Sop Solos


New Member
Hi, I was a trombone player many years ago but haven't played at all for 25+ Years. My local band are trying to get going again but need players.

They don't need any in the tenor section where I might have fitted in so I thought I might jump in with both feet. They asked if I would mind playing cornet? Once a bandsman always a bandsman!! "Yes I'll give it a go". "OK, we have a Sop spare!!!!!" YACH!! How big does a mouth have to be before one can't play anything!!
The playing is coming! but the pitching isn't. Can anyone recommend some slow Eb solos that I could get copies of to practice. I can't busk so need dots to read. I thought if I could get an idea of the melody it would help my pitching, that's the idea anyway.

Any recommendations?

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
Get hold of a Salvation Army tune book; lots of lovely melodies. You can just play from the Bb copy for practice purposes.


New Member
I currently play both Trombone and Sop, so... join the club!

Advice above all good. Also, when you begin to "get there", Pie Jesu by Andrew Lloyd Webber is a good, easyish duet with Flugel that should help you sounding in 3rds off each other so you could judge your tunefulness that way.

I should also suggest a temporary cheat, & get hold of a shallow mouthpiece to "learn" the higher notes with, but shift back to your proper cup shape to bed the new notes down and sound tuneful (shallow mouthpieces tend to sound harsh).

Using this technique I have added at least 5 semitones of upper register over the last 12 months playing into a Denis wick S (but using the Vincent Bach 5SV for target practice).

Keep practicing! Your band is lucky to have you...

Past it

New Member
You could also use a solo cornet copy of the wright and round red hymn tunes book, great practise for developing your sound and pitching.


Geography of the Sop

I can't busk so need dots to read. I thought if I could get an idea of the melody it would help my pitching, that's the idea anyway.

You would be able to busk if you practised! I well know that sense of foreignness you feel when you move from a Bb to an Eb instrument, and you play an open note that would be a C on the Bb instrument, but is a G on the Eb instrument. None of the notes are where you expect them to be!

As far as I'm concerned, the very best way to improve your sense of geography of the instrument is to ditch the dots and play melodic fragments by ear in every possible key with a metronome. You could start with five notes scale patterns, major, minor, diminished, up and down, arpeggios, broken chords (major 7, dom 7, minor 7, half-diminished and diminished, etc.) and hymn tunes, nursery rhymes, whatever.

Without dots you can close your eyes and concentrate entirely on the notes you're playing; the actual pitch, the physical sensation of effort to produce that note, and most importantly, how you got there from the previous note you played. Playing off dots you're using a skill you already have, and not particularly exercising the skill you want to improve.

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