University of Tasmania
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The development of the trombone as an ensemble instrument during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

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posted on 2023-05-26, 17:50 authored by Mumford, MH
This thesis examines the emergence, decline and re-emergence of the trombone as relating to its use within ensemble music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It consists of three chapters which include a historical study into the technical development of the trombone, the growth of performance practices pertaining to th~ instrument and the usage of the trombone within ensembles during this period. The thesis begins with a discussion on the general knowledge of the trombone's early history and physical development which is mainly drawn from secondary sources. It is concerned with the great Ni.imburg instrument manufacturing families, trombone construction specifications and the working mechanics of the instrument. The second chapter involves a study on the development of the trombone's technical growth in relation to range, technical facility and its ability to control volume, intonation and tone colour. A~so contained is an examination of articulation and ornamentation practices that were likely to be employed by trombonists during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The chapter continues with investigation of the various soloistic practices of the instrument. These are supported with musical examples taken from primary sources dealing with topics covering the instrument's vocal sound, technical ability and its employment by baroque and classical composers. The third and final chapter of the thesis contains a detailed description of trombone ensemble practices, based on research from primary sources. These include the trombone's participation in the brilliant Venetian polychoral music as well as it's use in the major vocal works of the mid- to late Baroque. It also covers the instrument's involvement in Baroque opera, oratorio and vocal chamber works. The chapter continues on with a discussion on the role of the trombone within purely instrumental groups such as Stadtpfeifer, court and church ensembles. The final section of chapter three contains a thorough investigation dealing with the decline and resurgence of the trombone from mid-seventeenth to the late eighteenth century. Included is a careful consideration of possible reasons , behind the decline in the instrument's usage as well as its continued survival during this period. Supporting this section is a study of the trombone's presence in the works of Handel, Mozart and Gluck. The chapter concludes with a brief statement on the importance of trombone usage within the Moravian Church of eighteenth century colonial America. This study arrives at a clearer understanding of the trombone's development, importance, and usage during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Four general conclusions are reached. First, the trombone due to its superior construction was able to meet the high musical standards defined by the early Baroque thus ensuring the instrument's high position of honour. Second, due to this honoured position, trombonists experienced great growth in the area of technical facility encouraging composers of the Baroque to include the instrument in many of their works. Third, the trombone's close association with religious music was undoubtedly a major cause for its decline and the instrument was only saved from total obscurity by early eighteenth-century Viennese court composers. These were men who both valued the trombone's reputation and realised its potential. Finally the trombone actually flourished in a few localities during a time when many historians considered the instrument to be obsolete. It is hoped that this study will contribute to the resurgent interest in the trombone's historical involvement during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


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Copyright 1988 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (MMus)--University of Tasmania, 1989. Bibliography: leaves 83-88

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