mercredi 26 août 2015

Caldwell Titcomb : "Baroque Court and Military Trumpets and Kettledrums: Technique and Music"

Voici un document au titre prometteur concernant la musique de cour jouée à la trompette. 

"In the Middle Ages, the Cursaders had a long-lasting contact with the civilizations of the East and could not help but there acquire new tastes, desires and customs. Among the novelties that caught their fancy were two instruments, already closely associated, which were to remain almost inseparable for centuries afterwards : the long, straight trumpet, and the small kettledrums known as nakers." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 56)

"The position of the Guild was strengthened by the Thirty Years War (1618-48). In 1630 an imperial decree elaborated on the privileges of the Guild. A formal written statement was issued in 1643 in behalf of the members of the Guild and was signed by 'Hanns Jacob Trompeschka, der Röm. Käyserl. Maj. Hof- und Feld Heer-Paucker,' along with twenty-two trumpeters." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 57)

"Who could employ trumpeters and kettledrummers? The decrees mentioned above [Friedrich Wilhelm III in November 1810] took great care to make it clear that these musicians ware allowed to serve only in the households of emperors, kings, electors, dukes, princes, counts, lords and others of noble and knightly rank, and occasionally of persons especially qualified, through, for example, the possession of a doctoral degree. The use of trumpets and kettledrums was forbidden to those who were not members of the Guild, such as the city-pipers, tower-blowers, tavern minstrels and other town musicians. Any such person caught playing the instruments had them taken away and handed over to the Chief Imperial Field Trumpeter (Reichsoberfeld-trompeter), and the offenders had to pay a fine of 100 gold florins, half of which went into the Court Trumpeters' treasury." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 57)

Si cette situation décrite dans le Saint-Empire est aussi valable en France, cela expliquerait qu'il y ait peu de partitions de trompettes car leur jeu était réservé aux membres d'une guilde jouant chez des nobles. Les musiciens "amateurs" de bonne famille jouant des instruments à cordes. 

"An extreme case occurred about the same time [between 1684 and 1694] in Hanover, when it became known that the chief town-musician had a trumpet. While he was practising on it, the Elector's trumpeters broke into his house, grabbed the trumpet and knocked out his teeth with it before they left. They maintained that they had only asserted their just rights and escaped all censure and punishment." (Titcomb, 1956, pp. 57-58)

"The trumpeters and kettledrummers were to perform only for the nobility and at the express order of the sovereign or noble who had jurisdiction over them. They were specifically forbidden to provide music at such affairs as middle-class and peasant weddings, annual fairs, festivals, public danes and theatre performances, and the like. Furthermore, not only were the city-pipers prohibited from playing trumpets and kettledrums, but the members of the Guild were not even allowed to play their rightful instruments in company with any non-Guild city musicians. [...] It is also easy to see why the city magistrates enviously eyed the trumpets and kettledrums of the nobility, and thought what a wonderful addition they would make for major civic festival occasions and great parades. This addition sometimes materialized. The Guild members regarded such things as somewhat a profanation of their art, but nevertheless, magistrates desirous of having trumpets and kettledrums for pompous affairs sometimes succeeded, upon payment of a large amount of money, in persuading sovereigns to issue for their use an official permit, called a Trompeterfreibrief. But there were exceptions to normal policy. The prestige and pride of the Guild is often manifested in some of the words and phrases used concerning it. For example: the members of the 'closed Guild' (geschlossenen Zunft) were usually designated as 'honourable' (ehrlich), and they practised an ''exalted art' (elden Kunst) or even a 'noble, knightly free art' (adelig-ritterlich freie Kunst); the city musicians were 'low' or 'common' (gemeinen), or 'incompetent good-for-nothings' (untüchtigen Personen), and to play with them was the 'very greatest abuse' (höchsten missbraucht), through which they would (grievously disgrace their art' (die Kunst höchlich verschimpfen) [...]." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 58)

"The most illuminating source, however, is the collection of seventeenth-century marches, carrousel pieces and other court music transcribed in 1705 by André Philidor ('Philidor l'aîné'), librarian of Louis XIV's Royal Music Library at Versailles and father of the famous chess champion. He includes a march, Ex. 3, written by his younger brother Jacques ('Philidor cadet')." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 62)

Toutes les sources m'amènent en effet vers Philidor l'Aîné dont le catalogue de la bibliothèque devrait m'emmener vers quelques partitions. 

