sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

ttf_heinz gries
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sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

Post by ttf_heinz gries » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:48 am

does the sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle have a double cup?
The drawing on his website suggests that

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/ ... 34034f_0_7
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:09 am

No, it has (by modern standard) a shallow cup, a sharp entrance to the throat, and a very wide throat. That's all pretty common in baroque mouthpieces.

What gives you the impression that it has a double cup is the fact that there is a fairly pronounced venturi in the backbore.
Combined with the fact the throat is so wide, it does look like a bowl cup followed by a V cup.

The rounded rim is of course a modern feature, and I would think that backbore is too, to make the horn feel more familiar and stable despite the absence of a leadpipe. I'm not familiar with the original they based it on though, so I couldn't say for sure (there are very few surviving sackbut mouthpieces and their features vary quite a bit). Some surviving mouthpieces have actually the exact opposite of a venturi, having the bore expand after the throat and get smaller again. Mouthpieces or drawings of mouthpieces as late as the 19th century still have the sharp throat and don't have a venturi.
ttf_Stan
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sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

Post by ttf_Stan » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:43 am

I had one with my Egger.  The purists usually hate it.  I loved it.  Nice clear, warm, flexible Baroque sound.
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sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

Post by ttf_heinz gries » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:55 am

Quote from: Stan on Yesterday at 11:43 AMI had one with my Egger.  The purists usually hate it.  I loved it.  Nice clear, warm, flexible Baroque sound.

have it a normal tenor shank?
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sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:44 pm

Quote from: heinz gries on Yesterday at 11:55 AMhave it a normal tenor shank?

Sackbuts don't usually have a standard trombone shank, and the shank / mouthpiece receiver size varies from one maker to the next. When going cross-brands, matching a mouthpiece with a sackbut from a different maker, it is usually necessary to either accept an imperfect fit (in some cases they don't fit at all - Egger alto mouthpieces are much too small for a Meinl alto for example, and not the same taper), wrap thread or foil around the shank, or have the mouthpiece made with a custom shank to fit your instrument.

Quote from: Stan on Yesterday at 11:43 AMI had one with my Egger.  The purists usually hate it.  I loved it.  Nice clear, warm, flexible Baroque sound.

I haven't played that specific model so I wouldn't want to presume too much on how it plays and feels. But I will say this : I have yet to hear someone who plays on a modernized mouthpiece (rounded rim and/or throat) and manages to get the same kind of tone and nuances of articulations that one can get with a more historical mouthpiece. The only person I heard that came close was Daniel Lasalle, which is to be expected with his tremendous experience and knowledge of the style. But I have a CD of him that is a compilation of various recordings of solo/virtuosic he did throughout his career and he has a much more interesting sound and articulations on the tracks taken from the older discs when I he played a more historical set-up. I have on the other hand heard immediate, drastic improvements in sound, articulation and ease at achieving the right style when amateur players tried my or my colleagues' mouthpieces.

It's not a question of being a purist. It's a question of what sounds good. Flat rim, sharp throat mouthpieces just sound better in a sackbut and give you more flexibility for coloring the sound and varying the articulations. Sure it takes more getting used to and it makes it harder to switch between sackbut and modern trombones, but that's not necessarily a plus. The modern mouthpieces allow you (and encourage you) to play the instrument like it's a modern trombone to a point where it's hard to avoid it. I heard so many sackbut players and groups who sounded almost exactly the same as if they had had their modern trombone in their hands, oblivious to the world of possibilities they are missing on (and having their audience miss on too!).

And I do think we have an extra responsibility towards the audience when playing or claiming to play on period instruments. One of the reasons many of them come to early music concerts is to discover something new and learn about the music and the instruments. I think we are failing them when we deliberately make choices that we know have a significant impact on the sound towards a more modern one. Of course there are aspects of our instruments that are not historical. I have a tuning slide, a water key and chrome plated inners with stockings and drawn slide tubes. Some of those things do change the sound, however only very, very slightly, to the point where even I have a hard time telling my instrument from a more historical version of the same model in a blind test. Modern mouthpieces however massively change the sound.
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sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

Post by ttf_Stan » Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:34 am

@Heinz:  Yes, it had a modern small tenor-sized shank.


@Maximilien

I would have said exactly the same thing 10 years ago.  Without tipping my cards too much, I’ve got advanced degrees in musicology with a focus in early music from a major US program.  I probably know half of your teachers at the Schola.  I’ve read all the treatises and the books and the articles and commentary.  I’ve helped edit some of the major performer’s guides.  And your position is spoken from purist, orthodox, viewpoint.

Quote:  “The only person I heard come close was Daniel Lassalle, which is to be expected with his tremendous experience and knowledge of the style.”

There is a whole world to unpack in that statement, but I’d start by noting that we’re talking about Lassalle’s mouthpiece, and if it’s good enough for one of the finest Baroque trombonists that’s ever lived, then it’s good enough to consider.  You’re also making the point above that with experience and knowledge of style, a performer can make a piece of unorthodox equipment work, and in Lassalle’s case, work exceptionally well. 

When I bought the Lassalle, I was playing on a beautiful van der Heide that was perfect for Renaissance consort playing, but it simply dind’t the sound I was looking for for playing Baroque sonatas and divisions.  The Lassalle immediately gave me what I was looking for, and allowed me to better express the style even at the sake of “authenticity.”

It is a question of being a purist.  What sounds “good” is highly subjective, and what sounds good to you as a trained performer in these styles may sound no different than Tommy Dorsey to the untrained ears for whom we so often perform.  We don’t have an obligation to the audience to use equipment because it’s what’s in a photograph.  We have an obligation to Dufay and Josquin and Schutz and Monteverdi to breath life into their works.  But arguing that a hybridized mouthpiece like Lassalle’s massively changes the sound of your Coprario divisions while your tuning slide, spit key, chrome inners, and drawn tubes do not is simply an untenable position.  The Lassalle mouthpiece in THAT Egger sackbut sounds fantastic. 

Like I said, I used to be an orthodox performer too.  And then I finally realized that we have absolutely no idea what those instruments really sounded like.  You can’t compare a description by Mersenne or Praetorius to actually hearing it in the setting by people who grew up with the instrument.  You and I are completely incapable of imagining a sackbut sound without 500 years of the trombone’s development interfering.  We just can’t, and to think we can is hubris.  Furthermore, the continuous use of the trombone in those 500 years has shown that players will do what is necessary to get the sound they’re after.  We have no idea what players in the 16th and 17th centuries did to their mouthpieces.  We have no idea how they even really conceptualized a mouthpiece.  We DO know that as soon as the technology was available to dispense with the flat rim, then curved rims starting showing up.  We DO know that once chrome plated, extruded tubes became available, they were quickly adopted.  So stop pretending that you have the ability to step back into a time machine and reproduce, with utmost accuracy, a sound from 6 centuries ago.  It’s just not possible to the hair-splitting level for which you’re advocating.

Now, I’m all for using the right horn for the right job.  I use a bass trombone when I need a bass trombone. I use a small bore tenor when I need a small bore tenor.  I used a tenor and alto sackbut when I needed those.  But the idea that you can’t use a certain mouthpiece, when we know almost nothing about the original mouthpieces, is just silly.  Lassalle proves it all the time, as does every player who uses a van der Heide mouthpiece with a rim bigger than 25mm.  We cannot escape the trombone’s influence on our sound concept and our technique.  We can ask:  Does this playing sound stylistically appropriate in this setting, with these people?  Am I honoring the composer’s work?  I can almost guarantee Castello didn’t care  what mouthpiece his trombonist was playing.  He cared that those divisions were accurate.
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sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:12 am

Apologies for the long post, but I think this is a very interesting discussion topic and there are some important issues in there.

Quote from: Stan on Today at 04:34 AMAnd your position is spoken from purist, orthodox, viewpoint.

I'm somewhere in the middle, and I examine each compromise on a case by case basis to decide if I think it's acceptable for myself, and if we should advocate for or against it. I refuse to follow those absolutist ideas that either no compromise should be made, or that if some compromise is acceptable, then any compromise is.

What I do think is that people that have an interest in historical performance and period instruments should be encouraged to go out of their comfort zone and learn, discover and try things that may change the way they think or play. I hardly see this as orthodoxy.

I have, by the way, not expressed an opinion on whether or not I find acceptable to play on a modernized mouthpiece - I merely proposed that it very much changes the sound makes it significantly harder to play with the right articulations, thus in the right style.


QuoteQuote:  “The only person I heard come close was Daniel Lassalle, which is to be expected with his tremendous experience and knowledge of the style.”

There is a whole world to unpack in that statement, but I’d start by noting that we’re talking about Lassalle’s mouthpiece, and if it’s good enough for one of the finest Baroque trombonists that’s ever lived, then it’s good enough to consider.  You’re also making the point above that with experience and knowledge of style, a performer can make a piece of unorthodox equipment work, and in Lassalle’s case, work exceptionally well. 

