Playing with History

This blog post consists of links to online resources for presentations at the 2016 International Trumpet Guild Conference on June 2, 2016 in Anaheim, California, as well as the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Tech in October 2016. Enjoy!


I. Trumpet History Overview

Trumpet History Timeline on Stan Curtis’s blog, Trumpet Journey

Sea Shell trumpets at

Joseph Kaminski’s HBS article on Asante Ivory Trumpets

Kelly: The Trumpeter of Krakow

Bruce Dickey (cornetto) – Palestina: Nigra Sum

Monteverdi: L’Orfeo (Jordi Savall, conductor)

Monteverdi: Vespers – 1. Deus in adjutorium (Jean Tubery, La Fenice)

Purcell: Canzona from Funeral Music for Queen Mary (featuring the Flat trumpet, early slide trumpet).

Haydn: Trumpet Concerto (Mvt. 1) – David Guerrier, keyed trumpet

Ralph Dudgeon: Introduction to Keyed Bugle

Rossini: “Ah, quel giorno ognor rammento” from Semiramide (Marilyn Horne) – the fast section starts around 3:02.

Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 (3rd Mvt.) – Jean Francois Madeuf, natural trumpet

II. Introduction to Period Instruments

Historic Brass Society

The Baroque Trumpet Shop (Barry Bauguess)

Edward Tarr: The Art of Baroque Trumpet Playing

Dauverné: Methode pour la Trompete (1857) – PDF version available from

International Trumpet Making Workshop (Barclay, Münkwitz, Seraphinoff)

West & Smith: How to Play the Cornett

Christopher Monk Instruments (Jeremy West)

Cornetto Making Workshop (Sam Goble)

Robb Stewart Brass Instruments (vintage cornets, trumpets, and so much more!)

III. Resources

Sabine Klaus: Trumpets and Other High Brass

John Butt: Playing with History

Carter (Ed): A Performer’s Guide to Seventeenth-Century Music

Grun: Timetables of History – Digital Sheet Music for Trumpet (especially historic methods)

Hugh Sung: From Paper to Pixels (Guide to digital sheet music)

AirTurn – Hugh Sung’s bluetooth foot pedals for turning pages on tablets

Koehler: Fanfares and Finesse

Koehler: A Dictionary for the Modern Trumpet Player

Haydn: Concerto in E-flat Major (edited by Elisa Koehler, published by Carl Fischer Music)

Keyed Trumpet and Keyed Bugle

Most trumpeters know the difference between the keyed trumpet and the keyed bugle, but many outside The Family don’t know. As I’m working on new performing editions of the Haydn and Hummel trumpet concerti with historical commentary for Carl Fischer Music (forthcoming later this year), I came across some fine resources on YouTube concerning the keyed trumpet and the keyed bugle that I wanted to share.

The keyed trumpet was invented by the Austrian trumpeter Anton Weidinger in 1793 and the keyed bugle was patented by Joseph Haliday in 1810. Haydn and Hummel wrote their concerti for Weidinger and his keyed trumpet, but the instrument had a short lifespan and was soon eclipsed by valved brass instruments, especially the cornet. The keyed bugle, on the other hand, was embraced by many soloists and played a seminal role in the formation of early wind bands and brass bands.

To better understand the differences, here are some good resources from YouTube. Click on the underlined links below to view the videos on YouTube: David Guerrier’s performance of the Haydn concerto on keyed trumpet and Ralph Dudgeon’s excellent demonstration of the keyed bugle. Also, be sure to check out Dudgeon’s definitive book on the keyed bugle and Reine Dahlqvist’s booklet on the keyed trumpet. Most recently, Bryan Proksch has published two fascinating articles in the 2014 and 2015 issues of the Historic Brass Society Journal concerning Weidinger, the keyed trumpet, and his relationship with Haydn.


