Whole-Tube and Half-Tube Instruments and the Pedal Range

In his classic text, Orchestration, Cecil Forsyth talked about brass instruments being classified into two categories – whole-tube instruments and half-tube instruments.

Whole-Tube Instrument – a brass instrument capable of playing its fundamental pitch (the so-called pedal tone).

Half-Tube Instrument – a brass instrument that cannot play its fundamental pitch.

harmonic series

Forsyth was never clear as to which instruments fell exactly into what category.  In general, he stated that tubas were most definitely whole-tube instruments while trumpets and cornets cannot.  He neglects to mention trombones in either category, but includes passages that show pedal tones. Continue reading “Whole-Tube and Half-Tube Instruments and the Pedal Range”

An Interview with Hornist Brian Brown

This is the first in a series of interviews with performers on what they expect from good band writing.  First up is Brian Brown an active freelance horn player in the DFW area. He recently joined the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse horn quartet, and serves as Principal Horn of the East Texas Symphony, and performs regularly with the Fort Worth, Plano, and Waco symphonies, the Dallas Opera, and the Dallas Wind Symphony. Additionally, he has performed in many productions with Dallas Summer Musicals and Casa Manana Theatre, and in numerous recording sessions and chamber ensembles. In addition to maintaining a diverse performing career, he also publishes custom brass arrangements as co-owner of BrownWood Publishing. Brian studied with Dr. William Scharnberg at the University of North Texas.

 1.       What is your biggest pet peeve about Horn writing in band?
Continue reading “An Interview with Hornist Brian Brown”