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#141 gsmonks

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 03:38 PM

They do? Well, it might just be that euphoniums are more popular than baritones right now.

There are problems associated with info on the baritone, and many people are confused as to what a real baritone is.

This problem is compounded by the fact that in some places the euphonium is referred as a "baritone horn", which is in fact a proper name for a euphonium.

There are three types of baritones: the original small-bore Bb tenor Saxhorn, the original large-bore Bb baritone Saxhorn, and a subtype of this instrument in the US that varies from being close to a euphonium to being close to the large-bore horn I just referred to.

Today, the small-bore Sax instrument is called a baritone, and this is the horn that is used in British brass bands. It is a small horn, around the same size as the shorter Eb tenor horn (called an Eb "alto" horn in the US):

http://www.courtois-...nneaubrass.html

The large-bore horn is called a baritone in both the US and Canada, and is just called a Saxhorn by Courtois, who make a 4-valve and 5-valve version of this instrument:

http://www.courtois-...aubrasssax.html

This is a pro version of the 3-valve horns school kids use.

The euphonium is actually a Bb tenor tuba. I'm going to post a link to euphoniums and tubas, so that you can see how the bells and bore-profiles are identical:

http://www.courtois-...brasseupho.html

Anyway, for the US market, it could be that they just want to keep things simple. Unfortunately, few people who play brass actually know anything about what it is they're playing. For example, you're not often going to run into a trumpet player who knows the difference between the modern "American cornet" and a real trumpet. The modern "trumpet" is often referred to as the "American cornet" because it is a US cornet-hybrid instrument that was invented by persons unknown in the US in the 1880's.

My money is on Conn for the present. They invented the pocket trumpet, and were forever coming out with cool new and unique inventions.

Edited by gsmonks, 11 November 2005 - 03:41 PM.

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#142 Delvo

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 06:50 PM

gsmonks, on Nov 11 2005, 03:38 PM, said:

There are problems associated with info on the baritone, and many people are confused as to what a real baritone is.

This problem is compounded by the fact that in some places the euphonium is referred as a "baritone horn", which is in fact a proper name for a euphonium.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I thought it might be something like that. They're just not different enough for people to think of them as two separate instruments in most cases, and the baritone horn's intermediate tube profile puts it in a middle position between trombone and euphonium, where it's easy to get squeezed out by the extremes.

#143 gsmonks

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 12:03 AM

Delvo, on Nov 11 2005, 05:50 PM, said:

gsmonks, on Nov 11 2005, 03:38 PM, said:

There are problems associated with info on the baritone, and many people are confused as to what a real baritone is.

This problem is compounded by the fact that in some places the euphonium is referred as a "baritone horn", which is in fact a proper name for a euphonium.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I thought it might be something like that. They're just not different enough for people to think of them as two separate instruments in most cases, and the baritone horn's intermediate tube profile puts it in a middle position between trombone and euphonium, where it's easy to get squeezed out by the extremes.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well, the baritone thing is even more confusing than that. There are horns that look like baritones that ain't, and there are endless versions so muddled that it's virtually impossible so say firmly that they fall into any accepted category.

For example, you've got the trombonium, the Cerveny baritone (the one with the bent bell like a Wagner tuba), and cheap knock-off band instruments that were made by guys who sort of knew what they were doing but didn't quite.

Ever wonder why the sousaphone was invented? Here's why.

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  • sousadog.jpg

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#144 gsmonks

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 01:47 PM

Here's a pretty instrument called the Ballad horn. It was an 1868 (patent date) knockoff, made by Henry Distin/Boosey & Co. of an earlier instrument called the Koenig horn, which was designed by Herman Koeneg in 1855 (patent date) and built for him by Antoine Courtois in Paris. You'll notice that where the mouthpiece goes in, there's a pigtail crook sticking out. This isn't the original pigtail crook, but one that had to be made because the original was missing.

This horn plays in C, and the crook lowers the pitch to Bb. It plays in the same range as the tenor trombone, baritone, euphonium and Bb tenor horn. It is a member of the flugle (wing, flank) family of instruments. Considering its age (it was made in 1874), the valves are in very good shape, and still have good compression.

Attached Images

  • 1874BooseyBassBallad01.jpg

Edited by gsmonks, 12 November 2005 - 01:52 PM.

