The return to the slide from the valve trombone by late nineteenth and early twentieth-century trombonists including Arthur Pryor (1870-1942)

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Micah Paul Everett (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Randy Kohlenberg

Abstract: " The invention of the valve radically changed the design, construction, and function of brass instruments. Following the introduction of the valve trombone during the 1820s, the slide was considered to be unwieldy and cumbersome, and therefore, inadequate for performing technically difficult music. Trombonists in America and Europe began to select the valve over the slide trombone as their instrument of preference. Even Arthur Pryor (1870-1942), who became famous throughout the world for his virtuosic slide trombone performances, began his career as a valve trombonist. The tone quality and intonation of the slide trombone were judged to be superior to those of the valve trombone, prompting trombonists in Germany and Austria to return to the slide after only a brief period of valve trombone playing. Elsewhere, trombonists believed that the technical difficulties associated with the slide negated the advantages of the slide trombone. The ease of technical execution on the valve trombone was viewed by these players as the primary consideration. Nevertheless, the slide trombone was reestablished as the instrument of preference in most of Europe and the United States between 1890 and 1925. While the deficient tone and intonation of the valve trombone were the primary considerations prompting trombonists to adopt the slide, other factors influenced this change, as well. Pryor's slide trombone playing was among these factors. Pryor cultivated a level of virtuosic technique previously thought impossible on the slide trombone, while exhibiting a gorgeous tone and sensitive interpretation. As soloist with the Sousa and Pryor bands, he demonstrated the technical and tonal capabilities of the slide trombone in performances throughout the United States and Europe. Pryor further promoted the slide trombone by recording and publishing his solo compositions. Given his unprecedented virtuosity and wide-ranging influence, the coincidence of Pryor's playing career and the return of many players to the slide trombone suggests that Pryor influenced this change. By eliminating trombonists' reservations regarding slide technique while demonstrating the superior sound of the slide trombone, Pryor contributed to the reestablishment of slide trombone hegemony in the United States and Europe."--Abstract from author supplied

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2005
invention of valve, slide, slide trombone, tone quality, trombonists, Arthur Pryor
Trombone--History--19th century
Trombone--History--20th century
Pryor, Arthur--1870-1942

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