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Historical instruments: "Trompettes à 6 pistons"



 
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Ludger.S
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Joined: 09 Nov 2020
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2024 3:16 am    Post subject: Historical instruments: "Trompettes à 6 pistons" Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I will soon be playing Saint-Saëns' "La Déluge" in a historical performance practice setting. The original edition parts on IMSLP ask for a "Trompettes à 6 pistons". Anybody got an idea what could be meant by a 6-valve trumpet in the 1870s?

My understanding is that by that time the age of experimentation was over and our modern three valve design already well established. It is also completely possible that Saint-Saëns simply did not know what he was asking for.

In the end I will mainly have to decide between playing it on a low-F or a Bb instrument. But it would be lovely to know what they were actually working with.

Grateful for any small bit of information!
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2024 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ask Jake, he is probably able to help you:

https://www.berlinertuba.com/

(Say hello from Andreas and tell him I still have his 1950s Blessing trumpet case )
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2024 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Possibly referring to a double-piston valve configuration (though that was mostly 1840s-50s)?

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Gabrieli
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2024 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I noticed on IMSLP that there are also parts for two 6-valved trombones apart from the 3 "normal" -presumably slide - trombones.
The 6 valve trombone was quite common in Belgian military bands into the 20th century.
The 6 valves are, I think, 1/2 tone, 1 tone, 1 1/2 tones, 2 tones, 2 1/2 tones and 3 whole tones as in the seven slide positions. I would guess that the six valve trumpets were the same system but I have never seen one.

Just use your 3 valve f trumpet and play well in tune

Looking at the whole score, I wonder if the f trumpets à 6 pistons are meant to sound a fifth lower than written, unlike the other 2 "normal" f trumpets.

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Ludger.S
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2024 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Brassnose: Thanks for the tip Andreas! I need to visit Jake anyway and ask him to restore my old Besson Meha.

@OldSchoolEuph: That's an interesting looking instrument. In terms of valve technology, it should be the trumpet equivalent of a Vienna Horn, right? I always wonder if trumpets with such a wide bell were meant for the orchestra or some kind of wind band.

@Gabrieli: Sounds like a very convincing theory to me. I found this cool video on a 6-valve trombone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6mDDYnXASs.
I also wondered about the correct octave for those 6-valve trumpets. For that period, it seems very unusual to go that high. The recording I found interprets it the common way (up a fourth), but I am not 100% convinced by the result.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2024 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ludger.S wrote:

@OldSchoolEuph: That's an interesting looking instrument. In terms of valve technology, it should be the trumpet equivalent of a Vienna Horn, right? I always wonder if trumpets with such a wide bell were meant for the orchestra or some kind of wind band.

The picture is from Robb Stewart's site. I think your analogy is probably appropriate. I am reasonably certain that was meant for orchestral use, similar to a low F trumpet of the later period.
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2017 Austin Winds Stage 466
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