"Two of the marches in this collection were composed for the Gardes du Roy by Claude Bab(e)lon, who was Louis's timbalier des plaisirs, i.e. a kettledrummer who, together with four trompettes des plaisirs, stayed near the king for private service at his 'pleasure'." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 64)

"The trumpet used with kettledrums in court and military music was the natural trumpet, usually, until the last half of the eighteenth century, pitched in D (rarely in E b), though sometimes with a tone crook to lower it to C. This explains why most Baroque music using trumpets and drums (usually festive in character) is in the key of D. The trumpet and drum were both, however, treated as transposing instruments, and hence written for in C." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 66)

"The normal D trumpet was pitched not a third above our present-day B b trumpet, but a sixth below it, and hence the vibrating tube length was nearly eight feet. The natural trumpet could produce only the notes of the harmonic series, eight-foot C (so written) being the fundamental. The fundamental was practically impossible to play and a worthless note at best, so that the usable notes began with the second harmonic, c, and continued up as high as g''', the twenty-fourth harmonic. Harmonics 7, 11, 13, 14, 17 and 19 were considerably out of tune. Each trumpeter, however, was not expected to play the entire series of harmonics ; rather he specialized in one potion of the range and played only those parts confined to is, as will be described later on." (Titcomb, 1956, pp. 66-68)

"We have no definite example of the earliest cavalry trumpet signals. Some idea of what they were like can be had from looking at fourteenth-century caccie and some virelais, as well as Josquin's Fanfares royales (probably composed for the enthroning of Louis XII in 1498) and the corpus of sixteenth-century battle-pieces. There have been preserved, however, many of the official signals from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 68)

HarpsichordA6. (2011, 19 novembre) Canadian Brass Royal Fanfare Josquin Desprez. [fichier vidéo]. Repéré à (consulté le 27 août 2015)

"The music of the preserved cavalry signals gives only the main trumpet line. All the signals lie within the range covered by harmonics Nos. 2-10. The seventh harmonic (the out-of-tune bb') is almost never used and other harmonics are quite rare. Thus the signals use the notes of the C-major triad almost exclusively and are confined principally to the notes g c' e' g' c''. As stated earlier, he kettledrummer had to know all these signals by heart, in order to supply an appropriate bass. A French ordinance describes the function of the kettledrums in one of the cavalry signals, the called to attack: The 'Charge' for the kettledrum is nothing but a very great noise produced by animated rolls, which go from the right kettledrum to the left and from the left to the right, with some detached strokes; as this noise constitutes exactly the underlying bass for the trumpets, it suffices that the kettledrummer have a good ear to fulfil this aim" (Titcomb, 1956, pp. 68-69)

"Besides the various battle signals, the trumpets and kettledrums played all sorts of marches, flourishes and fanfares often met under the names of Aufzug; Abtrupp; sonnade, sonnada, sennet (and other variants); serssemeda; entrade, Intrade; tocceda, toccata, tucket, tuck, touche, and Tusch. Most of these pieces had from two to six trumpet parts in addition to that for kettledrum, the trumpet parts often having been doubled or tripled at will. From the very end of the sixteenth century there is a manuscript containing twenty-four Aufzüge for a trumpet. These make use almost exclusively of the notes c' e' g' c'', but in nine of them there are in addition parts for a second trumpet, playing mainly above the other trumpet and covering the notes of the harmonic series g' to a''. Kettledrum parts are easily supplied for these pieces. One of the earliest trumpet pieces for which we have all the parts is the fanfare that opens Monteverdi's Orfeo, first performed in Mantua in 1607. When the work was published two years later, the fanfare was termed toccata. This word as applied to trumpet fanfares has a history going back to the fourteenth century; and the later keyboard toccata had its origin in the old trumpet toccata." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 69)

