- Trevor Herbert
- The Trombone. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-300-10095-7 (hardcover)
- At last there is finally a superb single volume devoted to the trombone, its construction, history and techniques. Trevor
Herbert (Professor at the Open University in Wales and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to
Brass Instruments) has organized what is arguably the finest book on the trombone, benefitting from up-to-date scholarship, fine research and
excellent writing. A trombonist himself, he understands the instrument and its idioms; his expertise as a musicologist is evident
on every page. Several excellent appendices add to the text and chapters like "Didacticism and the idea of virtuosity", "Decline, survival
and rehabilitation: the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries" and "The Moravians and other popular religions" give the book a focus that is
lacking in all other books on the trombone. Highly recommended.
- Stewart Carter
- The Trombone in the Renaissance: A History in Pictures and Documents. Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1-57647-206-4 (hardcover)
- For his book, Stewart Carter (Professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and editor of the Historic Brass Society Journal) adopted a
different approach. Rather than attempting to write yet another historical overview of the trombone - which after the recently published books by Trevor Herbert and
David Guion would have been the third such work within just six years (2006-2012) - Carter chose to examine in depth the iconographical, archival, and printed sources of the
Renaissance, that is to say, of the seminal period of the trombone's development between the late fourteenth and the end of the sixteen century. To this purpose,
he selected and, where necessary, translated (or had translated) nearly 400 documents, many not previously available in English. The texts of the documents are
additionally reproduced in the original languages in an appendix. The approximately 150 illustrations (including approximately 25 in color) include artistic representations of the
trombone, photos of almost all surviving sixteenth-century trombones, and facsimiles of original documents. All items are put into their historical context by
means of insightful and well-written commentaries. Highly recommended.
- Anthony Baines
- Brass Instruments: Their History and Development. London: Faber, 1976. Now available in a revised edition published by
Dover, 1993. ISBN 0-486-27574-4 (paperback)
- This is probably the best single volume on the history of brass instruments. Baines spends considerable time discussing
the trombone and its predecessor, the sackbut. Many musical examples and historical engravings and drawings. The book
has an extensive and very useful bibliography which will point readers to other valuable sources. While somewhat outdated
(the primary writing was done before 1974 but the Dover edition incorporates several changes by Baines through
1993), it remains an excellent, respected and mostly accurate one volume summary of brass instrument history.
- Edited by Trevor Herbert and John Wallace
- The Cambridge Companion to Brass Instruments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
ISBN 0-521-56343-7 (hardcover), 0-521-56522-7 (paperback)
- An excellent volume with contributions from many authors. Herbert and Wallace are highly respected scholars
who have assembled an excellent group of authors to contribute chapters on wide ranging aspects of brass instrument
history. Trevor Herbert contributed the chapter, "'Sackbut': The Early Trombone." Chapters on design and manufacture
(Arnold Meyers) as well as contemporary techniques (Simon Wills) give this book a wide ranging appeal. Clifford Bevan's
chapter on "The Low Brass" is an excellent summary of the instruments which gave us the tuba including a brief
discussion of the "cimbasso" (more on this below).
- David Guion
- The Trombone: Its History and Music, 1697-1811. New York: Gordon and Breach, 1988. ISBN 2-88124-211-1 (hardcover)
- This book is especially valuable for its second chapter, "Writings about the trombone in eighteenth-century treatises,
encyclopedias, and dictionaries" which contains the texts (both in the original languages and in English translations) of
twenty-five historical sources.
- Clyde Robert Wigness
- The Soloistic Use of the Trombone in Eighteenth-Century Vienna. Nashville: The Brass Press, 1970. ISBN 0-914282-02-6 (paperback)
- This brief booklet (49 pages) is based on Wigness' 1970 doctoral dissertation. As such, it is very outdated and its research
needs to be considered in light of more recent work. He focuses on the soloistic use of the trombone in both
instrumental works (by Bertali, Fux, Tuma, Wagenseil, Albrechtsberger, and Michael Haydn) and choral works
(Ziani, Joseph I, Fux, Reutter, Eberlin and Mozart). There is a two-page appendix with very brief biographical information
on selected 18th century Vienniese Imperial Court Trombonists. Long out of print, a copy may be found in your local
or school library; the booklet was Number 2 in the Brass Research Series edited by Stephen L. Glover and published by
The Brass Press.
- Tom L. Naylor
- The Trumpet & Trombone in Graphic Arts. Nashville: The Brass Press, 1979. ISBN 0-914282-20-4 (hardcover)
- An interesting volume dedicated to the reproduction of several hundred woodcuts and illustrations of the trumpet and trombone between
1500-1800. The reproductions are of good quality and Naylor has given the original title and artist for most reproductions.
Unfortunately, information on the location of the original illustration is not always given. A valuable book which gives a
contemporary look at the trumpet and trombone as seen through the eyes of artists over several centuries.
- Henry George Fischer
- The Renaissance Sackbut and its Use Today. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1984. ISBN 0-87099-412-3 (paperback)
- This fine booklet (61 pages) was an early attempt to discuss the playing and manufacturing characteristics of the Renaissance sackbut.
