Baroque Solo and Homogeneous Ensemble Trombone Repertoire: A Lecture-Recital Supporting and Demonstrating Performance at a Pitch Standard Derived from Primary Sources and Extant Instruments

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

Abstract: The dissertation project included four recitals containing representative works for solo trombone with piano and one lecture-recital. The purpose of the lecture-recital was to present works composed before 1750 for solo trombone and homogeneous trombone ensemble. The performance editions were developed from the most authoritative available sources of works written by composers for the pitch standard of their time and geographical location. The performance editions were recreated in current nominal pitch from facsimiles of original editions or manuscripts. Information from contemporary primary theoretical music treatises and the study of extant Baroque instruments is reflected in the performance editions. The performance of one solo work and seven ensemble works was preceded by a lecture that detailed the evidence from which the premise and approach to the performance editions developed according to the selected pitch standard. All identified Baroque trombone compositions for solo and homogeneous ensemble were written in tonal centers that result in minimal use of the first position of current instruments. Repertoire from the seventeenth century for other instruments is idiomatic to their sounding length. The study addresses the comparatively uncharacteristic writing for the trombone. Publishers, sheet music distributers, library holdings, audio recordings, and subject matter experts were consulted to identify extant compositions that met the criteria. The earliest source for each work was compared to available twentieth-century editions. None were determined to contain key differences between the original and subsequent editions. Facsimiles and English translations of theoretical music treatises that addressed the characteristics of trombones during the Baroque period revealed that the instruments were nominally pitched one semitone below the current (i.e. post-1939) standard. Also, the sounding pitch of extant Baroque trombones, cornetts [Zinken], and organs was examined in multiple documents. A consensus revealed the fact that the sounding pitch of twenty-first-century trombones is at the same level of their Baroque counterparts. The determination, therefore, was that only the nominal pitch has changed. The performance editions for solo trombone and homogeneous trombone ensemble were edited into current standard notation and reflect the original Baroque sounding pitch standard. Scholarly editions of all works that met the criteria of the study were prepared for publication.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Baroque, Cornett, Historical, Performance, Pitch, Trombone
Trombone music.
Musical pitch.
Music theory $x History $y 18th century.

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