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”
If we are to say just the word “trombone,” we automatically think of the ubiquitous Tenor Trombone. In many ways, the Tenor Trombone is the simplest of all wind instruments. A standard Tenor has only a slide to change the pitch. It is unchanged except for bore size since the days of the Renaissance. Like other common instruments, there is little about the Tenor that I can expound upon.
The standard Tenor Trombone is pitched in B-flat, but it is not a transposing instrument. The fundamental pitch of the slide when it is in its closed position is a 9 foot B-flat harmonic series. Continue reading “Tenor Trombone”