Solo trumpet performance practice in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries

Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Stephen Jones

Second Advisor

Scott Thornburg

Third Advisor

John Lychner


On December 2nd 2012, I presented my honors thesis in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. This presentation was both a performance and a lecture. The official title of my thesis was "Solo Trumpet Performance Practice in the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries". My lecture was a brief synopsis of the history of the trumpet. I covered all of the major developments in the evolution of both the trumpet and how it was performed. There were five pieces spread throughout the lecture which provided aural examples of the developments I was describing. I opened with Andante for Trumpet and String Orchestra, which was published in 1968 by Elizabeth Gould Hochman. This piece was used to show the culmination of centuries of trumpet development. I then traveled into the not so distant past and performed E1mio Ponino's Concertina per tromba e orchestra (1936). This second piece was an example of the highly virtuosic playing that was highly sought after at the beginning of the 20th century. I then lectured some more about trumpet history and performed my third piece, Variationenfur die Trompete in F Major, written by Josef Kail in 1821. The interesting thing about this piece is that it was one of the first ever written for trumpet with valves. Prior to that time, the trumpet had no keys, and only certain notes were available to players until the invention of the rotary valve in 1820. The fourth piece was Mont Saint-Michel pour trompette Ut ou sijlat et piano, published by Geoffrey Robbins in 1954. This piece I performed on flugelhom, so I briefly described the difference between conical bore instruments like the flugelhorn and comet and straight bore instruments like the trumpet, as well as their evolution from biblical times to today. The fifth and final piece of this performance/lecture was a baroque dance suite based on works for solo soprano instruments which G.F. Handel had written for. This featured a trumpet and string quintet. At this point in the lecture, I delved the most deeply into the performance practice discussion. In baroque playing, there is a set of very strict stylistic and interpretive rules that the performers must follow, which I describe and demonstrate in my lecture. This recital was the culmination of four years of private study; two with Professor Scott Thornburg MA, and two with Stephen Jones P.H.D. The lyrical aspects of my playing I have been developing since I first came to Western Michigan University. The performance was not perfect, but it exemplifies both my growth as a musician and my knowledge of my instrument's history and pedagogy.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

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