Trombone ensemble formats

Post Reply
AndrewMeronek
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:09 pm
Location: Detroit area
Contact:

Trombone ensemble formats

Post by AndrewMeronek » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:17 am

I'm starting to work on some charts for a trombone quintet with the following setup:

Alto 1
Alto 2
Small bore tenor
Large bore tenor
Bass

Has anyone else worked with this structure? It's my approach to address my main criticism of standard trombone quartets, with 3 tenors and a bass, which I think is too monotambral, if that makes sense. Obviously, my setup here more closely resembles a traditional brass quintet, which is pretty versatile.

If anyone else has written for this, point me to the charts, please. :hi: I'd like to start up such a group and it'll be easier if I don't have to write *all* of the repertoire.

My particular interest is going to be microtonal, but not everything has to be.

Anyway, what other kinds of trombone ensembles do people like to listen to, not just to play in?
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
cigmar
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:56 am

Re: Trombone ensemble formats

Post by cigmar » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:37 am

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:17 am

My particular interest is going to be microtonal, but not everything has to be.
I'm curious to know how you would notate microtones.

Thanks
Doug Elliott
Posts: 400
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:12 pm

Re: Trombone ensemble formats

Post by Doug Elliott » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:53 am

Can I be in your group? :)
hyperbolica
Posts: 379
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:31 am
Location: hyperbolica@outlook.com

Re: Trombone ensemble formats

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:18 pm

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:17 am
I'm starting to work on some charts for a trombone quintet...
Very interesting. I'm pretty involved in a quartet, but also play in a tbone choir (typically 8 parts).

Our quartet works because we have 4 very different personal sounds. One guy plays a large bore straight with a very dark sound, but with good jazz inflection. Another has a pretty bright sound on a medium bore, another is kind of an average sound on a medium bore, and the bass is dark and velvety. I think groups trying to match sounds may be nice from an academic point of view, but musically, it works better if there are distinguishable voices. Your quintet mix will help ensure distinguishable voices. When I do some arranging, sometimes the 4 voices are limiting, especially in more complex harmonies. But the one thing I notice with all-trombone groups is that we always, sooner or later, start wanting percussion or auxiliary instruments of some kind. We have thought of everyone having some sort of foot-operated drum or hi-hat or organ pedal, or something, in lieu of adding new non-trombone playing members.

Best of luck to you and your group, I'd be very interested to hear some simple recordings of your compositions/arrangements when you get to that point. Sounds like fun!
AndrewMeronek
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:09 pm
Location: Detroit area
Contact:

Re: Trombone ensemble formats

Post by AndrewMeronek » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:29 pm

Doug Elliott wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:53 am
Can I be in your group? :)
If you can handle the commute, sure! :good:
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
AndrewMeronek
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:09 pm
Location: Detroit area
Contact:

Re: Trombone ensemble formats

Post by AndrewMeronek » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:35 pm

cigmar wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:37 am
I'm curious to know how you would notate microtones.

Thanks
There are several different ways. My preferred method (at least right now) is Mixed Sagittal. I have examples here:

https://andrewmeronek.com/music-tools/s ... ord-lists/

and the 'official' website is:

http://sagittal.org/

Other very good notations include Johnston notation:

http://www.tonalsoft.com/enc/j/johnston.aspx

and this handy Youtube video with one of his crazy scores:



and Helmholtz-Ellis notation:

http://www.marcsabat.com/pdfs/notation.pdf

https://www.plainsound.org/HEJI/
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
AndrewMeronek
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:09 pm
Location: Detroit area
Contact:

Re: Trombone ensemble formats

Post by AndrewMeronek » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:51 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:18 pm
Our quartet works because we have 4 very different personal sounds. One guy plays a large bore straight with a very dark sound, but with good jazz inflection. Another has a pretty bright sound on a medium bore, another is kind of an average sound on a medium bore, and the bass is dark and velvety. I think groups trying to match sounds may be nice from an academic point of view, but musically, it works better if there are distinguishable voices. Your quintet mix will help ensure distinguishable voices. When I do some arranging, sometimes the 4 voices are limiting, especially in more complex harmonies.
True, even 5 is sometimes limiting, but if the arranger knows their acoustics and how to drop/double pitches, this isn't as much of an issue.
But the one thing I notice with all-trombone groups is that we always, sooner or later, start wanting percussion or auxiliary instruments of some kind. We have thought of everyone having some sort of foot-operated drum or hi-hat or organ pedal, or something, in lieu of adding new non-trombone playing members.
My 'model' for this group is more like the string quartet linked above, not strictly jazz. Although, I'm not going quite so crazy with ear-bending structures as Johnston likes to.
Best of luck to you and your group, I'd be very interested to hear some simple recordings of your compositions/arrangements when you get to that point. Sounds like fun!
Thanks! I look forward to that point, too. :good:
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
AndrewMeronek
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:09 pm
Location: Detroit area
Contact:

Re: Trombone ensemble formats

Post by AndrewMeronek » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:40 pm

No suggestions?

Hickey's seems to have the biggest collection in their online catalog. Enough so that I don't want to go through and guess at which ones are good, although a few here and there are IMHO not what I want to do and a few IMHO look OK, and a lot of them don't have score samples. Has anyone played some of them and can recommend ones that are outstanding? I'm looking for ones that, even if they're written for 4 tenors and bass, are fairly rangey (unless they're outstanding in another way) so that they're relatively easy to cover with one or two altos when possible.
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
User avatar
torobone
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:14 pm
Location: Toronto

Re: Trombone ensemble formats

Post by torobone » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:08 pm

With 2 altos, you might be able to transcribe brass quintet music for the 5 bones. Altos play trumpet parts, higher tenor plays horn, and away you go.

Small bore tenor gets you comfortably to :trebleclef: :line3: . Might you consider one alto (unless you have 2 altos already lined up)?

We had a jazz bone quintet with a 3-piece rhythm section. We came close to getting it off the ground. We had 4 tenors and a bass. By using 4 tenors, the parts could be moved around so nobody got too tired or bored.
Martin Hubel
Tenors: 2009 Yamaha 891Z, 354 (loaned out)
Symphony tenors: 1972 Bach 42B, Yamaha 882 GOR (on loan to me)
Basses: 2011 Yamaha 830 Xeno, 1990ish Yamaha 322
AndrewMeronek
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:09 pm
Location: Detroit area
Contact:

Re: Trombone ensemble formats

Post by AndrewMeronek » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:36 pm

torobone wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:08 pm
By using 4 tenors, the parts could be moved around so nobody got too tired or bored.
Same idea with 2 altos, plus the adding timbres thing.

And yes, some brass quintet stuff could work. It depends on the range, as alto trombone are not trumpets and will not respond the same in different ranges. I'll take suggestions along these lines, too. :)
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
Post Reply

Return to “Composition, Arrangement, & Theory”