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Podcasts at a Glance
Episode 126 - Live at IHS 2011
Episode 125 - Summer Camps
Episode 124 - First Horns
Episode 123 - Cool Cases
Episode 122 - Gordon Higginbottom
Episode 121 - Dream Horns
Episode 120 - How Much Practice?
Episode 119 - Top 5 for 2010
Episode 118 - Oil!
Episode 117 - Back to School
Episode 116 - French Horns on YouTube
Episode 115 - 2010 IHS Symposium
Episode 114 - Patterson Shoot-Out
Episode 113 - French Horn Nation Live
Episode 112 - Alto Horn Advocate
Episode 111 - Double Descants
Episode 110 - Ascending Horn
Episode 109 - High Notes
Episode 108 - Mouthpiece Recommendations
Episode 107 - Beyond Farkas
Episode 106 - Embouchure Tools
Episode 105 - Vienna Horns
Episode 104 - James Peterson
Episode 103 - N.A.M.M. 2010
Episode 102 - Mike McCool
Episode 101 - Top 5 for 2009
Episode 100 - Secrets
Episode 99 - Coping with the Tenor Horn
Episode 98 - Horn Hacks
Episode 97 - Listener Questions 5
Episode 96 - Patterson Leadpipe
Episode 95 - Humboldt Workshop
Episode 94 - Mouthpiece Wheel of Doom
Episode 93 - Single Horns
Episode 92 - Horn Matters
Episode 91 - Marching w/ French Horns
Episode 90 - DCI 2009
Episode 89 - French Horn Nation 2009
Episode 88 - 2009 IHS Symposium
Episode 87 - Tenor Horns on YouTube
Episode 86 - Listener Questions 4
Episode 85 - Gino Cipriani
Episode 84 - Complete Guide to Brass
Episode 83 - Mellos on YouTube 3
Episode 82 - ID'ing Old Horns
Episode 81 - History Revisited
Episode 80 - Quick Horn Changes
Episode 79 - Limited Practice Time
Episode 78 - John Meehan
Episode 77 - History of the Mellophone
Episode 76 - Getting It Back
Episode 75 - N.A.M.M. 2009
Episode 74 - Must-Have CD's
Episode 73 - Nirschl and Monette
Episode 72 - Pimp My Horn
Episode 71 - Top 5 for 2008
Episode 70 - Fingerings
Episode 69 - 4 Christmas Clips
Episode 68 - Gifts '08
Episode 67 - What We're Playing Now
Episode 66 - St. Paul's Brass Quintet
Episode 65 - CN's Tenor Horn Adventure
Episode 64 - Bonnie Ott Thompson
Episode 63 - Improv for Dummies
Episode 62 - All-American College Band
Episode 61 - Mellos on Facebook
Episode 60 - See the Girls Dance
Episode 59 - Marching French Horns
Episode 58 - Piston/Rotor Horns
Episode 57 - Bb Marching Horns
Episode 56 - Getting Back In Shape
Episode 55 - Vibrato
Episode 54 - Listener Questions 3
Episode 53 - Blazing Technique
Episode 52 - Range
Episode 51 -
Tonguing & Articulation
Episode 50 - Flexibility
Episode 49 - Drum Corps Minis
Episode 48 - Holly Marino
Episode 47 - Chris Nalls
Episode 46 - The Brass Gym
Episode 45 - Carmel Kenton Project
Episode 44 - First Year Anniversary
Episode 43 - 3 Listening Assignments
Episode 42 - Music Librarian Karen Smith
Episode 41 - Kevin Gamin
Episode 40 - Intonation
Episode 39 - Jupiter Quantum 5050
Episode 38 - Churches and Pits
Episode 37 - Karl Hammond
Episode 36 - Griffin Gunter
Episode 35 - A Mello Catechism
Episode 34 - Mellos on YouTube 2
Episode 33 - Listener Questions 2
Episode 32 - Top 5 for 2007
Episode 31 - Corps Auditions
Episode 30 - Gifts
Episode 29 - Kelly Smith
Episode 28 - From the 50 Yard Line
Episode 27 - Coping as a Trumpet Player
Episode 26 - Summer With Teal
Episode 25 - What's In Your Case?
Episode 24 - G Mellos
Episode 23 - Mello for Woodwinds
Episode 22 - Listener Questions 1
Episode 21 - Mini Corps 2007
Episode 20 - Mutes
Episode 19 - The IYM Mouthpiece
Episode 18 - J.D. Shaw
Episode 17 - DCI Finals 2007 Recap
Episode 16 - Descants & Triple Horns
Episode 15 - Coping as a French Hornist
Episode 14 - Music in Motion
Episode 13 - Buying Mellos on eBay
Episode 12 - Mellos on the Web
Episode 11 - Warm-Ups
Episode 10 - The Great Mouthpiece Debate
Episode 9 - Yamaha Mellophones
Episode 8 - New Horns at WW&BW
Episode 7 - Mark Taylor
Episode 6 - The Mellophonium
Episode 5 - Mellos on YouTube
Episode 4 - Paula Hyman
Episode 3 -
French Horns & Tenor Horns
Episode 2 - Our Horns
Episode 1 -
Buy John's Book!