Yes style of playing is more important than equipment. That doesn't mean we can't advocate the use of equipment that favors a more informed style, does it? As I mentioned, he did sound different when he used a more historical set-up and to his own admission, his main reasons for playing the rounded rim are that it allows him to not struggle when having to demonstrate things on his modern trombone when teaching his modern students and that it was much easier to get the Lyon trombone class interested in learning sackbut if they could play modern rims, and now after years of teaching, all the former students and now colleagues play modern rims, so it would be hard to blend with them if playing a flat rim. I sympathise with that and I'm not saying he is wrong in his choice. But can't we say it is not an entirely wrong choice while still acknowledging that it's a very significant compromise?

The same way I acknowledge that our instruments are fare from being perfectly historical and are full of compromises to make our life easier in the modern world by the way.

I disagree with this
Quoteif it’s good enough for one of the finest Baroque trombonists that’s ever lived, then it’s good enough to consider.First, being a fine baroque trombonist doesn't mean you can't be wrong. As I said I don't think he is, but he could be. And second, my point is that if he manages to still play in a quite nice style, it is likely not because of the modern mouthpiece, but despite of it. Someone with so much experience can do it (even though they might sound even better with a more historical mouthpiece. Someone with less experience and not a clear and informed idea of the sound, articulations, etc. will most likely not be as successful.

QuoteWhen I bought the Lassalle, I was playing on a beautiful van der Heide that was perfect for Renaissance consort playing, but it simply dind’t the sound I was looking for for playing Baroque sonatas and divisions.  The Lassalle immediately gave me what I was looking for, and allowed me to better express the style even at the sake of “authenticity.”

I'm not sure I understand this statement. I'm not sure how style and authenticity are different things. Our imperfect but always improving understanding of the history informs the style. We have an idea of the style informed by treatises, by the music that was written, by witness accounts, and yes by looking at surviving equipment. I don't see how using a piece of equipment that drastically changes the sound and articulations compared to a more historical (even though not perfectly historical) one can help you better express the style. It can make you play better by modern standards of sound, sure, but "better express the style"? As I said, Lasalle comes closest, but he's an exception. What really convinced me that playing more historical flat rimmed, sharp-throated mouthpieces is the best way to go is not so much playing them myself than hearing people switch. In my experience people - especially those who don't have as much knowledge or understanding of the style - have an easier time approaching a more historical style - despite not knowing much about it - when using more historical mouthpieces. That is because the equipment teaches you how it wants to be used and lets you find out the possibilities that it allows, rather than pushing you towards the modern sound you're used to and requiring you to fight your modern trombone player instincts.

QuoteBut arguing that a hybridized mouthpiece like Lassalle’s massively changes the sound of your Coprario divisions while your tuning slide, spit key, chrome inners, and drawn tubes do not is simply an untenable position.

Admittedly I would prefer to have an instrument that has seamed and burnished tubes, as that seems to have a somewhat noticeable impact, but Egger doesn't make that (slide tubes are always drawn even on their most "historical" variants) and I don't have 10 000$ to buy a really fancy instrument. But, it is my experience both from playing different instruments from different makers and blind testing Egger slides of the same model (plated vs unplated and waterkey vs no waterkey, let alone the various levels of "authenticity" they offer in terms of alloys and treatment) that the other mentioned features have FAR less impact than the type of mouthpiece we use.

It certainly is a debatable position, but untenable, really?

QuoteLike I said, I used to be an orthodox performer too.  And then I finally realized that we have absolutely no idea what those instruments really sounded like.  You can’t compare a description by Mersenne or Praetorius to actually hearing it in the setting by people who grew up with the instrument.  You and I are completely incapable of imagining a sackbut sound without 500 years of the trombone’s development interfering.  We just can’t, and to think we can is hubris.  Furthermore, the continuous use of the trombone in those 500 years has shown that players will do what is necessary to get the sound they’re after.  We have no idea what players in the 16th and 17th centuries did to their mouthpieces.  We have no idea how they even really conceptualized a mouthpiece.  We DO know that as soon as the technology was available to dispense with the flat rim, then curved rims starting showing up.  We DO know that once chrome plated, extruded tubes became available, they were quickly adopted.  So stop pretending that you have the ability to step back into a time machine and reproduce, with utmost accuracy, a sound from 6 centuries ago.  It’s just not possible to the hair-splitting level for which you’re advocating.

I have some issues with that reasoning. First "we have no recordings" is not a good enough argument to claim we have no way of having any faintest idea of how they sounded. Second "when technology allowed improvements, they happened" implies that instruments evolving mean they improve and thus that the modern instruments are superior to the historical ones. If both these things are true, then we should stop trying to understand the style and sound of the time, and stop playing historical instruments altogether then and just play everything on modern instruments.

Of COURSE we can't compare written descriptions and examination of the music and examination of the surviving instruments to actually hearing them. That doesn't mean those descriptions, music and instruments we do have can't give us a pretty good idea of what they did and how. And the more we research and the more we play with more and more historical equipment (the new generation of instrument makers are going all historical - that's where it's heading), the closer we get.

And I disagree with your assessment of how innovation in instrument making happens. First, I'd just like to point out that flat rims remained standard until very much into the 19th century, with German mouthpieces displaying rounder rims first, and French mouthpieces taking a lot more time. Some late 19th and early 20th century mouthpieces have still barely rounded rims. Rounded throats and/or funnel shaped cups seem to have become common before rounded rims. Flat rims were around long after they had the capacity to make them rounded (and to what extant they ever lacked that capacity is also debatable). Also, change does not equal improvement. Evolution in instrument design is very much tied with A) economic concerns (especially in the industrial age), B) the type of playing that is made necessary by the type of music being written at the time. And in turn, the music that is written and the favored qualities of the instrument to play that music evolve based on the available instruments. So it's two things that influence each other and push each other to change. Modern trombones are so big now not because they couldn't have made large trombones before, but because the role of the instrument changed, they got bigger to fulfill a modified role, which pushed that role further in that direction, hence encouraging to use even bigger instruments, etc etc.

That 19th century musicians adopted X because it improved the capacity of the instrument to fulfill its musical role in the 19th century cannot be used as an argument that earlier musicians would have adopted X (or even that the idea of X would have occurred to them at all) since what they needed the instrument for and the music they had to play was entirely different. And in turn, if they HAD adopted X, then the capacities of the instrument would have changed, and this would have likely lead to composers using the instrument differently.

QuoteNow, I’m all for using the right horn for the right job.  I use a bass trombone when I need a bass trombone. I use a small bore tenor when I need a small bore tenor.  I used a tenor and alto sackbut when I needed those.  But the idea that you can’t use a certain mouthpiece, when we know almost nothing about the original mouthpieces, is just silly.  Lassalle proves it all the time, as does every player who uses a van der Heide mouthpiece with a rim bigger than 25mm.  We cannot escape the trombone’s influence on our sound concept and our technique.  We can ask:  Does this playing sound stylistically appropriate in this setting, with these people?  Am I honoring the composer’s work?  I can almost guarantee Castello didn’t care  what mouthpiece his trombonist was playing.  He cared that those divisions were accurate.

This and my previous point bring me back full circle. I evaluate each compromise on a case by case basis. We know they didn't have 8 inch bells and 0.500 bores, and we know those things change the sound immensely - so I conclude it is not an acceptable compromise (if I'm doing historical performance that is). We know they didn't have tuning slides, but we also know they used crooks and tuning bits to adjust the length of the instrument, and those affect the sound and playing characteristics at least as much as a tuning slide - so I conclude it's an acceptable compromise that has no significant impact while making our lives much easier. We know they didn't have water keys, but it doesn't seem like having one makes any noticeable difference whatsoever in the sound or feel of the instrument - again acceptable compromise that has no significant impact and makes our life much easier. etc, etc.

We know they had neither rounded rims or rounded throats. We know it makes a very noticeable difference in the sound and articulations. More importantly having the flat rim and sharp throat very much help inform the player about how they might have approached their playing, as it makes certains things easy that are harder on a modern mouthpiece and it makes things harder that are usually easier. Some of those things it makes easier are actually fairly central or basic elements of the style of the time when looking at treatises (i.e. the articulations that work very well on these mouthpieces and are harder on a modern mouthpiece happen to also be the articulations the treatises tell us to use). As you so brilliantly say, "Castello didn't care what mouthpiece his trombonist was playing. He cared that those divisions were accurate" and in my experience both as a player and audience member, the more historical mouthpiece makes it more likely that the divisions are accurate and in the style that Castello and his trombonist were familiar with. The main drawback is, the more historical mouthpiece requires some adaptation, both physically and in terms of sound concept.

I can understand that there can be many reasons why this adaptation is too much, and we all have different experiences and goals playing that music. I just think it's a bit of a shame to go to the extent of buying an expensive sackbut, learn these hard pieces, perhaps read about the style and get informed, only to shy out of one extra challenge that is actually not that hard and quite rewarding.
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sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

Post by ttf_BGuttman » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:40 am

I think I agree with Stan here.

Nobody alive heard how a Renaissance or Baroque trombone actually sounded.

We can try all kinds of things to see if any make more or less sense.  Sometimes we hit upon something that causes the scales to fall from our eyes and say "that must be it!".

I remember somebody recording a version of Bach's Brandenburg #1 substitutiing an alto instrument an octave above the Waldhorn (I think they called it a "Yak Horn"?).  The trio of two horns and oboe suddenly had all three instruments in approximately the same register and the blend was very different (and good).