"Ce terme, qui apparaît en Italie à la fin du XVe siècle, définit des compositions, jouées isolément ou au début d'un office ou d'un concert, et destinées à faire valoir le toucher de l'interprète. Ce sont des pièces de virtuosité que caractérisent la liberté de la forme, un caractère apparent d'improvisation, de fréquentes modifications rythmiques ou mélodiques, un jeu d'ornementation qui se lie à une certaine richesse mélodique et prend le pas sur le respect strict des règles du contrepoint. Une des seules exigences propres à la toccata est de s'adapter, de façon rigoureuse, à l'instrument sur lequel elle sera exécutée. [...] Un des plus anciens emplois du mot toccata se trouve dans une description du couronnement du roi Alphonse II de Naples (1494). Il s'agit d'une "toccata de trombe", probablement une fanfare triomphale pour l'arrivée du monarque. C'est encore avec une "toccata con tutti li stormenti" que s'ouvre l'Orfeo de Monteverdi (1607). À l'époque, la toccata commence pourtant à prendre place dans les genres habituellement réservés aux instruments à clavier, à l'orgue en particulier. Mais l'usage se perpétuera en Italie pendant longtemps de remplacer une pièce d'orgue par sa transcription pour plusieurs instruments à vent (cuivres en général) dans certaines circonstances particulièrement solennelles ou dans des lieux qui ne possèdent par d'orgue. Il ne fait pas de doute que de nombreuses toccatas pour orgue ont été connues du public dans de telles exécutions." ("Toccata", 2005)

"The trumpet and kettledrum fanfare such as heralded the arrival of royalty, preceded a toast at a banquet or announced the beginning of a dramatic performance was usually a loud glorified and extended C-major triad ending in a long flutter-tongued chord. And writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are careful to say that the kettledrummer, before the final chord, must always produce a long tremolo with fast alternations between the two drums; and that, just when the trumpets stop, he is to give a determined, resounding blow on the C drum. Ex. 7 is a simple illustration of such a fanfare, for four trumpets and kettledrums; and the variations are endless." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 71)

(Titcomb, 1956, p. 71)
"Trumpet signals and fanfares were not sounded just once; they were always played three times. This was in accordance with a long-standing tradition which could be observed in divers other manifestations. For example, the French coronation ritual, which had remained the same for centuries, prescribed that when the king was seated on the throne, the archbishop was to proclaim three times, 'Vivat Rex in Aeternum!' To this a regiment of Gardes outside the cathedral responded with three volleys of firearms." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 71)

"In the fifteenth century French tournaments, the king-at-arms ordered a trumpet sonnade to be played, and then shouted to the combatants three times, 'Soiez prests pour cordes coupper!' ('Be ready for the cutting of the cords'). [...] Thus is was that above the Orfeo toccata Monteverdi put the instruction, 'Toccata to be sounded three times before the curtain rises.' Similarly in 1608 Guarrini's comedy L'idropica was put on in Mantua as part of the wedding festivities of Prince Francesco Gonzaga; and a contemporary description by Follino tells us that the great curtain suddenly opened after the trumpets had sounded their fanfare for the third time. Furthermore, this account refers to the fanfare as 'the usual signal sounded by the trumpets'. This once and for all points up the error of all those who continued to champion the Orfeo toccata as one of Monteverdi's most daring innovations. It is nothing of the sort. [...] It is nought but the customary trumpet and kettledrum fanfare of the kind that preluded dramatic performances on important occasions when royalty was present." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 72)

"À l'origine, composition musicale pour trompettes de cavalerie ou trompes de chasse. Par extension, tout morceau de musique exécuté par un ensemble de cuivres." ("Fanfare", 2005)

"In Fantini's Modo per imparare a sonare di tromba (1638) there is quoted a military signal which was likewise to be played three times." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 72)

"About this time [1650] Nicolaus Hasse was organist at the Marienkirche in Rostock. He composed two short Aufzüge for two clarini and tow Heerpauken. The first clarin parts, which are all that remain, were copied by Matthew Locke sometime between 1660 end 1677 on extra staves at the bottom of folio pages in a manuscript of choral music now in the British Museum. As concrete illustrations of how the lower parts of such pieces might be devised, I have made simple reconstructions of the missing second clarin and kettledrum parts. The first Aufzug is shown in Ex. 8, so reconstructed; further variations and embellishments are of course possible. A couple of pages later in the manuscript is another line of music which is clearly an adaptation in triple metre of the Aufzug material. Ex. 9 show a basic reconstruction. The second Aufzug also has a version in trimple metre, this time right alongside the original; both are reconstructed simply in Ex. 10. This practice of creating a new piece by changing the metre of an old one was undoubtedly quite frequent; iit is reminiscent of the sixteenth-century dances 'à double emploi' and particularly of the German Proportz." (Titcomb, 1956, pp. 73-75)

