Use Of Trumpet In Bachs Mass In B Minor

.. fect an art. They did however tak reat pride in their playing, but they placed themselves apart from other musicians of the time. The field trumpeters (i.e., military trumpeters) and kettle drummers classed with them did not form a guild, owing to their knightly character and the circ stance that their calling was considered not a trade but a free, knightly art.17 Perhaps this opinion caused a longer separation between the trumpet and the orchestra than was necessary, but the trumpet did not possess the versatility to play much mor han octaves and fifths, and these were terribly out of tune and horribly inconsistent, until the trumpet makers of the seventeenth century began to make great progress with the craftsmanship of the instruments. Along with this increased skill in the bu ding of the trumpet, came a greater skill in playing it.

By manipulation of the embouchure (lips), trumpeters were now able to play many more notes than before. Also, the players discovered that the higher they played on the instrument, the closer the vertones became to one another pitch control became much more practical. In the upper register, trumpeters could even play limited chromatic passages. This opened a door for composers to utilize the brilliance and power of a brass instrument in the sa range as a soprano, and if used properly, it could add an entire dimension to a piece of music. Baroque composers wasted little time in adopting the trumpet as a functional member of their orchestras. During the Baroque period, the trumpet was still a coiled tube with no valves. All changes in pitch were accomplished by the manipulation of the embouchure and air stream. These instruments were much more difficult to play accurately than the modern umpet, which has valves, and is crooked a great deal more.

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It was during the Baroque period that music written for the trumpet began to resemble the styles and techniques we associate with the modern trumpet. Many Baroque composers wrote trumpet parts ith incredibly demanding technique and range. It is hard to say whether there were virtuoso trumpeters before the music called for them, or if musicians rose to the task of performing the newly written works. Either way, the Baroque period was a bloss ing age for the trumpet. Arguably the most difficult compositions for trumpet from this period were written by Sebastian Bach. In Leipzig, Bach was immensely fortunate in having one of the best players of the seventeenth century, Johann Gottfried Reic , as his principal trumpeter.

It was for the famous Johann Gottfried Reiche… that Bach presumably wrote the difficult and remarkable prima tromba parts so often required in his church concertos and oratorios.18 Bach made good use of his astoundin rumpet player, and he composed many works which required exceptional trumpet playing. One major example is the Brandenburg Concerto no. 2. But with the Brandenburg Concertos, the skills demanded in pitch, dynamics, and technique from the baroque trum t rise to an unprecedented degree.19 To this day, it stands out as one of the hardest trumpet parts ever written (Example C). The piece demands incredible range, technique, and endurance.

For an effective performance, even the most difficult passages st be played with ease and grace. Thanks largely to Bach, the trumpet moved from its role as a field instrument, which occasionally played in the towns for various festivals, to its place as an impressive member of the orchestra. Also of note is the f t that the trumpet is written as the top line of the score in the orchestral works of Bach, which indicates an emphasis Bach placed on the trumpet. As a testament to the importance of Bachs music for trumpet, currently, in every major orchestral audit n, the trumpet player is required to play at least one work by Bach. The long-lived importance of this music is the strongest argument for its significance.

Perhaps not as technically difficult, but equally as important was the trumpet part Bach composed for his Mass in B Minor. Some of the most glorious moments in all of music occur in this piece, as the trumpet resounds in Bachs tribute to God. The fi t entrance of the trumpet occurs at the beginning of the Gloria. When the trumpet makes an entrance in this piece, the mood is significantly brightened. There are three trumpet parts, written in D. The trumpet is used in the Gloria to emphasize impor nt moments in the string and voice parts.

The trumpet part can also be used as an example of Bachs use of word painting. As the five voices pronounce the the words Gloria in excelsis, the trumpet soars to a sounding high D (Example D). The trum t is also used to articulate and emphasize the transitions between sections. In almost every movement where the trumpet has a part, time signature changes are anticipated by a descending line and trill in the trumpet. Thus, the first trumpet leads the ntire orchestra and choir into the next section (Example E).

The structure and form of the movements is clarified by the movement of the trumpet line. The larger sections of the piece are brought to their conclusions in definite fashion by the finalit expressed in the movement of the trumpet part. Even though the music for the trumpet in the Missa section of the mass is important and impressive, Bach saved his most outstanding trumpet parts for the later movements. One of the most impressive sections of the mass, as far as the trumpet is concerned, is the Credo. The first trumpet enters during the Patrem omnipotem and carries a descant line for almost twenty measures. It finishes with an ascending line up to hi E.

The part is completely exposed, and any error in the line would be highly noticeable (Example F). After playing this part, the trumpet is allowed several bars to rest, before reentering the piece, along with the second and third trumpets, to finis the movement. The next time the trumpet plays is immediately following the Crucifixus. The resurrection of Christ (Et resurrexit) is begun with the full orchestra and chorus. Bach uses the brilliant sound of the three trumpets to complement his portr al of the glory and joy felt as the story of Christs rise from the grave unfolds.

Another important example of symbolism Bach employs through his use of the trumpet occurs in the Sanctus. The trinity is displayed in more than one way. Not only are t re three trumpet parts, but the first and second trumpets open the first movement of this section with triplet figures (Example G). The first movement of the Sanctus is titled Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, another reference to three. Also, the second mov ent, Pleni sunt coeli, is set in three eight time. During this movement, the range and technique of the principal trumpeter are again tested.

By this point in the mass, endurance begins to become a factor. It takes a very strong player to successfull perform the mass through the end of the Sanctus, but the trumpet part is far from complete. Immediately following the taxing Pleni sunt coeli, the trumpets must again play at the beginning of the Osanna. As the Osanna nears its conclusion, the first t mpet is again required to ascend to a high E before bringing the movement to a close. Bach then allows the trumpeters to rest for a short period.

It is common practice for the Benedictus to be performed, then for the Osanna to be repeated, further tax g the trumpet players. The Agnus Dei is the next to last movement of the mass, and the trumpets are allowed another brief rest, before the arrival of the Dona nobis pacem, which demands another showing of range and technique from the first trumpeter. this monumental piece nears its conclusion, the trumpet ascends in half notes to a high D, then descends as the piece ends (Example H). As the trumpet sustains the high D, and the other lines continue to move under it, the magnificence of Bachs great ork is completely apparent. In conclusion, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach represents one ofthe finest pieces in German music, and his Mass in B Minor is a wonderful example of his work and also his progressive uses of the trumpet. The Mass in B Minor appears to be the summa not only of Bachs sacred music, but of all of his music.20 Even though the people of Bachs own time were never given the privilege of hearing his full mass setting, countless people since have experienced the joy of hearing this majestic piece.

It hard to believe that a man would work so hard, and commit such a sizable portion of his life to a project that would bring him no praise or acclamation during his life. Sebastian Bach was fully aware that his piece would not be performed in its intend setting for many years to come, but these facts did not deter the composer from what he felt was a mission for God, and for the generations to come. So as he grew older, the B-Minor Mass must have seemed to him to be a bequest to his successors and t the future.21 This selfless dedication to a cause is one of the many reasons that Johann Sebastian Bach remains one of the most well known and respected names in all of Music. The Bach family line of musicians culminated in Johann Sebastian Bach, and carried the honor to astonishing heights. Few others in the history of music have made as monumental a contribution as his, and fortunately, people for many years to come will be able to experience the timeless masterpieces of this great man. 3714 words Bibliography Bibliography Arnold, Denis.

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