Some day we will invent a time machine and go back and listen to the original masters, but until then we must experiment and hopefully succeed once in a while.

On another note, it's all music and a Pezel played on a modern quintet can be quite interesting as well.

Note tha the New York Pro Musica, an early proponent of "original instruments" often had to improvise using some kind of alterated modern equivalent for the instruments that just weren't available.
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sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

Post by ttf_Blowero » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:16 am

Quote from: Stan on Today at 04:34 AM
We DO know that as soon as the technology was available to dispense with the flat rim, then curved rims starting showing up.

Do we? It would be hard for me to imagine that the skilled craftsmen who built these ornate instruments were incapable of creating a curved surface on a piece of brass. Wouldn't the more plausible explanation be that they chose to make the rim flat?
ttf_Le.Tromboniste
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sackbut mouthpiece Romera Daniel Lassalle

Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:18 am

Quote from: BGuttman on Today at 09:40 AMOn another note, it's all music and a Pezel played on a modern quintet can be quite interesting as well.

Of course! I'm all for playing earlier music on modern instruments as well. I wouldn't do it myself because I do have a sackbut and play it better than I can play my modern trombone, so why would I; but I would love to see more Cesare, Rognoni, Bertali, Castello, Picci, Riccio, etc etc on modern trombone recitals. Especially given how frequently we get to hear trombone players playing other baroque works not written for us (not that that's a problem, it's just somewhat strange to me that Marcello, Hasse, Telemann pieces not written for us are somehow more standard for modern trombone players than the rep that is actually our own).

Quote from: BGuttman on Today at 09:40 AMNote tha the New York Pro Musica, an early proponent of "original instruments" often had to improvise using some kind of alterated modern equivalent for the instruments that just weren't available.

Yes, and we should be very glad that things changed since then.

And things keep changing. As I mentioned the tendency is towards more and more historical instruments. The new generation of makers are trying to make exact copies of museum pieces, or at least do everything using historical techniques. I wouldn't be surprised if Meinl and Egger instruments weren't be coveted so much anymore in a few years.

Quote from: BGuttman on Today at 09:40 AMNobody alive heard how a Renaissance or Baroque trombone actually sounded.

We can try all kinds of things to see if any make more or less sense.  Sometimes we hit upon something that causes the scales to fall from our eyes and say "that must be it!".

I must say that reasoning makes me uncomfortable. I think it's the same kind of reasoning used by the so-called "skeptics" that are really science deniers. You've never seen an electron right? Well then you can't know how electricity works. Nobody witnessed evolution so evolution is not real. Nobody was there when the Big Bang happened so it didn't happen. You don't see earth rotate, so we must live in a geocentric universe.

Yeah, makes me very uncomfortable. There is information we do have and information we can deduce. And we can research and improve our understanding and knowledge. And absence of direct evidence is not evidence of absence. Because there are things we don't know and things we will never know doesn't mean we should throw everything out the window and say "well nobody's ever heard it and nobody never will, so nobody can ever have any understanding of it". Maybe I'm just young and naive, but I have trouble seeing out this blasé attitude leads to anything other than cynicism and the absence of hope or excitement about discovery.


Without going back to the judgement on what we should do with that information,
-We do know what mouthpieces they used because we have surviving specimens, and we have schematics of then-modern mouthpieces from 300-400 years later that still display the same key characteristics.
-We can try those mouthpieces against a modern mouthpieces an prove that they have demonstrably completely different sound and playing characteristics.
-If they play, sound and feel different, and we know for a fact they had one and not the other, then it's only logical that using the one they had gets us closer to how they sounded and played. Are we getting to exactly the same? No, most probably not, but we're getting closer.

That is information we do have
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:38 am

Quote from: Blowero on Today at 10:16 AMDo we? It would be hard for me to imagine that the skilled craftsmen who built these ornate instruments were incapable of creating a curved surface on a piece of brass. Wouldn't the more plausible explanation be that they chose to make the rim flat?

Exactly. Some of the mouthpieces we do have were at least in part turned on a lathe and have a curved exterior shape. Plus the inside of the cup is obviously curved. Some trombone and trumpet bells do show signs of having been turned on a lathe. They had the tools, they had the know-how. How hard is it to make a rounded rim?

They either chose to make them that way or it didn't even occur to them to make them differently because that's just how they were always made.

On a tangent, some ophicleide mouthpieces had flat rims long after trombone sometimes by the same makers had more curved rims.
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Post by ttf_kbiggs » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:55 pm

I’m an amateur sacbut player, so I’m no expert on authenticity, etc. I’ve tried several combinations, e.g., accurate reproduction sacbuts with reproduction or modern mouthpieces. The few sacbuts I’ve tried seemed to play better with reproduction mouthpieces (Egger, vander Heyde). “Better,” to me, means sounding more like Charles Toet, Wim Becu, Adam Woolf, or Ercole Nisini. They are the models I use on the infrequent occasions I am asked to play sacbut. My view: these players produce a light, sweet sound with some “air” in it, not too “round” or “full” sounding, but with many harmonics.

I’ve heard a few albums with Sacqueboutiers de Toulouse and M. LaSalle. I have no doubts about his musicality, and I am aware he is highly experienced and respected. However, I agree with Maximillien on this: on M. LaSalle’s more recent recordings, where I assume he has been using the Romera mouthpiece, the articulation and timbre sound more like a modern trombone than a sacbut. My preference is to hear a sacbut that has some character, color, or “grit” to it than a modern trombone. For my listening, I prefer the sound of sacbut players other than M. LaSalle.

On another note, I greatly empathize with M. LaSalle’s choice: a compromise mouthpiece that allows him to switch between a sacbut and a modern trombone. It took me several weeks of intense practice on my Egger mouthpiece (and nothing else) the last time I played sacbut. However, to my ears, the sound of M. LaSalle’s sacbut playing has been compromised much more than—and in favor of—the sound of the trombone.
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Post by ttf_MaestroHound » Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:49 pm

I'll just say that if you are starting out on a sackbut today, and if you are serious about it at all, you'd be wise to heed Maximillien's advise, going forward.

In the world of "Western art music," the field of HIP (historically informed performance) has been one of the most rapidly evolving in the past few decades with all of the new research and findings that keep coming. I expect it to remain that way for a while. I do admire the pioneering work that groups like New York Pro Musica did when they did it, but to say we could still be doing the same thing now would be pretty much like saying we can fight today's cyber terrorism with an 8-bit Apple II computer because that's what CIA used and worked just fine in the 1970s.

Yes, even the most stoic of us among the HIP folk are making some inevitable compromises. It's very important to pick which battle to fight, though. And never forget that in the HIP, "good music" actually include "well-informed authenticity" as an added criteria. I do enjoy early music played on modern instruments that's done with great taste and style, too, but they are not claiming to be an HIP.

Fortunately, pursuing HIP is becoming easier (equipment-wise at least) as we have more people making instruments/mouthpieces properly these days. For sackbut mouthpieces, Van der Heide has been THE source for a long time. He still is, but now, I can also wholeheartedly recommend the work of Brad Close (posted as Blowero above), for example. I am so happy with the one he just made me--along with his F bass sackbut! And then there are even people who are making honest (as possible) replica of surviving Schnitzer mouthpieces, if you want to take it a step further. Great time to be doing HIP!
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Post by ttf_Stan » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:28 am

Quote from: MaestroHound on Jan 20, 2018, 05:49PMI'll just say that if you are starting out on a sackbut today, and if you are serious about it at all, you'd be wise to heed Maximillien's advise, going forward.

I’m going to agree with this point, but not for the reasons you make.  If you want to participate in HIP groups today, and I am someone who has done so extensively, then you’ve got to have the right gear because someone else with more pure orthodoxy will notice if you don’t.  They will immediately undermine your knowledge, experience, and style if you’re not playing on the “right” stuff.  And that’s where I completely lose Maximillien, and why I ultimately bowed out of the early music scene.  I saw it happen too many times to too many well-meaning players.  And here’s the truth, from an honest-to-god musicologist with a dissertation in early music performance:  None of them know what they’re talking about. 

Now, HIP folks think they know what they’re talking about.  But their arguments, which Maximillien has summarized ad nauseam, are all based on backwards-looking teleological principles that just don’t stand up to basic intellectual scrutiny.  They make a leap of faith, and then declare that faith fact.  Let me explain.

We have mouthpieces from the 17th century.  We have instruments from the 17th century.  We have music from the 17th century.  We have treatises that discuss instruments and compositional process studies from the 17th century.  A well-meaning performer will take all of that, synthesize it, put a copy of that mouthpiece in a copy of that instrument, and see what happens.  If the treatises say “the sound is very vocal” they’ll try to make the sound very vocal.  If they say, “the articulation is like that of the recorder,” they’ll look up recorder articulations and try to make that happen on the trombone.  If they say, “the divisions sound like this” then they’ll try to make the divisions sound like “that.”  And so on, and so forth.