Arban Method Page Numbers

When Joseph Jean-Baptiste Laurent Arban (1825-1889) wrote his Complete Conservatory Method for Cornet in 1864, I wonder if he knew that it would go on to become the world’s most influential work of brass pedagogy. Over the years I have accumulated several different editions of and excerpts from what is affectionately known as “The Trumpet Bible.”

2016-01-03 12.59.51

And I am not the only one. There are versions for trombone, tuba and euphonium, as well as several different versions for the trumpet (or cornet).

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 is to work through the entire Arban method using Eric Bolvin’s book, The Arban Manual, as a guide. Another one of my resolutions is to write more blog posts this year, after having only produced two posts over the past three years. But there’s a reason for my pathetic lack of blog posts: I wrote two books (Fanfares and Finesse: A Performer’s Guide to Trumpet History and Literature, and A Dictionary for the Modern Trumpet Player).

Anyway, Bolvin’s book takes a musician through the Arban method in a series of 69 lessons broken down into six categories of material (I. Long tones, flexibility; II. Intervals, arpeggios; III. Scales; IV. Articulation; V. Etudes, and VI. Songs, Duets, Solos). It’s a great way to get through a lot of material with a programmed schedule full of variety and some good advice along the way.

Bolvin’s Arban Manual refers to sections of the Arban method using page numbers from the classic edition published by Carl Fischer (Edited by Edwin Franko Goldman and Walter M. Smith) in 1936. These page numbers are universally known (interval studies begin on page 125, arpeggios start on page 142, etc.) and have remained the same in various revisions by Carl Fischer (the 1982 Claude Gordon annotated version, the spiral-bound 2005 Platinum Edition, for example), with adapted front matter pagination to retain the classic page references (triple tonguing begins on page 155!). Even Charles Colin’s edition of the Arban method retains the classic 1936 Carl Fischer page numbers.

Because I am working through the new edition of the Arban method published by Carl Fischer in 2013 (edited by Thomas Hooten and Jennifer Marotta), I quickly ran into a problem using Bolvin’s lesson plan: the page numbers aren’t the same. The new 2013 edition is freshly engraved in a more readable, spacious layout with larger type and improved line spacing (the Characteristic Studies are spread out on two pages, for example). I really like the new 2013 edition’s improved layout, but I’m discovering a few errors as I’m working through it. This is not surprising for a completely new engraving of the material.

After a week of cross referencing my old Arban book from high school with the new 2013 edition to find the right pages, I decided to sit down and create a reference table. I thought it would be useful resource for teachers working with students using the new edition who, like me, have most of the old page references memorized. A preview of the reference table appears below and you can download a free PDF copy by clicking on this link: Arban Page Numbers.

Arban Page Nos grab
A preview of my chart that reconciles the page numbers from the classic Carl Fischer edition of the Arban method with those of the new 2013 edition. Click the link in the paragraph above to download a free PDF version (WordPress won’t let me put the link in this caption).

If you’re interested in finding some digital editions, there is a public domain version of the Arban method available as a free PDF download available on the IMSLP site. It’s the original 1893 Carl Fischer edition broken into five parts. For the best new digital editions, head on over to Timothy Quinlan’s brilliant site, He carries several editions of the Arban method and excerpts from it, including both the classic 1936 Carl Fisher edition (Ed. Goldman and Smith) and the Charles Colin edition. Eric Bolvin’s Arban Manual is also available at qPress along with his other books.

Need some inspiration? Check out Rafael Mendez performing the single tongue exercises from the Arban method on YouTube. Happy practicing!



Newberry Band Concert – July 2014

It’s been two years since I have been able to contribute to this blog, but I’ve had a good excuse: I published two books, about which I’ll write more soon. In the meantime, here are all of the videos from a concert presented by Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band on July 12, 2014 after we recorded our first CD, which will be released soon (pending funding for post-production). The videos are posted in concert order; a copy of the concert program listing all of the repertoire and band members (on the second page) is available here: NVCB Concert Program 7-12-14. Enjoy!