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#145 Delvo

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 07:42 PM

gsmonks, on Nov 12 2005, 12:03 AM, said:

Ever wonder why the sousaphone was invented? Here's why.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I've used several mutes before, but never one quite like that. :D

gsmonks, on Nov 12 2005, 01:47 PM, said:

Here's a pretty instrument called the Ballad horn... where the mouthpiece goes in, there's a pigtail crook sticking out...

This horn plays in C, and the crook lowers the pitch to Bb.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Weird... it looks only half as long as it would need to be for that! Anyway, are you saying that a player would use that part for some works in some key signatures, and remove that part and put the mouthpiece in directly for other key signatures? Finally, a situation where writing music in a transposed form would actually make sense! That sounds like a handy little feature for pieces in doofy key signatures... but straight down is a very strange direction to point the bell...

#146 gsmonks

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 01:57 PM

Delvo, on Nov 12 2005, 06:42 PM, said:

gsmonks, on Nov 12 2005, 12:03 AM, said:

Ever wonder why the sousaphone was invented? Here's why.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I've used several mutes before, but never one quite like that. :D

gsmonks, on Nov 12 2005, 01:47 PM, said:

Here's a pretty instrument called the Ballad horn... where the mouthpiece goes in, there's a pigtail crook sticking out...

This horn plays in C, and the crook lowers the pitch to Bb.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Weird... it looks only half as long as it would need to be for that! Anyway, are you saying that a player would use that part for some works in some key signatures, and remove that part and put the mouthpiece in directly for other key signatures? Finally, a situation where writing music in a transposed form would actually make sense! That sounds like a handy little feature for pieces in doofy key signatures... but straight down is a very strange direction to point the bell...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Lots of horns have bells that point down. It's generally done because certain types of horns sound better if the sound is indirect, which means aiming the sound up, down, and in some case backwards. Some bell-down horns are: "French" horns, Koenig horns, Ballad horns, Mellophones, furst pless (post) horns, cornos da caccia (horns of hunting, or hunting horns), natural horns, invention horns, tenor cors, concert horns, althorns.

This horn is called a Ballad horn because you can read off sheet music in C. You can also stick the pigtail crook into the mouthpiece receiver, which lowers the pitch to Bb, for playing trombone, baritone, euphonium, tenor sax or bass clarinet parts.

You can't tell from the photo, but it's a pretty big sucker. And it is HEAVY!

The old horns used to come with a case full of crooks and extra valve slides for playing in various keys. Some had the extra keys built right into the horn, which were accessed by turning a rotary key. Here are some examples of both:

(the William Frank- Exelsior plays in F and C, and the 5-valve York and Sons plays in F, Eb, D and C)

Attached Images

  • WilliamFrankExelsiorMel1930_2.jpg
  • 1913_5valveY_S1.jpg
  • 1913_5valveY_S4.jpg

Edited by gsmonks, 13 November 2005 - 02:00 PM.

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#147 gsmonks

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 12:28 AM

The Antoniophone- Musical instrument, practical joke, or an instrument taken from the page of Dr Seuss?

The Antoniophone was made by Antoine Courtois between 1863 and 1896, and was one of the instruments responsible for the notion of wonderful confabulations, so where cartoonists like Dr Seuss are concerned, it was a case of art imitating life.

I have, as yet, been unable to discover who Antonio was, as there were no famous musicians of that name in Courtois' known circle of friends and acquaintences of that time period (Courtois routinely named the various models of his instruments, and in some instances the instruments themselves, after famous musicians of the day), but I suspect that the name is derived from Courtois' own first name.

These horns were made by Coutrois for J. Howard Foote, who actually owned the trademark, and it is presently unknown who was responsible for the design.

Antoniophones were quite a popular Victorian brasswind, and no doubt it is precisely this association cartoonists of the day made much of.

Antoniophones came in two registers that I am aware of- F tenor and Bb/F bass. Like the Koenig horn of 1855, they were a flugle (wing, flank) instrument, played with a deep V-cup mouthpiece, and shared a related bore-profile.

Attached Images

  • Antoine_Courtois_Antoniophone1875.jpg
  • Bass_Antoniophone_1.jpg

Edited by gsmonks, 16 November 2005 - 12:29 AM.

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#148 gsmonks

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 12:35 AM

BTW- you guitar and bass players out there- what's your favourite axe, and why?

Lot's of players hate 'em, but I like my old hollow-body single "f" hole Fender Telecaster. I also like my Fender Jazz bass and my old Music Man amps.