And here comes the problem.  Everybody reading this thread, right now, think of how you would describe a dark, symphonic trombone sound.  Think about how you would describe the playing in Mahler.  Now, for the same instrument, think how you would describe the playing necessary for Berlioz or Beethoven or Mozart.  Write all those descriptors down, and look at how not-musical they really are.  And then realize that your descriptions are ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE  better than the descriptions HIP players are dealing with.  They make a leap of faith that their interpretations are on some kind of scale that trends towards “authentic” (and also trends towards infinity).  And then they judge performances based on where they fall on that authenticity scale that they artificially created.  Which is kind of insane.  How in the heck do you make an instrument sound like a beam of light piercing the darkness?  How do you judge whether you’ve achieved that result?

Take the attacks on New York Pro Musica seen in this thread as proof.  NYPM is almost universally panned by the HIP crowd because they just weren’t authentic at all.  Why does that matter? NYPM did more to champion the cause of re-examining older music, styles, and composers than the entire apparatus of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, because they took the time to play and interpret and record music that nobody had bothered with for centuries.  Did they make some questionable decisions?  Sure they did.  But so did Neville Mariner, and nobody has torn apart the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields for not being “authentic” enough in their interpretions of Mozart.  NYPM probably did more to save Isaac and Susato and Schutz and Monteverdi than any other performance group in the lasts 300 years.

And then, let’s talk about the instruments and the mouthpieces, because that’s what started this. 

WE HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT THE INSTRUMENTS AND THE MOUTHPIECES.  We probably have 1% of all the total mouthpieces from the 17th century.  If you had 1% of all the mouthpieces from the 20th century, you’d probably have a lot of 6.5ALs.  Does that mean that every trombone played in the 20th century used a 6.5AL?  No.  You’d have a lot of Conn Directors too.  Does that mean that a Directory with a 6.5AL is the typical trombone for the 20th century?  No.  It just means that in the numbers game, that’s what you happen to have left over after ceturies of repurposing. 

The mouthpieces we do have show enormous variability with some similar features.  They had flat rims.  I don’t think they chose flat rims.  I think the instrument makers who made trumpets eventually made trombones too, and those makers, because of the nature of guilds and apprenticeships, had been making flat rimmed mouthpieces for centuries.  And I also believe there were more than a few craftsmen like Geert Jan van der Heide who would be more than willing to turn you some mouthpieces on a lathe, let you try them, and then melt down what didn’t make the cut.  But mouthpieces are an extremely personal thing, and were an expensive commodity.  Why in the world would you assume that players didn’t keep their own mouthpieces?  And, if that’s the case, why in the world would you assume that the box full of authentic mouthpieces that we have from the 17th century (and it’s a small box), represents EVERYTHING, and then base your entire approach to playing the instrument on that assumption, and THEN judge anyone who doesn’t do that as “not doing it right?”  That’s silly!

And lastly, there’s the time-machine issue, which is wholly unacknowledged in the scholarly literature that’s supportive of the HIP cats.  No one born in the last 300 years has any idea what a sackbut sounds like in absence of the trombone.  They’re trying to re-create a sound that existed without the trombone, without the trombone’s techniques, idiomatic styles, methods, etc.  But you cannot un-learn, un-hear, and undo the effects of the trombone and trombone pedagogy after you’ve learned them.  Your slide technique is trombone technique.  Your buzz is a trombone buzz.  Your ear, the way you adjust pitch, the way you breath, are all based on the trombone.  So when it comes to the sackbut, you’ve got HIP cats saying that it’s a totally different instrument with a totally different approach who then pick it up and are incapable of going back in time and never knowing about the trombone.    Why would you assume that’s “authentic?”  And I hate to break it to Maximillien, but that chrome slide and those extruded tubes and that spit valve and that tuning slide that he’s convinced himself don’t matter (but a mouthpiece is EVERYTHING)?  All of those things impact how you approach, play, and work with the instrument.  So they absolutely effect what’s coming out of the bell. 

So yeah, if you want to be serious about sackbut today, you’d be wise to heed Maximillien’s advise.  Because the people that are going to pay you for those jobs are chasing that artificial authenticity curve into infinity, and if you don’t practice their religion, they’ll excommunicate you.

Or, play a hybrid mouthpiece if it makes you sound like you think you need to sound. 
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Post by ttf_svenlarsson » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:47 am

Thank you Stan.

I did play much sackbut in 60th up to the 90th and have some drawers full of mouthpieces, today I own three sackbuts in different tunings. To day I only play sackbut in some occasions like Mozart Requiem or older music. I allways bring three mouthpieces so I can use the one that fit together with the other sacckbut players and the orchestra and chorus. Most often the sackbuts try to blend with the chorus.

I have through the years seen lots of "historic copies", well they dont look much alike, some variations. To say the least.

Most of the sackbut players I play with are trombone players in symphony orchestras or freelancers who play all kinds of music like my self.
Not many play only sackbut.

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Post by ttf_Stan » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:13 am

Quote from: svenlarsson on Jan 21, 2018, 08:47AMThank you Stan.

I did play much sackbut in 60th up to the 90th and have some drawers full of mouthpieces, today I own three sackbuts in different tunings. To day I only play sackbut in some occasions like Mozart Requiem or older music. I allways bring three mouthpieces so I can use the one that fit together with the other sacckbut players and the orchestra and chorus. Most often the sackbuts try to blend with the chorus.

I have through the years seen lots of "historic copies", well they dont look much alike, some variations. To say the least.

Most of the sackbut players I play with are trombone players in symphony orchestras or freelancers who play all kinds of music like my self.
Not many play only sackbut.


Sven, you get what I’m saying. The mix in the music is what’s important to those of us who play in lots of different styles. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t be using the right tool for the job.  It’s just that we don’t actually have a good concept of what that tool may be until we’re sitting in the ensemble.  As trombonists, we make these choices and compromises all the time.  The mouthpiece I use to play in a combo is different than the one I use to play in a ska band.  Why in the world would I limit my options?

I was playing some Mozart once with a modern orchestra, and I had it in my head that we absolutely needed to use an alto, small tenor, and large tenor to make the blend “right” because that’s closer to what Mozart would have heard.  And then we tried that, and the resulting sound was so bright it swamped the choir.  So we adjusted as the music demanded.  It was less “authentic,” but it made more musical sense.  That’s all I’m really saying.  Don’t let argument of authentic purity guide esthetic and stylistic decisions.  Let esthetics and style guide them.
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Post by ttf_MaestroHound » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:19 am

Stan, I agree with a lot of things you've written. Not just the last post, but a lot of what's been said earlier, too. However, from some of the same agreements, I draw different conclusion.

Yes, we have perhaps 1% or less of the instruments/mouthpieces that had been in use. Stewart Carter, I believe, said there are 76 surviving trombones from the 17th century (what a coincidental number). They are certainly too small of a sample to see the whole picture. But that to me does not mean we can just ignore them. Like you said, if we take 1% of the mouthpieces modern trombone players use, we'd get a lot of 6-1/2ALs. Let's say that's 80 out of 100 (which I guess it too big of a proportion but whatever). For the rest, we probably have five 5Gs, five 4Gs, seven bass mouthpieces of various sizes, and one of each... Kelly plastic mouthpiece, hybrid mouthpiece for trumpet players with tiny cup, and... a P.D.Q. Bach 'tromboon' reeds. 300 years from now someone discovers it, and s/he'd probably say "in the early 21st century, trombone was mostly played with a mouthpiece that's made of brass with silver plating, rounded rim with sizes around 25.4mm with some variation (a number of significantly larger ones are probably for bass trombone), rounded throat, with occasional oddity in material (plastic) or general size (trumpet hybrid). There was a reed in the same box but we could probably ignore it." And there is nothing wrong about this statement. Incomplete, but not wrong. We have more size varieties in reality perhaps, but if an HIP player in the year 2318 created a copy of 6-1/2AL to perform music of our time, that's at least not completely wrong. He's missing out on what Doug Elliott mouthpiece can give you, perhaps, but 6-1/2AL is at least not wrong.

Iconographies and texts are not sufficient, either (actually I have doubts about some iconographies. If a musicologist in 2318 discovers a Macy's catalogue or something where a model is holding a trombone all wrong, I sure hope s/he won't conclude that it was how trombones were held in our time!), but it does give you an idea. Again, being insufficient is not the reason it can be thrown away. I do think things like articulations of cornetto we can observe from Dalla Casa, for example, would be far more informative than description of sound being dark.

So, we agree that there is not nearly sufficient information to draw the whole picture. Most of all is the lack of the ability to hear actual sound. That's simply impossible. The conclusion we draw is where we differ. I am just too cautious to use the 'lack of information' as a license to take exception. We have flat rimmed mouthpieces. We don't have rounded ones. These are the simple fact as of now. There may have been rounded rimmed mouthpiece we haven't discovered yet, who knows, but until we actually discover one, I choose to stick with what we know for sure existed. That's matter of choice, which just happens to be in line with the majority of HIP crowd of today. If I were doing this in 2318, I'd make decision to play a 6-1/2AL, until someone discovers a 4BS. Then, I would probably switch to a 4BS. But I would be working with what's known, no matter how little that knowledge is compared to the whole picture.