(Titcomb, 1956, p. 74)
(Titcomb, 1956, p. 74)
(Titcomb, 1956, p. 75)
"John Playford was succeeded in the publishing business by his son Henry, who brought out in 1695 The Sprightly Companion, Being a collection of the best Foreign Marches, now play'd in all Camps. A number of the marches contained therein are obviously of trumpet origin, such as The Duke of Savoy's March. As with the Hasse Aufzüge, one could take the given melody as a first clarin part and supply lower parts for other trumpets and kettledrums." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 75)

(The Sprightly Companion, 1695)
"Normally all trumpet and kettledrum music was loud, vigorous and bright. For some special reasons, however, the trumpets and kettledrums were played softly. Mersenne wrote in 1636 that military trumpets were sounded with mutes when one did not want the enemy to hear the signal, and also when one was about to decamp." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 75)

"An intermediate stage in this development can be seen in La Marche Royalle, one of the pieces put to paper by Philodor in 1705. [...] The final stage is shown in Ex. 11, the third of six Aufzüge composed by Johann Michael Gottmann, court-trumpeter and also, after 1714, Spielgraf in the archbishopric of Salzburg. Here there are two crossing parts for clarin trumpets, but with a prinzipal trumpet in addition. The kettledrum part is virtually duplicated by a touquet part for a fourth trumpet. But in the present case the touquet is noted where it belongs, an octave above the kettledrums." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 76)

(Titcomb, 1956, p. 76)

Mind&Soul: Are you feeling it?. (2009, 26 juin) Philidor: Marche de triomphe avec des trompettes et des timbales. [fichier vidéo] Repéré à : (consulté le 27 août 2015)

"One of the high points in trumpet and kettledrum literature is the Aufzug in Ex. 14, printed by Kappey without further identification than that it was 'in the ancient style'. The music suggests the period around 1725. Scored for two clarin and two prinzipal trumpets with kettledrums, this processional piece, when one considers its limitation to three chords, is masterfully wrought from the point of view of form, colour, and harmonic and rhythmic interest. It is trumpet and kettledrum writing of the highest order, a superb example of majestic splendour. With the waning of the Baroque, attempts were made to widen the capabilities of the trumpet and kettledrum corps by employing trumpets crooked in several different keys. But despite the increased facilities, post-Baroque music for this medium was on the whole of sadly inferior quality. Clearly the court and military trumpets and kettledrums reached their most illustrious summits during the Baroque-Rococo period, from about 1600 to 1775. It was the magnificent spirit of the Baroque to which these instruments were most ideally attuned and of which they constituted such a transcendent symbol. And it was the Baroque mind that so appreciated their august plangency and refulgent splendour that it elevated them to the highest position possible in its civilization short of apotheosis; one where silver trumpets and kettledrums enjoyed a golden age intaminatis honoribus. Truly, in the breadth and depth of their realm, the royal and heroic kettledrums and trumpets served, far more than their share, the glory of heaven and earth et Marte et Arte." (Titcomb, 1956, p. 78-80)

(Titcomb, 1956, p. 79)


Fanfare. (2005). Dans Dictionnaire de la musique. Paris : Larousse.

HarpsichordA6. (2011, 19 novembre) Canadian Brass Royal Fanfare Josquin Desprez. [fichier vidéo]. Repéré à (consulté le 27 août 2015)

Mind&Soul: Are you feeling it?. (2009, 26 juin) Philidor: Marche de triomphe avec des trompettes et des timbales. [fichier vidéo] Repéré à : (consulté le 27 août 2015)

The Sprightly Companion [partition]. (1695). Londres : J. Heptinstall for Henry Playford

Titcomb, C. (1956). Baroque Court and Military Trumpets and Kettledrums: Technique and Music. The Galpin Society Journal, 9, 56-81. doi : 10.2307/841790 

Toccata. (2005). Dans Dictionnaire de la musique. Paris : Larousse.

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