dallas Symphony. He might have some ideas how you can get to the brandenburg at such a young age.
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JayV
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a performance of the Brandenburg with a ROPA orchestra coming up next month. Excerpts of it are also on a couple of audition lists I've been preparing. I practice it nearly every day along with scales, arpeggios, and Bordogni-style etudes on the piccolo going up to high A or Bb. I also practice fundamentals every day up to high C (double C) on the Bb trumpet.

I'm using the same horn and mouthpiece I would use to play the Telemann, Tartini, Fasch, or the Bach repertoire you mentioned, but my approach is a little bit different. If I were called to play Bach B minor Mass or Magnificat, I could get that together with little effort and little notice.

The Brandenburg is significantly more difficult and requires a lot more preparation (for me) not just because of the range, but also because of the style and orchestration. It's not easy to articulate and play soft and pretty in that range. It's also not easy to play chamber music if you're focused on squeezing out high notes. The range needs to feel comfortable, and it's not easy to achieve that quickly, in my opinion.

That said, it could also be more difficult for me to adjust because I mostly play big, loud, low orchestra section parts. Honking away on a 1C on Shostakovich or the Tannhauser overture is far different from bouncing around light, airy high Gs on the Brandenburg and requires a totally different mindset and style of breathing, articulation, phrasing, etc.

One idea I got from Allan Dean is to spend some time messing around with a recorder. I have a basic, plastic, Yamaha recorder and sometimes I'll play scales or little sections of things I'm working on to try to get the feel of the ease, flow, and effortless articulation. I find that if I spend some time doing wind patterns and playing the recorder, I can kind of trick myself into playing some of the extreme high stuff more fluently and easily.
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aaron
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy Del wrote:
The real question is why would someone decide to take up the piccolo for the reason of playing Brandenburg 2.


I agree 100%. I play piccolo all the time, I love doing it, and have never played the Brandenburg. I'm doing just fine, and so far nobody has questioned my rights to piccolo ownership or professional musicianship (to my face at least).

Here's the most important thing you need to know about the Brandenburg: it is not a trumpet concerto! It is a chamber concerto that includes trumpet. If you play it, you need to play it as part of a chamber ensemble or chamber orchestra. The trumpet is just one instrument in the ensemble, and it's supposed to blend more or less equally with the others. That's why in (more recent) videos, the trumpeter is often pointing away from the audience, so they balance with the other instruments.

In my opinion, this makes the Brandenburg kind of a silly piece. You have a solo violin, oboe and recorder lightly prancing away, while a few feet away some poor trumpeter takes a crack at one of the hardest pieces ever written for their instrument. Even if the trumpeter nails it, it's never an equal partnership, because the act of nailing the piece is so incredible that it distorts the piece. Listening to this piece performed well, the trumpet player portion of my brain is always amazed, while my inner musician rolls his eyes a little.
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Didymus
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:07 am    Post subject: The Trumpet Sound In Bach's Day Reply with quote

aaron wrote:
Andy Del wrote:
The real question is why would someone decide to take up the piccolo for the reason of playing Brandenburg 2.


I agree 100%. I play piccolo all the time, I love doing it, and have never played the Brandenburg. I'm doing just fine, and so far nobody has questioned my rights to piccolo ownership or professional musicianship (to my face at least).

Here's the most important thing you need to know about the Brandenburg: it is not a trumpet concerto! It is a chamber concerto that includes trumpet. If you play it, you need to play it as part of a chamber ensemble or chamber orchestra. The trumpet is just one instrument in the ensemble, and it's supposed to blend more or less equally with the others. That's why in (more recent) videos, the trumpeter is often pointing away from the audience, so they balance with the other instruments.

In my opinion, this makes the Brandenburg kind of a silly piece. You have a solo violin, oboe and recorder lightly prancing away, while a few feet away some poor trumpeter takes a crack at one of the hardest pieces ever written for their instrument. Even if the trumpeter nails it, it's never an equal partnership, because the act of nailing the piece is so incredible that it distorts the piece. Listening to this piece performed well, the trumpet player portion of my brain is always amazed, while my inner musician rolls his eyes a little.


I have often wondered if the trumpet (or more exactly, clarino) in Bach's day had a lighter sound. I think he would be surprised as to how much more powerful every instrument has become since his lifetime.

Has anybody heard a version where the clarino part is played on a cornettino?
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aaron wrote:
In my opinion, this makes the Brandenburg kind of a silly piece. You have a solo violin, oboe and recorder lightly prancing away, while a few feet away some poor trumpeter takes a crack at one of the hardest pieces ever written for their instrument. Even if the trumpeter nails it, it's never an equal partnership, because the act of nailing the piece is so incredible that it distorts the piece. Listening to this piece performed well, the trumpet player portion of my brain is always amazed, while my inner musician rolls his eyes a little.

Love this observation.
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spitvalve
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:43 am    Post subject: Re: The Trumpet Sound In Bach's Day Reply with quote

Didymus wrote:


I have often wondered if the trumpet (or more exactly, clarino) in Bach's day had a lighter sound. I think he would be surprised as to how much more powerful every instrument has become since his lifetime.

Has anybody heard a version where the clarino part is played on a cornettino?


I've often wondered if J.S. Bach just didn't like trumpet players.
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Didymus
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:35 pm    Post subject: Re: The Trumpet Sound In Bach's Day Reply with quote

spitvalve wrote:
I've often wondered if J.S. Bach just didn't like trumpet players.


Or maybe he had so much esteem for trumpet players in his day that he overestimated their ability on more than one occasion?
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