I also agree that mouthpiece is not the only aspect, or the most important one. Its importance is pretty high up there, but surely not 'everything.' I don't think anyone is saying that. It is, however, one of the easier things for us to adjust. A lot of other "compromises" are just too expensive to easily afford to alter. Seamed/rolled brass inner slide tubes is a very expensive option, offered only by small number of makers. So there is this practicality issue--I for one simply cannot afford them. But mouthpiece is something anyone who's new to this can make their own decision, usually. So I think that is the reason why we are even discussing this to this extent. I think it's silly to give up on what you can have, only because you cannot have some other aspects of it. Even if I cannot afford to have a souped up high end audio system in a Mazda 3, I wouldn't let it be the reason to give up getting the car altogether, even if I have to settle for a basic audio system.

Last but not least--I don't think anyone here was attacking New York Pro Musica, or any other mid-20th century early music ensemble. I repeat to say that I admire them for what they did when they did. I know there are people who make fun of them, with the knowledge we have today. We should realize that we owe the opportunity to have the research done that resulted in those knowledge, to those pioneers.
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Post by ttf_Stan » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:35 am

QuoteI do think things like articulations of cornetto we can observe from Dalla Casa, for example, would be far more informative than description of sound being dark.
It’s in places like that where you lose me, and I’ll explain why.

I want you to think about Tommy Dorsey.  We know precisely what kind of horn he played, what kind of mouthpiece he played, what kind of music he played, and we know how he played because there are just volumes of information on that.  He wrote a trombone method.  He had pieces written specifically for him, or he wrote them himself.  And we can verify all of that data with actual recordings, both audio and video, of him doing it.  So it is completely possible to take that entire data set and reproduce, with a high degree of accuracy, Dorsey’s sound and playing.

We cannot do that with Dalla Casa.  There are not volumes of data, the iconography is inconsistent, the texts are sparse and sporatic, and there is simply no way to check the actual result against the recordings.  But, historical performers do that entire process and declare it a success.  Bruce Dickey is a phenomenal performer.  He may be the greatest cornetto player who has ever lived (he’s also a wonderful human being).  But, we have absolutely no way to know if he sounds anything remotely like Dalla Casa.  If we didn’t have Dorsey’s recordings to verify what we were doing, there is absolutely no way we could play like him. 
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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:47 am

Still, there is no reason not to try all kinds of things.  We may luck onto something that may actually sound like it did in 1650.  Just don't be a snob about it.  I have heard some marvelous players of things like Shawms and Racketts but we don't really know exactly how they would have been used in a period ensemble.  We can get close.

Another issue is that often the parts are not specified by instrument.  Was that treble line played on a rebec, a recorder, or a cornetto?  In fact, probably broken consorts were a lot more common than we think.
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Post by ttf_MaestroHound » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:52 am

Quote from: Stan on Jan 21, 2018, 09:35AMWe cannot do that with Dalla Casa.  There are not volumes of data, the iconography is inconsistent, the texts are sparse and sporatic, and there is simply no way to check the actual result against the recordings.

Neither could ANY of Dalla Casa's contemporaries = 16th century cornettists, who had never been in the same room as him. But they, along with many of the following generations of players, studied his book, and that's how they played their cornetto. In 16th and 17th centuries. Why can we not do the same thing??
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Post by ttf_kbiggs » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:47 am

Stan,

I believe I understand what you’re saying and, to a certain extent, I agree with you. We cannot go back in time. We cannot make a comprehensive survey of the instruments that were available at the time of Dalla Casa, Monteverdi, etc. Just as importantly, we have no true idea of what these instruments sounded like, and what performance practice at the time truly sounded like. What we do have is an incomplete sample of extant instruments and mouthpieces, and some descriptions (much in bits and pieces, along with the occasional tutor or manual) of what and how to play that can be more poetic and fanciful than descriptive or instructive. Those are the practical matters.

However, this is the case with all academic disciplines and practical applications that reference history. Indeed, it’s part of the human condition. At any point, we have at best an incomplete record to review. As human beings involved in a creative endeavor, we have to make interpretations from what is available. Sometimes, we can’t even remember everything that is available or pertinent about a piece, a composer, a style, etc.  In art, there is no “right” or “wrong,” and in history there are only interpretations that adhere to the available knowledge, more or less. It’s a decision: should I interpret this phrase as I believe X states in his 1650 treatise, or as Y suggested to his pupil in a 1651 letter?

Yes, there are music snobs. People who adhere to authenticity for the sake of authenticity, people who hear with their eyes. Sometimes, they are in positions of power (the personnel manager, the producer, etc.). Those things can’t be helped. They have their opinions, whether they are right or wrong. That, too, is part of the human condition.

I believe, as you said, that performers have a responsibilty to the composers (or “the spirit of music,” if you will) when performing/recreating music from a bygone era. That is, we have to have some fidelity to what we know, including what we know about equipment. We cannot logically have any responsibilty to what we do not know, nor can we have any responsibility to what we think might be the case.

So, here’s where the arguments (I believe) truly depart: There are no known extant sacbut mouthpieces from 16th to the late 17th century [+/- 100 years] with a rounded rim. Ditto for mouthpieces with a rounded throat, or a modern-shaped backbore. While it may be easier to play a mouthpiece with a rounded rim, sloped throat, backbore, etc., we cannot simply say, “It’s easier, therefore I’m using it,” while simultaneously claiming to be true or informed about the music we recreate. Of course it’s easier to play with a round rim. We are, after everyone here acknowledges, 20th-21st century trombone players, informed by all the music we’ve heard and read. However, I believe—this a belief, mind you, not a statement of fact—that if we’re going to play music from the 16th through the early 19th centuries, we should do our absolute best to sound like it may have sounded in the 17th century, to the best of our knowledge and given the available equipment.

Further, there are degrees of authenticity. A cut-down trombone is definately not a sacbut, but a reproduction sacbut with a modern or “compromise” mouthpiece certainly rasises the question, “How much deviation can we accept and still have fidelity to what we know?” Some of it is purely pragmatic: it depends on who is playing and who leads the group. M. LaSalle can pretty much play what he wants as he’s the director of Les Sacqueboutiers. It’s unusual but certainly within the realm of normal for a music director to request that players adjust or change their equipment to meet the demands of the style.

The sacbut is as different from the trombone as the cornetto is from the modern cornet. Very different instruments that satisfied different musical demans in very different eras. I believe it is incumbent upon us, the performers who are more educated than the listening public, to provide a performance that is as historically informed as we can possibly make in the moment.
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Post by ttf_Stan » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:04 am

@Meastro:  The difference is Dalla Casa’s contemporaries actually heard the instrument at the time in question, and thus had adequate models on which to base his teachings.  We do not.  Double that for the lack of a widely circulated method for trombone that’s contemporaneous with Dalla Casa.

@Kenneth, I believe you’re right with one critical difference:

QuoteIt’s easier, therefore I’m using it,” while simultaneously claiming to be true or informed about the music we recreate
It’s that assumption of truth or informed authenticity that bothers me as both a researcher and a performer in a multitude of styles.  I could play Ortiz or Castello divisions just fine on a flat-rimmed “authentic” mouthpiece.  But the sound I was searching for, which I now realize should have been the driving force behind the music, wasn’t in that mouthpiece.  If I had never, ever, ever played a trombone before, and had never heard one, then maybe I could have squeezed more out of my van der Heide.  But alas, I was a trombonist first.  And, knowing full well what I was talking about, the research involved, and the limits of what I could recreate, I decided to use the tool that gave me the sound I was looking for.  And, to a certain extent, the circular referencing in this thread is showing that for many folks, that’s not ok.. I’m simply saying the line that should guide all artistry isn’t “It’s easier, therefore I’m using it” but instead, “After careful consideration, it gives me the results I’m seeking.”
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:11 pm



Quote from: Stan on Jan 21, 2018, 07:28AM
Take the attacks on New York Pro Musica seen in this thread as proof.  NYPM is almost universally panned by the HIP crowd because they just weren’t authentic at all.  Why does that matter? NYPM did more to champion the cause of re-examining older music, styles, and composers than the entire apparatus of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, because they took the time to play and interpret and record music that nobody had bothered with for centuries.  Did they make some questionable decisions?  Sure they did.  But so did Neville Mariner, and nobody has torn apart the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields for not being “authentic” enough in their interpretions of Mozart.  NYPM probably did more to save Isaac and Susato and Schutz and Monteverdi than any other performance group in the lasts 300 years.

[...]

 And I hate to break it to Maximillien, but that chrome slide and those extruded tubes and that spit valve and that tuning slide that he’s convinced himself don’t matter (but a mouthpiece is EVERYTHING)?  All of those things impact how you approach, play, and work with the instrument.  So they absolutely effect what’s coming out of the bell. 


What attacks on NYPM? I haven't seen any. I certainly wouldn't say anything about them as I barely heard a few recordings. I'm not one to judge what predecessors did before us just as I hope our successors won't judge just too harshly. But acknowledging both our predecessor's success and long lasting impact,  and the fact that available equipment and the state of knowledge and understanding has evolved since their time and that what they did then would no longer be optimal now are not mutually exclusive.

And that is also a common theme when listening to older modern orchestra recordings and is not exclusive to early music. A lot of recordings of legendary orchestras and conductors do not live up to modern standards on many aspects. We can acknowledge that without also saying they sucked...


