Trombone

slide instrument bell pistons produced formerly century

TROMBONE, a musical instrument of brass. It has a cupped mouthpiece, and is formed of two principal parts - the bell, the bore of which gradually widens, and the slide, which is composed of two cylindrical tubes parallel to each other, upon which two other tubes, communicating at their lower extremities by a pipe curved in a half-circle, glide without loss of air. The mouthpiece is adapted to one of the upper ends of the slide and the bell to the other end. When the slide, which is moved by the right hand, is closed, the instrument is at its highest pitch ; the note is lowered in proportion as the column of air is lengthened by drawing out the slide.

Formerly the trombone was known as the sack-but ; its modern designation - great trumpet - comes from the Italian. The Germans call it posaune. It is difficult to say where or at what epoch the instrument was invented. In a manuscript of the 9th century, preserved at Boulogne, there is a drawing of an instrument which bears a great resemblance to a trombone deprived of its bell. Virdung says little about the trombone, but he gives an engraved representation of it, under the name of busaun, which shows that early in the 16th century it was almost the same as that employed in our day. By that time the trombone had come into vogue in England : the band of musicians in the service of Henry VIII. included ten sack-but players, and under Elizabeth, in 1587, there were six. English instrumentalists then enjoyed a' certain reputation and were sought for by foreign courts ; thus in 1604 Charles III, of Lorraine sought to recruit his sackbut players from English bands. Praitorius 2 classes the trombones in a complete family, the relative tonalities of which were thus composed :-1 alt-posaun, 4 gemeine rechte posaunen, 2 quart-posaunen,1 octav-posaun,-8 in all. The altposaun was in D. With the slide closed it gave the first of the accompanying harmonics: Cicero (1880)Ayala's Angel, Dr IVortle's School (1881) ; Frau Frohmann, Lord Palmerston, The Fixed Period, Kept in the Dark, Marion Fay (1882) ; Mr Scarborough's Family, The Land Leaguers (1883); and An Old Man's Love (1884).

How this enormous total was achieved in spite of official that latterly he turned out so many words in a quarter of an hour, and wrote at this rate so many hours a day. He divided every book beforehand into so many days' work and checked off the tallies as he wrote.

A life thus spent could not be very eventful, and its events may be summed up rapidly. In 1858 he went to Egypt also on post-office business, and at the end of 1859 he got himself transferred from ireland to the eastern district of England. Here he took a house at Waltham. He took an active part in the establishment of The Fortnightly Review in 1865; he was editor of St Paul's for some time after 1867 ; and at the end of that year he resigned his position in the post-office. He stood for Beverley and was defeated; he received from his old department special missions to America and elsewhere (lie had already gone to America in the midst of the Civil War). He went to Australia in 1871, and before Of Trollope's personal character it is not necessary to say much. Strange as his conception of official duty may seem, it was evidently quite honest and sincere, and, though he is said to have been as an official popular neither with superiors nor inferiors, he no doubt did much good work. Privately he was much liked and much disliked, - a great deal of real kindness being accompanied by a blustering and overbearing manner, and an egotism, not perhaps more deep than other men's, but more vociferous. His literary work needs more notice. N'othing of it but the novels is remarkable for merit. His Cwsar and the Cicero are curious examples of a man's undertaking work for which lie was not in the least fitted. Thackeray exhibits (though Trollope appears to have both admired Thackeray as an artist and liked him as a man) grave faults of taste and judgment and a complete lack of real criticism. The books of travel are not good, and of a kind not good. Nina Balcdlea and Linda Tressel, published anonymously and as experiments in the romantic style, have been better thought of by the author and by some competent judges than by the public or the publishers. Brown, Jones, and Robinson was still, more disliked, and is certainly very bad as a whole, but has touches of curious originality in parts. The rest of the novels have been judged very differently by different persons. There is no doubt that their enormous volume prejudiced readers against them even long before the author let the public into the secret of their manufacture, which has made the prejudice deeper. There is also no doubt that Trollope seldom or never creates a character of the first merit (Mr Crawley in the Last Chronicle of Banat is the one possible exception), and that not one of his books can be called a work of genius. At the same time no one probably has produced anything like such a volume of anything like such merit. He claims for himself that his characters are always more or less alive, and they are. After his first failures he never produced anything that was not a faithful and sometimes a very amusing transcript of the sayings and doings of possible men and women. His characters are never marionettes, much less sticks. He has some irritating mannerisms, notably a trick of repetition of the same form of words. He is sometimes absolutely vulgar, - that is to say, he does not deal with low life, but shows, though always robust and pure in morality, a certain coarseness of taste. He is constantly rather trivial, and perhaps nowhere out of the Beset series (which, however, is of itself no inconsiderable work) has he produced books that will live. The very faithfulness of his representation of a certain phase of thought, of cultivation, of society, uninformed as it is by any higher spirit, in the long run damaged, as it had first helped, the popularity of his work. But, Musica getutscht and auszgezogen, Basel, 1511.

