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"… vnd machens nur aus dem Synn"

Improvisational practices of 16th and 17th century trumpet ensembles

Large trumpet ensembles (with a timpanist) have been around since the 1500s, yet little is known about what they played and how. Their repertoire, performance practices and playing techniques were not documented, but were passed down orally and through improvisation. Despite the fact that improvisation has gained considerable ground in the field of historical music practice, it has largely overlooked the natural trumpet. The aim of this research project on 'Improvisational practices of 16th and 17th century trumpet ensembles' is to attempt to recreate for the first time the sound characterisation of such instruments based on a review of the (few) known sources. Subsequently, the research team will document and evaluate the findings.

The project has several component parts: Following a study day to be held on 12/13 October 2018 and attended by international experts, the project team will be able to ascertain the state of research on to date and generate a summary list of the documented sources available. Later, three workshops will be held (particpants also included students from Basel and Bologna) during term time to put the project findings to the test. This work will also include trying out suitable instruments and mouthpieces. The project will culminate in several public performances, which will later be documented and evaluated.