Also thank you for this paternalistic piece of information, I'm really too stupid to examine equipment and my own playing. Thank God there are guys here to set me right. Convinced myself? Well I guess if you count blind testing convincing myself yes. I have found more difference between identical plated slides than between them and unplated versions of the same slides. I have been unable to hear or feel the slightest difference between three types of water key and no water at all. Again through blind testing.

A tuning slides creates less disturbance to the sound and feel than adding crooks.

I wholeheartedly admitted that rolled and seamed tubes would make a noticeable difference. Problem is the only makers who make slides that are both fully historical and good at the same time charge A LOT of money for their work.

Of course all this affects they way you work with the instrument and the ease of playing. Nobody here said the contrary.

What I said is these things (plated tubes, water key, tuning slide) make an unnoticeable or barely noticeable difference in sound, articulation, or any other parameter that may directly affect your ability to play in style.

I also never said the mouthpiece "is EVERYTHING". It's not. But it has a very, very noticeable impact. And you can't deny that, or else you wouldn't have thought the rounded rim helped you get a different sound.

Quote from: Stan on Jan 21, 2018, 11:04AM I’m simply saying the line that should guide all artistry isn’t “It’s easier, therefore I’m using it” but instead, “After careful consideration, it gives me the results I’m seeking.”

That sums it up and I agree with you. The thing is you did go through the careful consideration and learning the style and having a clear idea of what you want and why you want it. So did Daniel Lasalle. I can agree or disagree with your musical result or approach we can debate it and perhaps nobody's right and that's fair. But you did play a historical mouthpiece and you did get informed by that experience.

My whole point is someone that is new to playing sackbut should also get to have that experience learn from it and let the instrument teach them how it wants to play, and read the sources,  explore the style. THEN they can make the decision that you made or the decision that others among us made  and it is an enlightened decision.
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Post by ttf_Blowero » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:34 pm

I'm not a big fan of second-guessing the decisions that instrument makers made at the time. "Well if they knew how to make a curved rim they would have". Nah, that's pure speculation. Maybe they would have liked a bigger bell flare. Maybe they would have liked a rolled rim with a steel wire inside. Maybe string players would have liked steel strings. Seems a dangerous road to go down in my opinion. Your starting point ought to at least be what we know as fact, and then if you decide something's not working for you and want to change it, that's fine. But if your attitude is: "We don't know everything about performance practice at the time, therefore anything goes", then what's the point of even doing it?
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Post by ttf_boneagain » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:50 pm

Quote from: Blowero on Jan 21, 2018, 02:34PMI'm not a big fan of second-guessing the decisions that instrument makers made at the time. "Well if they knew how to make a curved rim they would have". Nah, that's pure speculation. Maybe they would have liked a bigger bell flare. Maybe they would have liked a rolled rim with a steel wire inside. Maybe string players would have liked steel strings. Seems a dangerous road to go down in my opinion. Your starting point ought to at least be what we know as fact, and then if you decide something's not working for you and want to change it, that's fine. But if your attitude is: "We don't know everything about performance practice at the time, therefore anything goes", then what's the point of even doing it?

Nice summation!
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:28 am

Quote from: BGuttman on Jan 21, 2018, 09:47AMStill, there is no reason not to try all kinds of things.  We may luck onto something that may actually sound like it did in 1650.  Just don't be a snob about it.  I have heard some marvelous players of things like Shawms and Racketts but we don't really know exactly how they would have been used in a period ensemble.  We can get close.

Another issue is that often the parts are not specified by instrument.  Was that treble line played on a rebec, a recorder, or a cornetto?  In fact, probably broken consorts were a lot more common than we think.

That's kind of off-topic but we do know how shawms were used (or at least some of the ways they were used). Were they used in other contexts than what we consider safe? Yes most probably, but we still know for a fact how they were used sometimes (or likely most of the time). They very often (but not exclusively) played as a dance band, typically early on as a pair of shawms with some kind of trumpet - most likely a slide trumpet (the existence and use in this context  of which is supported by overwhelming circumstantial evidence, but unfortunately no direct evidence), later on with more diversified instrumentation. We have pieces in Germany that call specifically for a mix of cornetts, shawms and trombones. This is as well documented.

You are right that instrumentation is rarely specified. There are of course groupings that are more typical and we know were most common at the time based on the frequency we find them in iconography, written accounts, inventories, lists of ensemble members, the rare scores that do specify instruments, etc. Those usually also make sense musically (for instance the pairing of cornetts with trombones makes a lot of sense musically but it's also very well documented so that we know it was very common, from very early in the cornetto's history.

But having more typical and more common groupings is of course not exclusive of less common instrumentations, and you are right that broken consorts were probably much more common than we think (or dare explore now). Just a week ago David Yacus brought to our alta capella group's attention a rarely quoted source from 1549 that details the proceedings of various banquets, one if which was a 17-service meal (yes you read at right) with music between each service. The instrumentation varies from the most common and familiar (the "piffari" which by then can be assumed probably included at least one trombone; or a cornetto with 5 trombones and voices) to the most surprising (among others, one set played on transverse flute, trombone, harp and harpsichord!).
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Post by ttf_Stan » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:48 am

@Maximilien

Several years ago Charles Brewer wrote an article on a darn-near impossible broken consort represented in a painting.  He happened to find the music Schmelzer wrote for that exact consort.  The moral of the story was that we need broader minds to process the extent of what we don't know about performance in the 17th century.
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:03 am

Quote from: Stan on Jan 22, 2018, 05:48AM@Maximilien

Several years ago Charles Brewer wrote an article on a darn-near impossible broken consort represented in a painting.  He happened to find the music Schmelzer wrote for that exact consort.  The moral of the story was that we need broader minds to process the extent of what we don't know about performance in the 17th century.

I don't disagree with that. In fact I find there are many many people in the early music world that have that curiosity and open mindedness - far more I  fact than what I have experienced as an orchestral trombone player, where we face a lot of dogmas, and an absence of curiosity sometimes.

But having an open mind about what we do not yet know doesn't mean we should ignore everything we do know.
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Post by ttf_jack » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:31 am

Water keys? Tuning slides? Chromed inner slides? Spun bells? Rounded mouthpiece rims? Smooth throats? Vibrato?
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxOEvNHkyqM


<Edit: fixed link>
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Post by ttf_renbaroque » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:57 am

Quote from: jack on Jan 22, 2018, 08:31AMWater keys? Tuning slides? Chromed inner slides? Spun bells? Rounded mouthpiece rims? Smooth throats? Vibrato?
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxOEvNHkyqM

I do like some of the things Lasalle did (more earlier stuff than recent ones), but this is exactly the kind of performance that has me wonder why he is even doing it on a sackbut. (To be fair to the maker, I don't think those bells were spun, though.) They'd sound pretty much the same on, say, a Courtois Xtreme or a King 2B. As for this thread, I think Blowero summed it up nicely. It's up to you if you want to make certain changes from what we know existed. You might get more criticism in certain areas of change than others, but that's part of the game. But to criticize other for trying to stick to what we know and not making the same concession you are making, that's the jump I do not understand.
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Post by ttf_Stan » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:44 am

https://youtu.be/uor4ddzKmRc

I don't think that sounds anything like what Lasalle and co. played in the above video. 

QuoteBut to criticize other for trying to stick to what we know and not making the same concession you are making, that's the jump I do not understand.
I think we're doing the opposite of that.  We're saying that orthodox performers may want to cool their jets a bit in criticizing compromises other players make.  This conversation got started because Heinz asked about a mouthpiece and Maximillen told him not to use it.  I apologize if I misinterpreted that exchange.
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Post by ttf_blast » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:01 am

I've been following this interesting debate and last night I put on a CD of the players referred to.  I loved it. Really. You see I am old enough now to have remembered how to listen to music, even trombone music and leave agendas out of the way. I don't care what they use... it sounds good and it sounds right. Subjective art form.

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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:09 am

I think there is nothing wrong with examining the capabilities of older style instruments to try to reverse engineer what may have been done.  Remember, the guys in the 1600s weren't stupid or unimaginative.  They figured out things like falset tones and how to play a wide range.  I'm sure they understood using alternate positions to minimize slide movement -- it was probably more important with the types and conditions of slides in use at the time.

I wonder how a stadtpfeifer of Nuremburg in 1650 would respond to being given a modern trombone.
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Post by ttf_renbaroque » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:41 am

Quote from: Stan on Jan 22, 2018, 09:44AMhttps://youtu.be/uor4ddzKmRc

I don't think that sounds anything like what Lasalle and co. played in the above video. 

Right. I agree. But that is not a fair comparison, with all those .547" and .562" canons. If they weren't any different, why do we have King 2B and Bach 42 on the market at the same time? I'd be interested to hear another performance right in between, played on a small bore modern trombones. I wonder which would be a bigger difference, between Lasalle and a pair of 2Bs, or a pair of 2Bs and the Van Rijen/Vanbeek/Attema.