A Mello Catechism: A Guide to the World of Mellophones and Marching Horns.
A slightly irreverent but highly practical tome on all things
Mellophone. Includes information on Mellophone history, mouthpiece choices, tone quality, intonation, coping with marching, and much more. 30 pages.
Episode 100: Secrets|
Dr. John Q. Ericson,
We finally made it to Episode 100!!
Mark has finally written us theme music! It's called "Wednesday Nights at
8," which is usually when we record. It has 5 Mellophone parts, and Mark
is playing all of them on his Yamaha 203 with the new IYM mouthpiece.
We did not get nominated for a Podcast Award. Try again next year.
Chris is having the Renegade Mellophone section use the new System Blue
We all talk about our first Mellophone experience.
Chris says we should go on YouTube to find
Mike the Ripper.
We all reminisce fondly about the 16E, except for Mark who's never played one.
- Listening Assignment: "God
Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
A Merry Christmas by Stan Kenton
- See previous MelloCasts for information about this
- Chris was hired once to play it, and made the
mistake of trying to do it on French Horn.
- JD Shaw still
does a version of it.
Running Time: 31:29
Episode 99: Coping with the Tenor Horn as a French Hornist
Before we get started, Mark Taylor is trying to raise funds to record his new
Go to this website if you want to help out.
Like the Mellophone, Tenor Horn seems to attract French Horn players. As
we'd mentioned, both Mellophone and Tenor Horn are not related to the French
Horn. Additionally, with the Mellophone you have many mouthpiece options
while with Tenor Horn you really need to use a real Tenor Horn mouthpiece.
As a horn player, this can cause problems as they're so radically different and,
sadly, impact both your Tenor Horn AND French Horn playing.
The first key difference is that due to the fact that the Horn mouthpiece is a
funnel and the Tenor Horn mouthpiece is a cup, your oral cavity has to adjust
accordingly. That will impact tongue placement as well. The result
could hurt your Horn tone and attack.
Beware of plateaus in your progress.
Everything is a coordination between tongue, lips, fingers and AIR.
Change of gear (like a mouthpiece) can also help. Or hurt. Mark
likes the Moosewood T-Rex
for horn players who double on Tenor Horn.
Warm-up becomes critical. If you're going between instruments, each
warm-up session becomes even more important as it focuses you on that
According to Greg Monks, you can successfully play different horns if you make
practicing all of them part of your daily regiment.
- Listening Assignment: "Meiso"
by John Golland from the CD "The Essence of Time" by The Black Dyke Mills Band
- This features a Tenor Horn and Baritone duet.
Sandy Smith is the Tenor Horn soloist, and Peter Christian is the Baritone
- This was written for the Black Dyke's tour of
Japan in 1990.
Running Time: 32:08
Episode 98: Horn Hacks
Dr. John Q. Ericson,
This episode is inspired by
this YouTube video.
Watch it now. Really.
So the topic is about non-invasive hacks you can do to your horn (Mellophone or
French Horn) that can impact your playing.
The first obvious thing is the mouthpiece. Curry is now touting the HitMan
mouthpiece. But since the Curry 1HTF is an optimal Mellophone mouthpiece,
you should be able to get one.
There are also now heavy mouthpieces, such as the IYM and Hammond.
There are also CCaps and
Many feel Sound Sleeves are not as effective as heavy mouthpieces because
they're not all one piece. By the way, Wick makes Sound Sleeves (called "Tone
Boosters") for the French Horn.
AcoustiCoils are also
supposed to be good at centering pitches. There are many major
endorsements. You can use the AcousitCoil on any brass instrument.
Toneblobs are basically
CCaps for the French Horn. They're pricey! Patterson also makes the
Magic Disk, which does similar.
BTW, here's Chris on
YouTube! Nice shake!
Running Time: 34:41
Episode 97: Listener Questions 5
Andrew is a horn player with a bad tone. Chris says have good equipment,
make the right embouchure and have a good concept of the sound in your head.
Jackie wants advice in getting into the corps of her choice. Chris says to
go to their website and get their audition packet. Have a positive, upbeat
attitude. Expect that everyone who shows up can play. Let your
personality sell it. Scooter says don't wear paraphernalia from your high
school or from another corps.
