Alto Trombone - what music

timbloke

Member
Today is my birthday. Joyous times! And as a gift I have been given an Alto Trombone. Mainly because I am playing Schumann 3 (Rhenish) in a couple of weeks, but also because I fancied something a bit different.

Anyway, I've been thinking - could I use it in a band concert? Or should I say, how could I use it in a band concert. Which solos would work well?

So any suggestions, please let me have them. For those unfamiliar with Alto Trombones, they are in Eb at the same pitch as a Tenor Horn, so Tenore horn solos would be ideal, provided they are not too fiddly. Alternatively a trombone solo or Bb instrument solo which is written for the top end of the instrument - Had a blow through Wind Beneath My Wings (Tromb solo - Darrol Barry version) and it is sooo much easier (when played at the same pitch)!!

Alternatively any of you budding composers fancy writing a peice for Alto and band or even for Alto, Tenor and band with a clever swap in the middle!
 

Bass Trumpet

Active Member
Know Schumann 3 very well. Just played it on tour with the BBCNOW. Hope your new one has got plenty of top-Ebs on it!

There are plenty of pieces out there for the Alto, but they are mainly trombone and orchestra, with transcriptions for trombone and piano. Main ones being the Wagensiel, Albrechtsberger and Leopold Mozart concertos. As far as Alto and band are concerned, you have possibly hit uncharted terretory! Perhaps you could try your hand at a bit of arranging? The 3rd Movt of the Albrechtsberger, for example, would transcribe very well for trombone and band.

Of course, you are quite justified in thinking of the Alto trombone as a sort-of 'slide tenor horn', but I suggest that you try and approach the instrument from an Alto clef standpoint, otherwise you may get very confused when a conductor says 'play an Eb'. Perhaps Altos should keep to their home turf in the same way tenor horns do!

Here are a few alternative names for the Alto I've heard over the years:
Catastrophone
Disastrophone
Ornamental Spitoon
and of course,
A Fiver Trombone (as opposed to a 'Tenner' trombone)

Best of luck with the Schumann. The problem I find is not playing the notes, but waiting around for 3 movements, then playing very high, pianissimo and on cold instrument/chops. Saying that though, it's a wonderful piece of music and in my opinion should really be held in higher regard than it is.
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
I'm pretty sure I've got a recording somewhere of a classical piece for alto trom, arranged for band by Barrie Gott - I'll try and track it down.
 

Bass Trumpet

Active Member
kiwiposaune said:
The main problem with the Rhenish isn't the Eb's, it's hoping the horn player can play in tune with you.

Ha ha! Or is that, if you can play in tune with the horn? ;) I can see that one causing a few fights!

Funnily enough, I'm just about to scrape the rust off my alto and scratch my way through some Mozart. Oh dear, hope the neighbours don't mind.
 

brassneck

Active Member
Bass Trumpet said:
... Funnily enough, I'm just about to scrape the rust off my alto and scratch my way through some Mozart. Oh dear, hope the neighbours don't mind.

- Christian Lindberg, interviewed on Radio Scotland just after his Proms concert, said that people actually believed there was an instrument called a hornbone during Mozart's lifetime! They didn't seem to recognise the horn concertos ... :p
 

timbloke

Member
Bass Trumpet said:
Know Schumann 3 very well. Just played it on tour with the BBCNOW. Hope your new one has got plenty of top-Ebs on it!

Best of luck with the Schumann. The problem I find is not playing the notes, but waiting around for 3 movements, then playing very high, pianissimo and on cold instrument/chops. Saying that though, it's a wonderful piece of music and in my opinion should really be held in higher regard than it is.

Thanks for the support! I survived it and the top Ebs were spot on despite the 3 movements of sitting round trying not to forget how to read Alto Clef and convert that into the Eb slide positions! :eek:

Just hope I can have a chance to blow it again soon.
 
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