I just found this. He seems to be playing Egger copy of Schnitzer mouthpiece. No water key. Inners look unplated, too. Just to have a look at (what appears to be) on the more purist side of it.

https://youtu.be/cCQQPXykpfg
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Post by ttf_Stan » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:01 am

Quote from: renbaroque on Jan 22, 2018, 10:41AMI just found this. He seems to be playing Egger copy of Schnitzer mouthpiece. No water key. Inners look unplated, too. Just to have a look at (what appears to be) on the more purist side of it.

https://youtu.be/cCQQPXykpfg

Erik Schmalz posts here, and he's played with Greg extensively (he's the trombonist in the video).  I know when I bought my Egger, Greg was instrumental in helping me.  He also put me in touch with van der Heide.  The last I corresponded with Greg, he was using a van der Heide built to resemble his 5G on trombone, but that was several years ago. 

QuoteI don't care what they use... it sounds good and it sounds right. Subjective art form.

BUT CHRIS!  THEY WEREN'T USING A 1.5G!
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:29 am

Quote from: Stan on Jan 22, 2018, 09:44AMhttps://youtu.be/uor4ddzKmRc

I don't think that sounds anything like what Lasalle and co. played in the above video. 
I think we're doing the opposite of that.  We're saying that orthodox performers may want to cool their jets a bit in criticizing compromises other players make.  This conversation got started because Heinz asked about a mouthpiece and Maximillen told him not to use it.  I apologize if I misinterpreted that exchange.

Except that is not AT ALL what I said. That is what you think I said, perhaps because you are sensitive to this criticism of modernized mouthpieces because it's the choice you made.

What I did is pointing that they sound very different and are a major compromise and that I have not heard anybody using them achieve the kind of style that historical mouthpieces not only help you achieve but almost require from you. The goal was not to tell anybody they are wrong or stupid, it is that someone picking up the sackbut and reading this thread now or in the future, like I read when I was in high school and college trying to learn things from here, has both sides of the medal when they face that choice.

Yes I advocate that it is better to use historical mouthpieces. Yes I think if you're serious about early music, it is a god idea to start with the facts we know, and start with as close as possible an original instrument as you can afford. It's not the same as telling someone they can't use them. I said repeatedly in this discussion that I understand and empathize with the reasons people have of using them, and that we can't make a claim for purity because we do tons of other compromises.

For the record, I have personally hired and played professionally alongside people with gear I would never play with myself. Because if I like the person's playing, and I like to play music with the person, I'm not gonna snob them because they only have access to a compromise instrument or have a different idea of how much authenticity they want to incorporate. Of course I know it will be harder for them, but I know they will do what they can to blend in.

I don't know of any serious early musicians that will go out of their way not to hire someone just because they don't have a top-notch historical instrument. And it goes both ways - some players who regularly get asked by Daniel to play with him play on more historical set-ups and get a less full, less focused, less modern sound that doesn't blend quite as well with that particular band. He hires them anyway because they're good at what they do and world-class musicians. He's a class-act. And yes there are purists in early music. There are also French sackbut players who make fun of other sackbut players who use historical mouthpieces and say they have no sound and they sound bad, and would never hire them. And there are tons of orchestral trombone players who would never hire you if you don't play on a .547" horn. Yeah, there are purists and ******** and ignorants everywhere. So please cut the crap about all the blame and your apparent sourness towards the early music world. We're not all dogmatic purists. It's not a prerequisite for being interested in or even strive in that scene. The world is not black and white and is full of nuances.


Quote from: BGuttman on Jan 22, 2018, 10:09AMI think there is nothing wrong with examining the capabilities of older style instruments to try to reverse engineer what may have been done.  Remember, the guys in the 1600s weren't stupid or unimaginative.  They figured out things like falset tones and how to play a wide range.  I'm sure they understood using alternate positions to minimize slide movement -- it was probably more important with the types and conditions of slides in use at the time.

That is a common (but I think wrong) assumption. They knew how to make good slides back then. Of course it's not 100% as smooth as a modern plated slide and the tolerances are often quite larger than you'd ideally want (due to the absence of stockings) but it's not nearly as bad as most people think. Some actual 300-400 year old originals in museums reportedly have slides that would still pass as 7/10 by modern standard. I am hoping to try a set of 200 year-old trombones in a few weeks that are in mint original condition with supposedly pretty good slides - I'll report back my first-hand impression. But yes you are right, the guys back then , both makers and players and composers were far from stupid or unimaginative (for example there is explicitly microtonal music from the 17th and 18th centuries, and multiphonics are explained in a treatise from the early 18th century). That is why I tend to try to give them credit and start from what we know for a fact about them and their music, and require of myself very strong justifications for choosing to depart from that.
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Post by ttf_renbaroque » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:37 am

Quote from: Stan on Jan 22, 2018, 11:01AMErik Schmalz posts here, and he's played with Greg extensively (he's the trombonist in the video).  I know when I bought my Egger, Greg was instrumental in helping me.  He also put me in touch with van der Heide.  The last I corresponded with Greg, he was using a van der Heide built to resemble his 5G on trombone, but that was several years ago. 

Well, I wanted to leave names out of it but yes, that's Greg. I, too, have played with him in a number of occasions. Erik should be able to tell for sure, but I highly doubt that he ever played a 5G sized mouthpiece on his sackbut. His old VdH is much smaller, and in this video he is definitely playing a Schnitzer copy. Just out of curiosity, what was his opinion on your switching to Lasalle mouthpiece?
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:48 am

Quote from: renbaroque on Jan 22, 2018, 10:41AMI just found this. He seems to be playing Egger copy of Schnitzer mouthpiece. No water key. Inners look unplated, too. Just to have a look at (what appears to be) on the more purist side of it.
https://youtu.be/cCQQPXykpfg
Quote from: Stan on Jan 22, 2018, 11:01AMErik Schmalz posts here, and he's played with Greg extensively (he's the trombonist in the video).  I know when I bought my Egger, Greg was instrumental in helping me.  He also put me in touch with van der Heide.  The last I corresponded with Greg, he was using a van der Heide built to resemble his 5G on trombone, but that was several years ago. 

You don't get much more historical than that instrument and mouthpiece. It is by Aron Vajna, who is currently making the most historical stuff available out of his shop here in Basel (which I have yet to visit). He makes the closest thing available to exact copies of museum pieces. They are stunningly beautifully made too (check out that Ehe bass!). https://www.vajnainstruments.ch/de/trombone/

Neither the horn or mouthpiece might be by Schnitzer, but close. The horn is copied after a 1560-80 anonymous instrument held in the same collection as the famous, highly ornate Schnitzer convertible tenor to bass trombone, in Verona. The mouthpiece is often quoted as being by Schnitzer because it is engraved with NVRNBERG, is in the same collection as that aforementioned famous trombone and resembles other mouthpieces associated with Schnitzer trombones. I think Nate Wood told me it is more likely originally from the anonymous trombone. In any case, interesting mouthpiece. It has what I mentioned before, a belly in the backbore instead of a venturi. It is also made out of three separate pieces (a turned cup, rolled and seamed backbore and rolled and seamed joint sleeve, if memory serves me well). Nate also makes a copy of it, as does Egger.

I saw Greg shortly after he got it. I didn't try it but heard it up close and tried to blend in with it for a week. Beautiful, very interesting sound. Quite different than the sound of the later tenors we typically play copies of. Very, very dark. Great for early stuff. It would be an interesting challenge playing virtuosic 17th century music on that (which of course some of the players at the time must have done - not all of them would have had a state-of-the-art recent trombone and mouthpiece).
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Post by ttf_Stan » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:17 pm

Quote from: renbaroque on Jan 22, 2018, 11:37AMWell, I wanted to leave names out of it but yes, that's Greg. I, too, have played with him in a number of occasions. Erik should be able to tell for sure, but I highly doubt that he ever played a 5G sized mouthpiece on his sackbut. His old VdH is much smaller, and in this video he is definitely playing a Schnitzer copy. Just out of curiosity, what was his opinion on your switching to Lasalle mouthpiece?

Sorry.  The name was listed on the video, so I thought it would be ok.  By the time I did change mouthpieces, we'd both moved on and I never asked. 

QuoteExcept that is not AT ALL what I said. That is what you think I said, perhaps because you are sensitive to this criticism of modernized mouthpieces because it's the choice you made.

