Contrabass Trombone

Contrabass Trombone

F Contrabass Trombone Range B-flat Contrabass Trombone Range

Oh mightiest of brass instruments, thy sonorous depths are a thing of awe.  It was once said of the Bassoon that it was as if the sea god Poseidon was speaking, but with the Contrabass Trombone, we have the voice of Yahweh himself.  The ancient God of the Hebrews speaks though this rare and powerful instrument.  I have not been religious in many a year, but I will gladly bow down in reverence before anyone who can wield this bull of heaven. Have I gone over the top?  Probably.  But to the point, there is no other sound in the entire band, orchestra, or any other ensemble, save the ancient Tibetan Dung-Chen, that can parallel the sheer power and might of the Contrabass Trombone.  It’s utter size and length renders it ungainly for most.  For years, it was said to be nigh unplayable, but my experience has shown otherwise.   Continue reading “Contrabass Trombone”

Bass Trombone

Bass Trombone Bass Trombone Range

The Bass Trombone is unusual among all wind instruments in that the modern instrument bears no relation to its predecessor.  The modern Bass Trombone is, in reality, a modified Tenor Trombone.  The Tenor Trombone is pitched in B-flat – and so is the Bass. Confused yet? The original Bass Trombone was a large, ungainly instrument pitched in either G, F, or E-flat a third, fourth, or fifth below the standard Tenor Trombone.  The instrument was so large that the slide had to have a handle attached to it in order for the player to reach all the way out to sixth and seventh positions.  Players found this instrument tiring, and by the end of the Nineteenth Century, it had almost completely disappeared.  In its place was a Tenor Trombone with a single valve attached to it.  This valve lowered the fundamental pitch of the instrument, B-flat a fourth to F.  In conjunction with the valve, the bore of the instrument was enlarged to be of the same proportion as that of the old Bass Trombone.  The effect was a small instrument with a large bore that made the same sound as the older, larger instrument.  However, there was a problem with this arrangement.  Continue reading “Bass Trombone”