But maybe you prefer Gibson, or B.C. Rich, or Ibenez.

Why not post of photo and tell us about it, whatever it is you play.

If you play, even a bit, why not post a sound byte or two? Let us here what you're up to.

Edited by gsmonks, 16 November 2005 - 12:37 AM.

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#149 gsmonks

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 06:01 AM

Another brass instrument from the Victorian era was the altophone, invented by Henry Distin, son of John Distin who was a keyed bugle player in the band that accompanied Wellington to the Battle of Waterloo. John Distin and his four sons played and promoted instruments made by their long-time family friend, Antoine (Adolph or Adolphe) Sax, the person for who the saxophone is named. Sax didn't actually invent the saxophone (a fellow at an 1840's Paris exhibition who had invented an identical instrument got into a shouting match with Sax, and kicked Sax's original instrument across the floor), but his version of this former brasswind (it was previously known as the ophicleide a clefs et a bec) was by far the best, and it was the popularity of his version of these instruments that led to their being called saxophones.

The best-known of the altophones was the bell-down version that looked like a backwards "French" horn. These bell-up horns are less well-known.

Attached Images

  • 1919AltophoneStockhamCircular.jpg

Edited by gsmonks, 23 November 2005 - 06:18 AM.

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#150 gsmonks

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 06:13 AM

Here is a Novax 8-string guitar, of the type used by Charlie Hunter. One day, when I'm rich, I want one of these!

http://www.charliehu...ar/current.html

I own an 8-string bass, but 8- and 12-string basses are a different animal altogether. Both are essentially 4-string basses with multliple strings on each note- same idea as a 12-string guitar. Where the 8-string guitar differs is that they have eight independent strings.

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#151 gsmonks

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 07:00 AM

Here's some more free band music:

http://www.brasscast.com/main.htm
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#152 gsmonks

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 03:11 AM

Here are Dancing Bush (be sure to click the buttons on the right to turn on the music, etc., but DO NOT CLICK THE PINK BUTTON LABELLED "MORE", or you will have to exit the site and re-enter it):

http://www.miniclip....dancingbush.htm

And Bush Girl (be sure to click "play"):

http://www.superlaug.../1/bushgirl.htm

Both of which are set to music.

Yee-haw.

Edited by gsmonks, 04 December 2005 - 07:28 PM.

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#153 gsmonks

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 07:34 PM

Okay, equal-billing time. Here's John Kerry as a scary woman:

http://www.superlaug...erryaswoman.htm
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#154 Delvo

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 09:41 PM

gsmonks, on Nov 11 2005, 03:38 PM, said:

Well, it might just be that euphoniums are more popular than baritones right now.

There are problems associated with info on the baritone, and many people are confused as to what a real baritone is.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Delvo, on Nov 11 2005, 06:50 PM, said:

I thought it might be something like that. They're just not different enough for people to think of them as two separate instruments in most cases, and the baritone horn's intermediate tube profile puts it in a middle position between trombone and euphonium, where it's easy to get squeezed out by the extremes.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

New oddness from the world of the coolest music instruments there are (which is, of course, the T-bone/euphonium family)...

My nearest city's symphony orchestra's low brass section consists of 3 trombones and a tuba... and I was recently at a concert of the area's "Youth Symphony Orchestra" which is composed of high school players from various schools in the area, and found that its low brass section was a tuba and TWO trombones... that's it! No more! OK, maybe the orchestras are smaller than I thought and any more than that would overwhelm it. The trumpet and French horn sections aren't especially large either, compared to groups I've played in, but they don't seem THAT dinky. But both groups must have CHOSEN to exclude euphonia and baritone horns and keep the numbers of other low brass down so low, deciding that that's a GOOD thing. You can't tell me that there aren't more kids playing those in the area's various high schools COMBINED when even ONE high school's low brass section usually beats that, nor can you tell me that an orchestra that recently took 40 auditions for one kettle-drum opening tried but couldn't scrounge up a single solitary euphonium player or more than 3 T-bone players or more than 1 tuba player.

But stranger yet than the small total size of the sections overall is the lack of any baritones or euphoniua. And the difference is audible; it makes the group sound more piercing and split-off, less warm and full. In my high school and college music life, I never played in a band or orchestra that lacked these instruments even though my high school band was embarassingly small, and I distinctly remember that there was always another part written for one or both of them, separate from the parts written for the rest of the group... sometimes fairly prominent ones in places, too, which makes me wonder what a group without them would do with that part.

