Orchestral Transpositions & Trombones

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Owen, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. Owen

    Owen Member

    Is it inevitable that when an orchestral piece is transcribed for band that the trombones end up with what could best be described as "running semibreves"? In making this generalisation, I appreciate that this is not always the case but my observation of two recent transcriptions used as test pieces is that there have been a lot of very under-utilised trombone players. I realise of course that in making a transcription, the arranger is trying to get contrasting tone colours out of the band in an attempt to show the differences which an orchestra can very readily portray. Surely, however, the trombones could do more than simply fulfill the same parts as they would play if they were sat in an orchestra? Certainly many of the trombone players I have met are capable of playing in a very broad range of styles.

    Of course for some Masquerade is looming on the horizon, which should keep them out of mischief, but the technical skill that piece requires only goes to illustrate the point even further! Perhaps one of the composers / arrangers that visit would be able to explain why the trombones seem to miss out in a transcription?
  2. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    In the arrangements you are talking about, they sometimes get the french horn's semibreves to play too ;)
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... and usually the trumpets to keep them company! ;)
  4. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Sit back, relax and watch the rest of them sweating - just like in a real orchestra.

    Is there a transcription of Schos 5? I'm sure the trombone parts couldn't be boring in that.
  5. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    This betrays an error in assumptions - Trombones are rarely asked to play great wodges of held notes in the orchestra. Great wodges of rests, punctuated by blink-and-you'll-miss-them shock notes, occur fairly regularly, yes, but often there are dynamic and exciting parts to play which are far more exposed than one's parts ever are in a brass band - the more varied tone colours don't swamp you in the way that the restricted set we have does in a band.

    If you are thinking of 'Rienzi', then I suspect this is rather atypical. Although I haven't played the original of this, I have performed a number of Wagner's pieces in the original (Die Walküre, Siegfried, Götterdämmerung, Mastersingers spring to mind), and he is rather fonder than is normal of long held notes in the brass, although these are never musical 'filling', but rather intended as part of the musical whole.
  6. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Die Miestersingers has quite a good trombone part (well 1st and Bass anyhoo), it's very sustained but the trombone solos are quality.
  7. kiwiposaune

    kiwiposaune New Member

    Boring though many band trombone parts are (especially in the classical transcriptions you describe) I've not yet had to sit for 20-30 minutes doing nothing and then play the treble clef equivalent of a high D - like I have to do shortly in my day (Beethoven 5) - or sit for an even longer period and almost immediately have to play the equivalent of a high F (Symphonie Fantastique). Purely from a playing perspective (I'm not sure about the musical perspective) I'll take the boring band version any day.
  8. I think every part gets its fair share of "boring bits". However, if you are talking specifically about classical transcriptions, then take a look at "Danse Macabre" and "In the Steppes of Central Asia" on our site. I'm sure theres something in each for each trombone player to tackle! :biggrin:

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