Vienna Talk 2015 on Music Acoustics
“Bridging the Gaps”     16–19 September 2015


The late keyed trumpet

V. Steiger, Adrian 

Proceedings of the Third Vienna Talk on Music Acoustics (2015), p. 97


The keyed trumpet is the instrument type from the trumpet’s transitional era (1750–1850) that has hitherto been best explored (for examples see [1]–[4]). The reason for this wealth of research is the popularity of the trumpet concertos of Haydn and Hummel, both originally composed for Anton Weidinger’s keyed trumpet. Statistically, the extant sources draw a contrary picture, however. Weidinger rarely played these concertos and did not pass them on to other players. In fact, we have fewer extant sources for the keyed trumpet (methods, compositions and instruments) than for the other trumpet types such as the invention, stopped and slide trumpets, or for the keyed bugle or ophicleide. Two sources have hitherto remained unknown to scholars, however. They date from the end of the keyed trumpet’s use in musical practice (before its 1970s revival) and are the focus of this paper: a nine-keyed trumpet and a 123-page method. The nine-keyed trumpet is signed “Carl Gottl[ob]. Schuster in Neukirchen” and is today held by the Burri Collection in Berne. No other extant trumpet has nine or more keys. Its key touchpieces are organized in two levels, after the manner of a keyboard. The 123-page “Metodo e Studio” for the keyed trumpet was written by the Italian brass player Giuseppe Pignieri. It addresses an unknown type of four-keyed trumpet and includes a large number of studies in all keys. Copies are held by the Biblioteca del Conservatorio di Musica at Milan. They are handwritten by a “copisteria” in Naples. These sources on the one hand serve to underline the basic imperfection of the keyed trumpet, but on the other hand they demonstrate that as late as up to ca. 1840 some musicians and instrument makers believed that innovation might still help to realize the potential of the keyed trumpet. [1] Dahlqvist, R., The Keyed Trumpet and Its Greatest Virtuoso, Anton Weidinger, The Brass Press, Nashville, 1975. [2] Anzenberger, F., “Method Books for Keyed Trumpet in the 19th Century: An Annotated Bibliography”, Historic Brass Society Journal 6, 1994, pp. 1–10. [3] Klaus, S.K., “The Keyed Trumpet”, Trumpets and other High Brass, vol. 2, Vermillion, 2013, pp. 158–191. [4] Bacciagaluppi, C., Skamletz, M., editors, Romantic Brass Symposium 1, Proceedings, Bern, 2015 (in press). Papers concerning the keyed trumpet by Dahlqvist, Klaus, Tarr, Egger, Kováts, Rouček, Callmar and v. Steiger.


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  • Trumpet
  • Keyed trumpet
  • Sources for the keyed trumpet
  • Giuseppe Pignieri
  • Carl Gottlob Schuster

  • Status
    Invited Paper
    not reviewed

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