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Trumpet Pedal Tones:
Their History and Pedagogical Uses
by
Malachy Rodriguez
A Research Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Doctor of Musical Arts
Approved April 2014 by the
Graduate Supervisory Committee:
David Hickman, Chair
Wayne Bailey
Gary Hill
Amy Holbrook
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
April 2014
ABSTRACT
The normal playing range of a brass instrument includes a definitive stopping note
in the instrument’s low register. However, players have the ability to manipulate their lips
to extend the low range beyond this point; notes sounding below an instrument’s normal
playing range are called pedal tones.
The history of pedal tones in trumpet performance and pedagogy has long been a
source of confusion and misinformation. Consequently, this paper also discusses the
educational value of using pedal tones, includes a brief history of players and teachers
who have formulated pedal tone exercise methods, and examines their use within the six
most influential method books that promote the use of pedal tones. The six books are
Original Louis Maggio System for Brass by Carlton MacBeth, Double High C in 37
Weeks by Roger Spaulding, Systematic Approach to Daily Practice by Claude Gordon,
Trumpet Yoga by Jerome Callet, James Stamp Warm-Ups +Studies by Thomas Stevens,
and The Balanced Embouchure by Jeff Smiley.
i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to thank my wife, Megan Rodriguez, for being my support system
and for being instrumental in helping me with this project. Thank you to my family who
has supported me though my education. Also, I would like to acknowledge my two cats,
Mahler and Mackenzie, for making sure I stayed on task. Finally, thank you to the
members of my graduate committee, especially David Hickman, who helped guide me
through my tenure at Arizona State University.
ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
INTRODUCTION.………………………………………………………………………..1
Chapter
1
EXPLANATION OF PEDAL TONES……………..…………………………….2
Definition of Pedal Tones……………………………………………………..2
Production of Pedal Tones…………………………………………………….4
2
HISTORY OF PEDAL TONES…...…………………..………………………...10
Before 1930…………………………………………………………………..10
After 1930……………………………………………………………………17
3
USES IN PEDAGOGY AND PERFORMANCE ………………………………23
Negative or Ambivalent Opinion…………………………………………….24
Positive Opinion……………………………………………………………..25
Embouchure……………………………………………………………….…26
Tension……………………………………………………………………….27
Upper Range Development…………………………………………………..28
Warm-up and Cool-down……………………………………………………28
Literature……………………………………………………………………..30
Uses in Pedagogy…………………………………………………………….32
4
REVIEW OF THE MOST COMMON PEDAGOGICAL TEXTS……………...34
Original Louis Maggio System for Brass by Carlton MacBeth……………...35
Double High C in 37 Weeks by Roger Spaulding……………………………36
Systematic Approach to Daily Practice by Claude Gordon………………….37
iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Trumpet Yoga by Jerome Callet……………………………………………...39
James Stamp Warm-Ups +Studies by Thomas Stevens……………………..42
The Balanced Embouchure by Jeff Smiley…………………………………..43
CONCLUSIONS……….…………………………………………………………….….46
BIBLIOGRAPHY…..……………………………………………………………………47
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH…..………………………………………………………...51
iv
INTRODUCTION
Brass instruments have a long and varied history. They have had many changes in
design, repertory, and pedagogy. While all musical instrument teachers stress certain
standard musical fundamentals such as scales, rhythm, and pitch, there are specific
techniques that are important to each instrument. Brass instruments, classified as a
“closed-tube” type, have a definitive low note in their normal range. However, players
have the ability to manipulate their lips to extend the low range beyond this point. The
notes in this range are called pedal tones.
Because playing beyond the normal low range of a trumpet is possible with pedal
tones, many players have experimented with this register in order to play repertoire that
exceeds the normal limitations of modern valve instruments. This practice is especially
true of modern players who wish to perform Romantic (nineteenth-century) orchestral
works by Wagner, Richard Strauss, Sibelius, Verdi, and others who wrote for alto
trumpets in F, E, E-flat, and D. Other players have utilized pedal tones as a useful device
to develop deeper breathing, embouchure strengthening, and increased lip vibrations.
This paper offers a brief history of pedal tones and the players and teachers who have
formulated pedal tone exercise methods, and it provides an overview of the practical and
musical uses of pedal tones.
1
CHAPTER 1
EXPLANATION OF PEDAL TONES
Definition of Pedal Tones
There are three main entries for the term “pedal tone” or “pedal note” in musical
dictionaries and encyclopedias. The first definition of a pedal tone concerns the organ.
The keyboard an organist plays with the feet is called a pedal organ. The sounds
produced on this keyboard are the lowest, or some of the lowest, available to the organ.1