And this reminds me of something else I noticed about how trombone playing seems to be taught, as exemplified by a solo one of my city's orchestra's trombone players did in one piece at a recent concert. The emphasis, at least in most non-jazz solos and audition work and what young students are taught by their teachers and tutors, is on trying to open up as much as possible and make the horn produce the softest, mellowest sound it can. Does nobody else but me notice that that means you're trying to make it sound more like a euphonium? And if that's the sound you want, then just use the horn that's best for it! That trombone solo I mentioned above, at a concert not long ago (the melody in an instrumentalized "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"), would have been much better on a euphonium; as it was, I could hear the struggle against the instrument's true nature as the guy tried to make it sound like something else.

So the trend seems the opposite of what it is in the high brass: emphasizing the ones with the skinny, cylindrical pipes for all purposes and diminishing the role of broader, more conical horns.

Edited by Delvo, 12 December 2005 - 09:36 PM.


#155 gsmonks

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 12:11 AM

The instruments you mention are not what are called "symphonic brass".

The term "symphonic brass" refers to those brasswinds that are a staple of the symphony orchestra. From the top down they are trumpets, "French" Horns, trombones, tubas.

Concert bands and brass bands use other combinations of brasswinds.

Concert bands are made up of a mixture of woodwinds and brasswinds. The woodwinds are, from the top down: piccolos, flutes, oboes, Bb alto clarinets, Eb alto saxophones and Eb tenor clarinets, Bb tenor saxophones and Bb bass clarinets, Eb baritone saxophones and C bassoons. The brasswinds are, from the top down: trumpets (some players may occasionally be cornettists), F "French" Horns, F mellophones, Bb tenor trombones, Bb large-bore baritones, Bb euphoniums (also known as the tenor tuba), Eb tubas and maybe Eb sousaphones, and lastly, Bb tubas, and/or Bb sousaphones.

The makeup of the brass band depends on the tradition.

The British brass band typically consists of 24 members. They are, from the top down: 1 Eb soprano cornet, 1 Bb alto fluglehorn, 3 1st cornets, 3 2nd cornets, 3 3rd cornets, 3 Eb tenor horns (called "alto" horns in the US), 2 small-bore baritones, 1 euphonium, 3 trombones, 2 Eb basses, 2 Bb basses. These bands may or may not have percussion.

The Salvation Army brass bands vary in number. The Salvation Army plays from parts books, and the bands may be of any size. The only consideration is making the sections proportional in order to balance the sound. The instruments used are: Bb cornets, Eb tenor (alto) horns, Bb large- and/or small-bore baritones, Bb euphoniums, Bb and/or Bb/F trombones, Eb basses and Bb basses.

The US brass band tradition varies, in some cases allowing the use of woodwinds, and in some cases using such instruments as sousaphones.

Band instruments do not appear in symphony orchestras as a general rule, although composers such as Holst, Hindemith and Ravel occasionally made use of non-symphonic instruments.

In the early days of the modern symphony orchestra (circa 1830), there was a lot of overlap. Natural brass was still around (instruments with no valves or keys), keyed brass was still around (the keyed trumpet and the ophicleide). The alto trombone was widely used because the early trumpets lacked facility.

The Wagner tuba is kept around in the classical world as an extra instrument. The Wagner tuba is actually not a tuba. It comes in two keys- F and Bb- it is played using a "French" horn mouthpiece, and it is played by the "French" horn players. In large orchestras having up to 8 "French" Horn players, 4 of these players will play Wagner tubas in a section, 2 in F and 2 in Bb.

What is the Wagner tuba, really?

The Wagner tuba is actually a "French" Horn, rewound with the bell pointing up. To listen to Wagner tubas at low volume, they sound identical to "French" horns. It is at high volume the difference lies. The "French" Horn is a fairly quiet instrument, which is why as many as 12 are used in very large orchestras. A section of 4 Wagner tubas, however, can literally blow the doors out of a concert hall.

So now you know what instruments to expect to see, the next time you see any of these organisations perform.
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#156 Delvo

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 01:25 PM

I'd often wondered why some orchestras call themselves a "symphony/symphonic" orchestra or band while others call themselves "concert" or "philharmonic" orchestras & bands...

#157 gsmonks

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 02:04 PM

The term "philharmonic" just means an orchestral group.

