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Developing a historical model for trombone performance practice in German and Austrian orchestral works from the period 1785--1830

Timothy Edward Howe, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The primary purpose of this study was to develop a historically informed performance practice for the modern orchestral trombonist when performing German and Austrian orchestral works from the late Classical and early Romantic era, 1785–1830. In order to form this model, this dissertation provides a historical overview of trombone use in opera, sacred, concert orchestras and military bands from 1785–1830, a discussion of anecdotal evidence from personal accounts and pedagogical treatises, an examination of trombone design during the period and its acoustical ramifications, and an exploration trombone writing in selected examples from the music literature. The final section of the dissertation consists of a side-by-side comparison recording with commentary of selected trombone excerpts from Mozart, Beethoven, Weber and Schubert on a modern large bore tenor trombone and a replica of a period trombone made in 1794 by Huschauer in Vienna. ^ Based on this discussion, the following model for performance practice was proposed. The sound should centered, compact and capable of producing a warm tone in soft passages and a bright sound with a solid core in louder dynamics. Dynamics should be slightly softer than written, but still display the full spectrum of dynamic levels, including very loud and penetrating dynamics when appropriate. Articulation should have a clear, square front and pitches should be sustained at the written dynamic unless indicated otherwise. Special attention should be given to the topic presented in the passage by the composer, i.e. sacred, Ombra, or military, to accurately portray the expressive intent of the composer and the role of the trombone in the passage. There is a case for the upper trombone part being played on either alto or tenor trombone depending on the context. In addition, some consideration and research should be given the issue of adding trombones ad libitum in certain cases to works from this period without trombones in the score.* ^ *This dissertation inlcudes a CD that is multimedia (contains text and other applications not available in printed format). The CD requires the following system application: Windows MediaPlayer or RealPlayer. ^

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Howe, Timothy Edward, "Developing a historical model for trombone performance practice in German and Austrian orchestral works from the period 1785--1830" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3074115.