Rafael Mendez on Film

In working on the final manuscript for A Dictionary for the Modern Trumpet Player (Scarecrow Press), I came across some terrific YouTube videos of the great Rafael Mendez that I wanted to capture here and share in an organized format. The big find is the complete film (in four parts) that Mendez made for the Mills Picture Corporation’s educational series, Concerts on Film, in 1956. The four parts are embedded below in the original sequence. The second installment begins with a brief overview of trumpet history where Mendez shows off the cornet he played as a boy growing up in Mexico. Be sure not to miss Mendez performing the Mexican Hat Dance – all in one breath, for 36 seconds! – at the end of the third installment.

According to the biography, Magnificent Mendez, by Jane Hickman and Del Lyren (Summit Records, 2005 second edition, p. 50), the 16 mm films were intended for high schools, universities, and public libraries as a way to showcase the great musicians of the twentieth century. It was an honor for Mendez to be chosen for the film on the trumpet because the musicians featured in other films were violinist Jascha Heiftetz, pianist Arthur Rubenstein, and guitarist Andres Segovia as well as cellists Pablo Casals and Gregor Piatigorsky. Mendez considered the film to be one of the highlights of his career.






Here are a few more Mendez clips. First up is a brief performance of the fast section of Mendez’s Samba Gitana from the Milton Berle Show in 1951 (check out his dance moves half way through), followed by a clip of his performance of “The Girl From Chihuahua” from the 1946 movie, Holiday in Mexico (starting with a fabulous cadenza). Finally, it’s a soulful performance of “El Gitano” from the 1958 film, Cowboy. Enjoy!




A Terrific Trumpet Blog

Stan Curtis
Stan Curtis playing a Baroque slide trumpet. (Photo by Elisa Koehler)

It’s Thanksgiving Weekend and I’m thankful for a terrific new trumpet blog by my brilliant colleague, Stanley Curtis ( In addition to serving as a trumpeter in the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C., Stan is gifted performer on both the natural trumpet and the cornetto as well as the modern Baroque trumpet with vent holes and any other member of the trumpet family, old or new. He has even performed the Haydn Trumpet Concerto on keyed trumpet. He earned a doctorate from Indiana University and was a prizewinner in the First Altenburg Baroque Trumpet Competition in 1995 in Bad Säckingen, Germany.

Stan’s blog is a reflection of his unique combination of musicianship and scholarship as well as his never-ending pursuit of excellence. It includes a comprehensive Trumpet History Timeline (complete with photos and video links), abundant educational content, and many useful links for trumpeters. For some reason, he decided to post An Interview with Elisa Koehler recently, but don’t let that stop you from checking out Stan’s fantastic blog. I will always be grateful to Stan for helping me to get started on my own journey in learning to play the natural trumpet and the cornetto several years ago. You’ll never meet a more humble, generous, and talented musician. But you should hear him play, too! Luckily, there are audio links of his fine performances on the blog. What are you waiting for? Go check out Stan’s Trumpet Journey Blog now! You’ll be glad you did.

Interesting Trumpet Videos Online

It’s been over a year since my last blog post, so I thought it was high time that I wrote something new here. What have I been doing all of this time? Well, I’m currently on sabbatical leave during the fall semester to finish two book projects. The first one is Fanfares and Finesse: A Performer’s Guide to Trumpet History and Literature for Indiana University Press and the other is A Dictionary for the Modern Trumpet Player for Scarecrow Press. The manuscript for the first one was submitted in September and is currently in the editing phase. I’m not sure when it will be published, but most likely sometime in 2013. The dictionary project is my main focus right now.

In the course of my research I came across a few YouTube videos that concern trumpet history that I wanted to share. The first two concern the annual summer natural trumpet workshop and present a vivid depiction of the process involved with making an instrument using historic processes. The last one is an excerpt from the Beatles Anthology series that features the late David Mason discussing the origins of the piccolo trumpet solo he played on the recording of Penny Lane.