The term "symphony orchestra" is misused today. It literally means an orchestra whose purpose is to play symphonies, which are extensions of sonata-rondo form.

"Concert", as in "concert band", originally referred to a band that played outdoor concerts. Today's concert bands are a mixture of woodwinds and brass.

"Orchestra" refers to a group of musicians that includes string players.

On the old Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was the host, the band was called the Tonight Show Orchestra. They used the term incorrectly. That's like calling a string orchestra a "band".

A band is a group of musicians that does not include orchestral string players.

The term "philharmonic" is derived from the french term "philharmonique", which in turn is derived from the italian term "filarmonico", meaning literally "loving harmony".

The term "philharmonic orchestra" is just an annoying affectation.

Classical musicians and their hangers-on can be really pretentious, annoying people, and they often say and make up ridiculous things, like "philharmonic orchestra". Don't be deceived by the fact that a person is performing classical music. Classical musicians are more like athletes than intellectuals. The performance end of the business is really just highly developed motor skills. You'd be amazed to learn just how much classical musicians don't know.

For example: as a brasswind historian, it never ceases to amaze me that players today who call themselves "trumpet players" don't realise that the instrument they're playing is actually a long-model cornet, not a trumpet. Few "trumpet players" know anything about the instrument, and most who presume they know it all have heads full of popular myths and baloney that has been passed down, some of it for well over 200 years.

Over Christmas my piano-accompanying skills were dragged kicking and screaming out of mothballs in order that I work with a very accomplished operatic soprano. When we began working on some Schubert lieder, I was forced to stop in order to tell her to mind her attention to the textual declamation. My mention of this song-interperetation staple drew a blank stare. She had no idea what I was talking about. She had a great set of pipes and knew how to use them, but her education, it turned out, was sorely lacking.

Textual declamation is the manner in which the music and the words in classical song work together. Classical singers used to learn textual declamation as a matter of course. Today, there's this obsession with technique, to the exclusion of all else, incuding the fine points of the craft where the music itself is concerned.

Edited by gsmonks, 26 January 2006 - 02:09 PM.

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#158 Delvo

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 10:00 PM

I've done some poking around the internet lately for pictures of and info about (and possibly even sources to buy) various flutes that aren't the standard classical flute as used in modern Occidental bands and orchestras (mostly simpler "primative" models, made of wood instead of metal, without the buttons & hinges and specialized extra trill triggers and such).

When I'd seen a page of "recorder" fingerings as a kid, there had seemed to be no pattern, but I see a pattern now in some fingering lists I've found online for flutes. Basicly, keeping all of the holes covered gives the lowest note, and to go up in pitch from there, you uncover the holes in order from bottom to top (also sometimes leaving on uncovered just above the lowest covered one, for sharps and flats).

But this gives only a range of about as many notes as the number of holes, typically about one octave, whereas the range of a standard modern orchestra flute is several octaves even though they don't have dozens of holes and the people playing them don't have dozens of fingers.. So what makes the difference? I could think that one or more of the extra complications on a standard modern flute does it, but I don't see how that would physically be the case. I suspect the answer lies in other fingering combinations that don't fit this bottom-up pattern. (A 6-hole flute actually has 64 possible combinations, not just a dozen or less.) Is that it?

#159 gsmonks

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 11:31 AM

The shape of the tube plus the number of hole (possibilities) is what does it. Also- the placement of the holes is important, because in order to hit the higher harmonics, the holes have to be in places those harmonics occur.

What happens inside the flute is that each frequency is repeated several times inside the instrument. If the flute were made of glass, and you could actually see what was happening inside, you'd see that each frequences divides the air-column into mathematical divisions, referred to as "partials".

This is why you can pick strange fingerings on a woodwind that leave certain keys open. The open keys don't affect the sound (as in open before the bottom) because the nodes don't occur in those places.

Sound is funny that way. It isn't like water, pouring out of every hole. When it's trapped inside a musical instrument, its made to do several things that defy our perception of how things apparently should work. Actuality is often another thing altogether.

Here's an example: take a look at the 3rd valve of this horn. See how it's looped, not to itself, but back through the 1st valve. It's hard to get your head around how this can work, but it does.

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  • Boosey_Ballad_Horn.jpg

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#160 Delvo

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 12:09 PM

OK, but then, how do you know what other fingerings create what notes? How does a performer create those other notes outside of the simple-patterned one-octave range I've seen depicted?


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