Pip Eastop, Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Posts tagged “atonal

“Trumpet finger pitch”

Right now I’m well stuck into some “turnaround” exercises.

The one I’m currently chopping away at is one of the simplest from Aebersold’s book of turnarounds (Volume 16, Ex. 3). Basically, this is a four chord repeating sequence, for example F#M, A7, D7, G7, which needs transposing into all keys. It’s making me do what Ken Bartells told me to do a year ago, which is to try to be conscious of which notes and what chord I’m playing. I still find this really difficult but I’m confident that I’m going to crack it eventually.

Another landmark I’ve passed recently, I now realise, is what might be called the acquisition of “trumpet finger pitch”. Ever since I can remember I’ve had “horn finger pitch” meaning that I only have to imagine I’m holding a horn and make a certain valve combination for the note I’m wanting to hear to pop conveniently into my mind. This is an extremely useful thing, particularly for playing atonal music – in fact I don’t know how anyone could play the stuff without that having this facility.

Although the trumpet is in Bb, just like the French horn, the hornplayer reads and thinks in F. Thus, while the trumpet fingerings are quite similar between horn and trumpet (although one octave apart) the notes have completely different names. On one level, then, trumpet fingering is completely different to horn fingering – which is, I think, why hornplayers and trumpet players are now an entirely different species and generally do not interbreed. I must be quite a rare “sport”, hybrid or mulatto.

Now that I can “activate” my right hand and imagine certain trumpet valve combinations to get any pitches I want in my head I think I can say I have got “trumpet finger pitch”. It’s taken longer than a year to acquire this, and I wasn’t sure it would come – in fact I was actually slightly worried that if it did come it would mess up my horn pitch. Luckily, trumpet fingers and horn fingers, being on different hands, don’t seem to conflict at all. Phew!