[Dixielandjazz] English Brass bands ( was "Delete if you're not interested in key/tonecolor")

Robert Smith robert.smith at tele2.no
Thu Oct 5 15:41:30 PDT 2006

David Richoux wrote:

>> On that particular A=440 thing - I have heard that some UK Brass
> Bands use instruments that are all slightly sharp (the same
> amount ;-) so they sound "brighter" in competition. I don't know if
> this is playing by the rulebook...>>

Way back in the years 1947-50 I had bought a high-pitch trombone and played 
in a brass band i England. During this time we started a revivalist jazz 
band, and I discovered that my "Bb" was in fact piano B, a whole semitone 
too high. I thought it was our piano that was flat, but soon discovered that 
the piano was tuned to A=440 (the standard introduced in 1939). Further 
research revealed that all brass bands at that time were tuned
a whole semitone higher.

To complicate matters even further the trombone 1 & 2 parts were transposed 
to C more than an octave above and written in the treble clef, whereas the 
bass trombone parts were written in concert pitch in the bass clef. A few 
parts were also written an octave lower in the tenor clef (trombones 1&2). 
This complicated life for me because when the G-bass trombone player didn't 
turn up I had to switch to the mighty G-bass trombone, because the other 
trombonist (who was a bit older than me) pleaded ignorance of the bass clef.


Bob Smith

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