Stack’n’Growl - Study for Bb Trumpet

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
1 minute
Modern classical music
Solo instrument (Trumpet in Bb)
Instrumental parts
Not available

A former A-level student of mine who now studies trumpet at the Royal Northern College of Music was looking through some of my compositions online and remarked that I hadn’t written anything for trumpet but that he’d be interested if I did. My experience of brass writing is very limited so I didn’t think I would write anything but, lying in bed that night, the opening fanfare like motif came to me. I’m reading Oliver Sacks’ "Musicophilia" at the moment and he describes the way in which many musicians have an "internal iPod" which is either invasive ie plays music all day long or part of a composer’s creative mechanism. Anyhow, next morning I notated the original motif and worked at developing it. I decided to add in some "growling" passages as I had introduced the former student to this technique as performed by jazzers such as Bubber Miley and Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton when looking at OCR AS jazz repertoire. The title - "Stack’n’Growl" - is a play on words on staccato as there is plenty of this in the piece but also on the 4ths and 5ths stacked on top of each other. The playing technique from the jazz era is called "plunge’n’growl" from the use of a sink plunger as a mute. There is no mute in this piece though. I am aware that this note is longer than the piece itself…

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