Tuesday, January 26, 2021

A Short History of the Earliest Trumpet Books

Jean-Baptiste Arban (1825–1889) published his Grande méthode complète pour cornet à pistons et de saxhorn in Paris in 1864. This book remains one of the most important (and frequently used) trumpet books in the world -- but there are many books that came before it, most of which are often overlooked. This week's blog will explore 14 trumpet books that antedate Arban's method. When possible, external links are provided to the full text of the resource.

Excerpt from Magnus Thomsen's trumpet book from 1598

Magnus Thomsen: Music book for trumpet, 1598.
Henrich Lübeck: Music book for trumpet, 1598.

The earliest books of trumpet music are those by Henrich Lübeck and Magnus Thomsen. These are both dated to 1598. Described by Michael Gale in his Historic Brass Society Journal article (cited below) as "manuscript notebooks," these books contain pedagogical exercises as well as notated trumpet ensemble music that would have been normally improvised. It's peculiar that these books remain somewhat unknown, as they are both scanned and available as free downloads at the Royal Library of Copenhagen website (external link). The existence of these two books has been known for some time, and Peter Downey published editions of the works of Lübeck and Thomsen in his 1983 doctoral dissertation (cited below).

Casare Bendinelli, Tutta L'arte Della Trombetta, 1614.

Casare Bendinelli (c. 1542–1617) was from Verona, Italy. He served as principal trumpet of the Viennese court from 1567–1580 and then played for court in Munich, Germany until his death. His book, Tutta L'arte Della Trombetta manifests the first example of clarino music for trumpet. This book was compiled in 1614 and  it is generally regarded as a collection of music from his time working at the Bavarian Court in Munich. His book notes the rules for trumpet ensemble improvisation and contains over 300 sonatas.

Replica of Bendinelli's trumpet by Anton Schnitzer (Photo Courtesy Jared Wallis)

A trumpet owned by Bendinelli survives to this day; it was designed by Anton Schnitzer in Nuremberg, and Bendenelli gave it to the Accademia Filarmonica of Verona in 1614, the same year he compiled his book.

Jared Wallis demonstrates his Schnitzer replica (Photo Courtesy Jared Wallis)

Title page to Fantini's trumpet method

Girolamo Fantini, Modo per Imparare a sonare di Tromba, 1638.

Girolamo Fantini (ca. 1600-1678) published Modo per imparare a sonare di tromba..., in 1638. The English translation of the full title is "Method for learning to play the trumpet in a warlike way as well as musically; With the organ, with a mute, with a harpsichord, and every other instrument." According to Igino Conforzi (in the HBSJ article cited below), five print copies and one manuscript survive.

This book is important for many reasons, including Fantini's use of unequal articulation syllables, such as te ghe and ta da, as well as his expansion of the instrument's range. The music in the book also includes some notes outside the harmonic series. Modern players who want to learn the valveless natural trumpet most certainly should explore this resource.

Henry Meredith's 1984 doctoral dissertation (external link) is a thorough study, translation, and edition of Fantini's book. 

Excerpt from Hyde's Preceptor

J. Hyde A New and Complete Preceptor for the Trumpet and Bugle Horn, 1795.

The first English trumpet method was written by John Hyde in 1795. The contents of this book were recently recorded by the University of Kentucky Baroque Trumpet Ensemble (available here on Itunes: external link)

Hyde's book contains solos for trumpet and bugle, as well as trumpet ensemble music for two, three, and four natural trumpets. It also includes  pedagogical instructions as well as repertoire for the English slide trumpet. 

University of Kentucky DMA student Clinton Linkmeyer completed a modern edition of this book as part of his doctoral dissertation, which is available here. Currently, the manuscript is available for free online via the University of California (external link).

Johann Ernst Altenburg. Versuch einer Anleitung zur heroisch-musikalischen Trompeter- und Paukerkunst (An Essay on the Introduction to Heroic and Musical Trumpeters' and Kettledrummers' Art), 1795.

Johann Ernst Altenburg (1734–1801) is perhaps the final representative of the golden age of natural trumpet playing. While it was published in 1795, it is generally agreed that it was written around 25 years earlier. It is a must-have for any serious trumpet student. The book offers details of the trumpet guilds and fellowships, and provides information on systems of training. (Teachers were to take on only one student at a time, the student lived with the teacher and took several lessons per day during a two-year apprenticeship.) It provides a detailed account of the instruments, roles, and techniques in the trumpet's history. The full text of the book can be found online at this external link.

