A wider role for the flat trumpet
The Galpin Society Journal, 42, .
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'Flat trumpet is revived after 250 years', The Times announced last October;1 but that headline, the photograph and three column inches of text beneath it told far from the whole story. Readers of The Galpin SocietyJournal may wish to know more, those especially who can remember back to the very first issue. There, quoting the description and measurements found in James Talbot's manuscript (Oxford, Christ Church Library Music MS 1187), Anthony Baines revealed that 'it was not unlike the common nineteenth-century English Slide Trumpet whose invention is attributed to Hyde, in 1804' - and solved at a stroke what had hitherto been a 'complete mystery'.2 Now the Bate Collection includes a 'Flat trumpet in D ... after Talbot c. 1690', built by Philip Bate himself in 1971 - item 717;3 and all reputable modern textbooks on trumpet history and brass instruments in general have their flat trumpet entries. Yet until playable reconstructions were placed in professional hands for a thorough trial - as happened only last year - a just assessment of their behaviour under performance conditions and hence their usefulness or otherwise was out of the question.
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