I do apologize for misunderstanding your intent, but your courageous responses have only served to underscore the kind of orthodox thinking I'm talking about.  Heinz didn't originally ask anything except did the mouthpiece have a double cup.  I responded that I've used one on an Egger sackbut and that it works very well, and then you launched into the standard spiel about how we're doing a disservice to our audience and ourselves by not playing reproduction mouthpieces.  I would stand by everything I've said, and would only add at this point that we're doing a greater disservice to our audiences by not programming music from the 16th and 17th centuries, regardless of what kinds of equipment on which we play them.  Frescobaldi played on a modern bass trombone is preferable to no Frescobaldi at all.
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Post by ttf_jack » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:08 pm

Did I mention vibrato?  Do I hear quite a lot of vibrato being used in this clip?
Quote from: jack on Jan 22, 2018, 08:31AMWater keys? Tuning slides? Chromed inner slides? Spun bells? Rounded mouthpiece rims? Smooth throats? Vibrato?
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxOEvNHkyq
Disappointing.
What matters more: kit or style?
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Post by ttf_Blowero » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:21 pm

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on Jan 22, 2018, 11:48AM
Neither the horn or mouthpiece might be by Schnitzer, but close. The horn is copied after a 1560-80 anonymous instrument held in the same collection as the famous, highly ornate Schnitzer convertible tenor to bass trombone, in Verona. The mouthpiece is often quoted as being by Schnitzer because it is engraved with NVREMBERG, is in the same collection as that aforementioned famous trombone and resembles other mouthpieces associated with Schnitzer trombones. I think Nate Wood told me it is more likely originally from the anonymous trombone.
I'm confused. In Henry George Fischer's book, he says a Schnitzer mouthpiece is with a Schnitzer Bb tenor in a museum in Nice, and that both bear the mark of the Schnitzer family, as well as a bass made by Jobst Schnitzer. There is a photo of the mouthpiece and it does appear to have a house mark on it. Is that all wrong, or is that a different mouthpiece? I realize it's an old book, but it does have a photo so I have to assume this does exist.
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Post by ttf_heinz gries » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:59 pm

Back to my topic. I will buy one with a roundet rim and test it on my modern alto.
Perhabs the shallow cup gives a nice alto sound. Image
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:23 pm

Quote from: Blowero on Jan 22, 2018, 01:21PMI'm confused. In Henry George Fischer's book, he says a Schnitzer mouthpiece is with a Schnitzer Bb tenor in a museum in Nice, and that both bear the mark of the Schnitzer family, as well as a bass made by Jobst Schnitzer. There is a photo of the mouthpiece and it does appear to have a house mark on it. Is that all wrong, or is that a different mouthpiece? I realize it's an old book, but it does have a photo so I have to assume this does exist.

Yes, this is a different one. Both the anonymous instrument and the mouthpiece in question here are in a collection in Verona, along with a beautifully engraved and decorated Schnitzer trombone, which has several crooks and tuning bits, as well as a double walled, telescopic outer slide. If I recall correctly it puts it in F when all the bell section crooks are added and the outer outer slide is pulled all the way out. It is one of the rare surviving trombones that has a ball ornament on the bell stem. That instrument was restored by the Thein brothers in the 80s or 90s and was the subject of a lengthy and detailed (and very interesting) article in the HBSJ a few years ago. Egger has a model based on that instrument. I'm not 100% sure but I think the mouthpiece they make to go with it, which they call their Schnitzer model, is based on the mouthpiece in the same collection in Verona - it only has Nürnberg engraved on it and it is not clear that it is actually by Schnitzer, it could well be from the anonymous trombone. Not that it makes a big difference who made it, I think it is similar in style and construction to the extant Schnitzer mouthpieces. Maybe Nate will see this thread and chimes in, I don't know much about it.
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Post by ttf_Stan » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:57 pm

Quote from: heinz gries on Jan 22, 2018, 01:59PMBack to my topic. I will buy one with a roundet rim and test it on my modern alto.
Perhabs the shallow cup gives a nice alto sound. Image

I stuck it in a 36H and it worked quite well.
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Post by ttf_Le.Tromboniste » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:30 pm

Quote from: heinz gries on Jan 22, 2018, 01:59PMBack to my topic. I will buy one with a roundet rim and test it on my modern alto.
Perhabs the shallow cup gives a nice alto sound. Image

I had to play alto on Schumann 3 with a modern orchestra last summer, on very short notice (played second for the rehearsal and dress rehearsal and got told about 18 hours before the concert that I was going to play alto instead...). Hadn't used my modern alto mouthpiece for over a year. Stuck in my classical alto mouthpiece with some floss around the shank, actually sounded better than I ever had with my modern mouthpiece! Clear, bright tone, had no problem playing the chorale really soft while still having colorful tone and having that Eb just float out. Was wonderful and eye opening!
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Post by ttf_heinz gries » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:29 am

Quote from: Le.Tromboniste on Jan 22, 2018, 04:30PMI had to play alto on Schumann 3 with a modern orchestra last summer, on very short notice (played second for the rehearsal and dress rehearsal and got told about 18 hours before the concert that I was going to play alto instead...). Hadn't used my modern alto mouthpiece for over a year. Stuck in my classical alto mouthpiece with some floss around the shank, actually sounded better than I ever had with my modern mouthpiece! Clear, bright tone, had no problem playing the chorale really soft while still having colorful tone and having that Eb just float out. Was wonderful and eye opening!

that makes me courage Image
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Post by ttf_baroquetrombone » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:26 am

Quote from: renbaroque on Jan 22, 2018, 11:37AMWell, I wanted to leave names out of it but yes, that's Greg. I, too, have played with him in a number of occasions. Erik should be able to tell for sure, but I highly doubt that he ever played a 5G sized mouthpiece on his sackbut. His old VdH is much smaller, and in this video he is definitely playing a Schnitzer copy. Just out of curiosity, what was his opinion on your switching to Lasalle mouthpiece?

Greg has never played a mouthpiece that big (5G) on a renaissance, baroque, or classical trombone.

He does use the two part mouthpiece more and more (is it Nate's or and Egger? I can't remember) regularly on tenor, but he still uses the VdH too. He also uses (MY) VdH on alto exclusively.





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Post by ttf_anonymous » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:01 pm

I'm breaking my long-term lurkage on this forum to chime in on this very interesting argument.

I'd like to address the term "purist." I'd say I'm a purist, if that means I think serious historical trombone players -- meaning, players who strive to play early music professionally and in a historically informed way -- should, as part of that endeavor, strive to obtain the closest setup possible (within the confines of availability and affordability) to what we currently know about the equipment that would have been used for the music at hand.

There are several reasons for this, some of which have already been elaborated upon by others in this thread. Historically, while it's true (like every esoteric subject) that we don't know everything, we do know a heck of a lot. Dalla Casa and Ortiz have been mentioned here, but they are two sources among many that, when combined, can form a pretty enlightening skeleton for the body of Renaissance trombone technique.  That, combined with diagrams of trombones and drawings of mouthpieces, gives us too much information to be thrown away under the guise that we'll "simply never really know" (paraphrase).

Drawing from that deep well of information, we can come to the conclusion that Renaissance sackbut players would have striven for an aesthetic of vocality, going so far as to imitate, as subtly as possible, the inflections, phrasing, and articulations of singers (this was ubiquitous for wind instruments and even plucked and keyboard instruments -- see Ganassi, Diruta, Agazzari, et al).  We also know that the existing drawings portray a flat-rimmed mouthpiece, and that those vocal articulations are easier to achieve on mouthpieces with flat rims.

For this reason, professionals advocate that the best way to perform in a historically informed way is to come as close as possible to that ideal.  There are compromises that sometimes must be made -- e.g. I bought the Egger I could afford 13 years ago, which has a nickel slide -- but the mouthpiece, more than anything, effects the physical technique and resulting sound of the music.  It is for that reason that "purists" exist.  For better or worse, the mouthpiece can indeed effect the blend between players, especially if some in the section are playing on historical mouthpieces and others are not.

For what it's worth, neither me nor my colleagues have ever disparaged a player who doesn't play on the same setup as we do (which, by the way, is different from person to person).  What matters is how that person sounds, how much effort they have put into learning the musical style, and how much they blend with their peers. Where I have seen irritation arise is when there is a situation in which a player simply takes an early music gig without seeming to have put much effort into learning the style of the music.

Outside of professional historically informed period instrument situations, I'm a serious advocate for coming as close as possible to the ideal within one's means.  This means, for example, that students who play only modern trombones still study historical performance practice techniques in order to, say, perform Gabrieli in the correct style.  Sackbut enthusiasts and beginners, in my opinion, will benefit even more by playing a historical mouthpiece with a less historical instrument than vice versa, in order to get a real feel for the differences in air usage and articulation right away.

Professionals who regularly switch between modern and early trombones will have to make a compromise in some way.  It is very difficult to switch between modern and historical mouthpieces.  It is also difficult to achieve the techniques of the Renaissance masters on a round-rimmed sackbut mouthpiece.  The most technically facile trombonists will come close, but it will never get all the way there.  So, a choice has to be made.  For me, I've made the choice of the flat rim, because that'll take me closest to where I want to be musically, and it's how I can most closely achieve a historic sound.
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Post by ttf_jack » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:35 am

These quotes are from lizatrmbn:

Quote I think serious historical trombone players -- meaning, players who strive to play early music professionally and in a historically informed way -- should, as part of that endeavor, strive to obtain the closest setup possible (within the confines of availability and affordability) to what we currently know about the equipment that would have been used for the music at hand.  Image

Quotewe can come to the conclusion that Renaissance sackbut players would have striven for an aesthetic of vocality, going so far as to imitate, as subtly as possible, the inflections, phrasing, and articulations of singers  Image

QuoteWhat matters is how that person sounds, how much effort they have put into learning the musical style, and how much they blend with their peers.   Image


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Post by ttf_kbiggs » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:28 pm

I was thinking about this thread earlier today, and I started to wonder: How many shawm or dulcian players use modern reeds on their instruments? How many string players use steel rather than gut strings? I know trumpet players use vented instruments to play, but the trend seems to be towards trumpets without vent or nodal holes.

Just thinking...
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