nits obtained by leaving the instrument at its shortest length - that is, with the slide close up ; it in fact comprises seven positions, which are obtained by shifting the slide as many lengths and in such a way that each of these produces a series of harmonics a semitone lower than the length which has preceded. This system, so simple and rational, might have been expected always to serve for the basis of the technique of the instrument ; but from the middle of the 18th century the art of playing the trombone became the object of purely empiric teaching. Only four positions were made use of.2 By the first - that is, with the slide close up - there was obtained from the ordinary trombone, then called the tenor trombone, the first series of the subjoined harmonics (the numerals indicating the order): I l produced In thus lowering by semitones, the and the fourth sounds furnished by the four positions gave the tenor trombone a diatonic scale from This scale was formed with notes that could to be perfectly just, but the result would have been less satisfactory to the ear if the player had strictly observed the rules laid down by the teaching of that period for the production of the chromatic intervals. Thus to pass from a note furnished by one of the four positions to another a semitone lower it was necessary to lengthen the slide by two fingers ; if the semitone higher was required the slide had to be shortened to the same extent.2 A consideration of the laws affecting lengths of pipes will show the viciousness of that rule.

Of all wind instruments the trombone has perhaps been least modified in form ; changes have occasionally been attempted, but for the most part with only trifling success. The innovation which has had the most vogue dates from the end of the 18th century ; it consisted in bending the tube of the bell in a half circle above the head of the executant, which produced a very bizarre effect. It also gave rise to very serious inconveniences : by destroying the regularity of the proportions of the bell it prejudicially affected the quality of tone and intonation of the instrument. For a long time the curved bell with its serpent's mask was maintained in military music, and it is only about twenty years ago that it was completely given up. By giving a half turn more to the bell tube its opening was directed to the back of the executant ; but this form, in fashion for a little while about 1830, was not long adhered to, and the trombone reassumed its primitive form, which is still maintained.. As appears from apatent de- posited by Stolzel and Bliimel at Berlin on 12th April 1818, the application of ventils or pistons was then made for the first times The ventils, at first two in number, effected a decided lengthening of the instrument. The first augmented the length of the tube by a tone, lowering by as much the natural harmonics. The second produced a similar effect for a semitone, and the simultaneous employment of the two pistons resulted in the depression of a tone and a half. The principle, therefore, of the employment of ventils or pistons is the same as that which governs the use of slides. For instance, a trombone is provided with three pistons, and without their help it produces the first of the following sets of harmonies (the numbers indicating the order).

Then by pressing down the second 0)E piston twe obtain a lengthening of the column of air that lowers the init produce the second set of harmonics (2) Der sick selbst informirende Musicus, Augsburg, 1762, by Johann Jacob Lotter.

(0 finally, uniting the three pistons lowers the trombone three tones and a half, as shown in (7).

the slide, believing that it gives a facility of emission that they cannot obtain with a piston trombone. For this illustration of the use of pistons, we have taken a tenor trombone in Bb ; the flat tonalities having been preferred for military music since the commencement of the 19th century, the pitch of each variety of trombones has been raised a semitone. At present six trombones are more or less in use, viz., the alto trombone in F, the alto in Eb (formerly in D), the tenor in By (formerly in A), the bass in G, the bass in F (formerly iu E), the bass in Ej (formerly in D). This transposition has no reference to the number of vibrations that may be officially or tacitly adopted as the standard pitch of any country or locality. A trombone an octave lower than the tenor has recently been reintroduced into the orchestra, principally by Wagner. The different varieties just cited are constructed with pistons or slides, as the case may he. (V. M.)

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