Necessarily limited in its scope, it has many fine photographs and engravings of sackbuts with a sensible, if outdated, discussion. While out of print,
it has been made available as a
free PDF download from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
in New York City.
- Roger Challoner Green
- In Pursuit of a Dream: Proclamation. Trowbridge: White Horse Books, 1996. ISBN 0-9529574-0X (paperback)
- Roger Green tells the story of his producing the first full recording of a bass trombone soloist accompanied by a British brass band,
"Proclamation" with Douglas Yeo, soloist. Written in a breezy style, chapter 3, "Bass Trombone: In Praise of a Neglected Instrument" contains
correspondence between the author and two of the leading developers of the modern bass trombone, Edward Kleinhammer and Kauko Kahila.
Photos of the early Reynolds double valve bass trombone as well as correspondence and photos of Edwin Anderson (with his "C valve" attachment
are also included. Not
scholarly in any way, it provides first person accounts of modern bass trombone development. This book was a limited edition and is now out
- Edited by Trevor Herbert
- The British Brass Band: A Musical and Social History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-19-816698-2 (hardcover)
- This excellent book on the history of the British brass band movement contains chapters by a variety of authors
including Herbert's own contribution, "God's Perfect Minstrels: The Bands of the Salvation Army" which discusses the
role the Salvation Army had in brass instrument manufacturing from 1889-1972. Arnold Meyers' chapter,
"Instruments and Instrumentation of British Brass Bands" includes discussion of the British bass trombone in G
and the evolution of other trombones in the brass band movement.
- Hugh Macdonald
- Berlioz's Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-521-23953-2 (hardcover)
- Hector Berlioz's 1843/44 Grande traitè d'instrumentation et d'orchestration modernes stands as a
towering achievement. At publication, it was the most comprehensive book of its kind, devoted to a practical discussion of
most western orchestral instruments. Even today, Berlioz's work has much to tell us although Berlioz's conclusions are
at times suspect and instruments have certainly evolved in the last 160 years. Hugh Macdonald's excellent book is the one
to have; his translation and commentary give more life to Berlioz's words. Berlioz's discussion of the trombone and
Macdonald's commentary make for interesting reading, particularly as the trombone related to 19th century French
musical life. Berlioz has given trombonists their most elegant quotation, "I regard the trombone as the true leader of
the race of wind instruments which I have described as 'epic.' It possesses nobility and grandeur to a high degree
and it has all the solemnity of high musical poetry, ranging from a calm,
imposing, devotional aura to the wild clamors of an orgy. It is up to the composer to make it chant like a chorus of
priests, or utter threats, then muffled groans, then a subdued funeral knell, then a resounding hymn of glory, then a piercing
shriek, then a mighty fanfare for the waking of the dead or the death of the living."
- Clifford Bevan
- The Tuba Family. Winchester: Piccolo Press, 2000. ISBN 1-872203-30-2 (paperback)
- Bevan's book is an extraordinary achievement with over 600 pages devoted to the tuba and his historical development. Would that the trombone
had a similar volume dedicated to its history. While not devoted to the trombone, "The Tuba Family" is valuable for its many references to forms
of trombones including cimbasso, the "trombone basso Verdi" and other variants. The book puts the bottom of the brass section into proper
historical context and clears up many misconceptions about the role of the bass trombone and various ancestors of the tuba. More information may be found
Piccolo Press Website.
- Philip Bate
- The Trumpet and Trombone. London: Ernest Benn, 1966
- !!!!! At the time it was published it was considered a good account of the trombone's history but it
is very outdated and should not be used as a single source for historical information on the trombone.
- Robin Gregory
- The Trombone. London: Faber & Faber, 1973 . ISBN 0-571-08816-3 (hardcover)
- !!!!! Largely derived from secondary sources, most scholars consider the historical conclusions in this book to be rather
unreliable. There is not much historical information in the book; its strongest set is the printing of examples from
scores which show the trombone in a variety of contexts and uses. Gregory quotes Kunitz and other
discredited sources and many of his sources are between 50 and 100 years old. Half of the book is devoted to a list of trombone literature
which is woefully outdated since it is 30 years old. For lists of trombone solo and ensemble repertoire, it would be more useful
to consult the online catalogs of
Hickeys Music Center and
Robert King Music Sales. Keep in mind, though, that even these retailers
don't have anywhere near the complete repertoire for trombone solo and ensemble. The explosion of desktop publishers in recent years means there is truly no "one stop"
resource that can identify all available literature.
- George B. (G.B.) Lane
- The Trombone in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982. ISBN 0-253-36091-9 (hardcover)
- !!!!! This book borrowed heavily from unpublished doctoral dissertations and other secondary sources,
with some of the borrowings lacking sufficient bibliographic documentation
(see the review by Mary Rasmussen in MLA Notes, September 1984, pp. 67-9). It was withdrawn
by the publisher and the remaining copies destroyed. You may still run across a copy in your local or college library but
exercise caution when reading it and check all facts with other sources.