Coverpage to Dauverné's trumpet method

François Dauverné (1799–1874)
 Methode pour la trompette (1857)

François Georges Auguste Dauverné (1799–1874) was the first trumpet professor at the Paris Conservatory. His famous pupil, Jean-Baptiste Arban (1825–1889) was the first cornet professor. 

Natural trumpet quartet in Dauverné's method

Dauverné's book includes pedagogical material for the valvless natural trumpet as well as music for the early valved trumpet. The full text of Dauverné's method is available at this external link.

19th Century Books

Excerpt from Buhl's method

Buhl, David, 
Théorie ou tablature de la trompette à pistons

In both its title and contents, Buhl's trumpet method clearly represents the transition from natural trumpets to valved trumpets, though Buhl himself did write for valveless trumpets as well. In fact, David Buhl is perhaps best known as the composer of Salut aux étendards, a cavalry trumpet's call that was later adapted by John Williams to become the modern Olympic Fanfare theme -- recorded here by the University of Kentucky Baroque Trumpet Ensemble (external link).

Fingering chart for three-valve trumpet in Buhl's method

Buhl's method includes a standard fingering chart for a three-valve piston trumpet that closely matches modern fingering charts in use today. The full text of Buhl's method is available at at this external link.

Cacciamani, Raniero, Instruction method for the valve trumpet, 1853.

Another 19th century book is Raniero Cacciamani's Instruction method for the valve trumpet. I am personally the least familiar with this book, and was unable to obtain a complete copy for this blog post, but according to Friedrich Anzenberger's 1993 Historic Brass Society Journal article (external link) the book is divided into three sections: a section for natural trumpet, a section confined to C major, and a section that utilizes the full chromaticism of the valved trumpet. Exercises from Cacciamani's book are included in Ed Tarr's The Art of Baroque Trumpet Playing (Volume One).

Concert Announcement for the World Premiere of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto

Keyed Trumpet Method Books

It is generally well known that Anton Weidinger performed on a Classical keyed trumpet and that both the Haydn and Hummel trumpet concertos were written for him and this instrument. However, it seems that in many circles it is believed that the keyed trumpet's usage was limited to Mr. Weidinger and these two pieces. This is not true. At least five method books were published that included pedagogical material for the keyed trumpet. These include:

Araldi, Giuseppe. Metodo per Tromba. (Method for trumpet), 1835.
Asioli, Bonifazio. Transunto del Principj Elemntari di Musica...E Breve Metodo per Tromba con Chiavi. (A survey of the rudiments of music... and a short method for keyed trumpet), 1825.
Nemetz, Andreas. Allgemeine Trompeten-Schule. (General trumpet method), 1828.
Roy and Muller. R. Cocks and Co.'s Series of Modern Tutors for Wind Instruments with New and Complete Scales...Tutor for the Keyed and Valve Trumpet, with Airs and Duets., ca. 1839
Roy, Eugène. Mèthod de Trompette sans Clefs and avec Clefs (Method for the trumpet with and without keys), 1824.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are interested in historically informed performance practice, or just have a general interest in the history of trumpet pedagogy, these are important and accessible resources. I hope you have found this short history of our instrument's earliest written resources helpful, and encourage you to follow the external links to explore these books in greater detail.

Jason Dovel is associate professor of trumpet at the University of Kentucky and a Yamaha Performing Artist. He is host of the annual UK Summer Trumpet Institute held every June in Lexington, KY (USA).

Sources/For Further Reading:

Friedrich Anzenberger, Method Books for Natural Trumpet in the 19th Century: An Annotated Bibliography, 1993 Historic Brass Society Journal (external link

Igino Conforzi, "Monarch of the Trumpet": New Light On His Works (Historic Brass Society Journalexternal link

Peter Downey, The Trumpet and its Role in the Music of the Renaissance and Early Baroque, 3 vols. (Ph.D. diss. The Queen's University of Belfast, 1983)

Michael Gale, "Remnants of Some Late Sixteenth-Century Trumpet Ensemble Music (Historic Brass Society Journal: external link

Henry Meredith, Girolamo Fantini's Trumpet Method: A Practical Edition, 1984.  (external link)

Edward Tarr, The Art of Baroque Trumpet Playing, Schott Publications, 1999.

John Wallace, The Trumpet (external link

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