Zontise is going into the 9th grade and is going to play Mellophone for the
first time and wants to know what is a good Mellophone to start with is?
Also, where can you find a mouthpiece? In truth you're going to be stuck
with whatever the school has. Don't discount them -- try them all to see
which one is best for you (and don't go by looks). If you're going to buy
one, there is no such thing as a starter line. If you're going to buy one,
buy a Yamaha, Dynasty, King or Jupiter. As for mouthpieces, go to
Mouthpiece Express or
Woodwind and Brasswind.
Spencer is asking about using the Bach Megatone Flugelhorn mouthpiece.
Scooter says go for it. You may need to use some tape as an adapter.
A jazz trumpet player (and acquaintance of Mark's) wants to add Mellophone to
his arsenal. He has sensitive chops and wants to find the right
mouthpiece. Blessing 5 is an option.
- Listening Assignment: "Timefield" from the CD "QuietLand"
by Mark Taylor
- There is a video of Mark on
was inspired by rows of clocks in a train station.
Running Time: 33:58
Episode 96: Patterson Hornworks Mellophone Leadpipe
Patterson Hornworks has made a lead pipe
for the Yamaha Mellophone that has the taper and receiver of a French Horn
leadpipe. They have made them for a number of schools so far.
There is not much about it on their website, but there is some stuff on their
This is a significant change to the instrument. The Mellophone is not a
French Horn -- it's more of a Cornet.
It could be good in a high school setting when you're trying to grow some Horn
The Marching French Horn has a more gradual flare from the valves to the bell
than the Yamaha, making this hybrid a completely different instrument.
There has been so many developments in Mellophone mouthpieces, that they are now
considerate of the French Horn player -- in particular the
It almost becomes unnecessary to worry about the mouthpiece.
- Listening Assignment: "Dance Five" by Arkady
Shillkloper from the CD
Running Time: 29:46
Episode 95: Humboldt State University Brass Chamber Music Workshop
Starting last year Chris started attending the
Humboldt State University Brass Chamber
Workshop. It's in a rural setting with 70 other brass players.
The first interview is with Tony Clements, the executive director of the
The workshop started in 1974.
The purpose is for brass players to get together to share their love of chamber
music. Attendees age from 16 to 90 and come from all over the country.
The second interview is with Scott Hartman, a horn coach form the workshop.
He explains the purpose of the coach and the work he does for the workshop.
Due to the lack of brass sextets and septets, they sponsor a
each year. The winner gets $2,000!
- Listening Assignment: "Homage to the Noble Grape: IV.
Fundadore" by Goff Richards, performed by Walter Hilgers & Young German Brass
- This is representative of the music that gets played at the workshop.
Running Time: 31:55
Episode 94: The Mouthpiece Wheel of Doom
Dr. John Q. Ericson,
First off, Mark has posted a
YouTube video from his
CD re-launch performance.
Meanwhile, John had a visit at ASU from J.D. Shaw!
And now for the Mouthpiece Wheel of Doom. This is a situation where you
spend all your time testing mouthpieces. We've all been caught there from
time to time.
The Wheel of Doom isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can keep things
The Wheel of Doom is for all brasses, not just French Horn or Mellophone.
Speaking of Mellophone and mouthpieces -- please avoid using trumpet mouthpieces
on the Mellophone. It will have ugly results.
There is a difference between using several mouthpieces and constantly trying
different mouthpieces. The Wheel is about the search. You don't get
any practicing done -- you're always just trying mouthpieces.
Keep in mind that mouthpieces can be mismarked. Also, two mouthpieces of
the same model can have differences.
- Listening Assignment: First movement from "Deja View"
performed by 2009 Star United Mini-Corps, written by
- All four movements are heavily dependent on percussion. All the
brass players had to play percussion some time during the show. The
book calls for 8 percussionists, and they pulled it off with 3.
Mellophone are Sean Conley, Scooter Pirtle, Mike Chromik, Angie Medford and,
for this performance, Angela Zoss.
Running Time: 31:21
Episode 93: Single Horns
Dr. John Q. Ericson,
Single horns come in F and Bb. The Bb single horn has a lot of good
applications. The F single, not so much.
Farkas feels a single F horn is good for beginners. Al disagrees.
John feels a single F horn for a beginner sets them up for failure.
Single Bb horns are light, responsive and easier to play. Dennis Brain
recorded on a single Bb horn.
Double horns, as opposed to single Bb horns, have a bigger overall sound.
But if the horn is too heavy it will sound dull.
Remember, a Bb single horn plays in F, not in Bb.
Using Bb fingerings from middle C to G can sound a little harsh, but it can
sometimes be more desirable and give better results.
- Listening Assignment: "Kennebrew's Dance" from the CD "QuietLand"
by Mark Taylor
- This was Mark's first CD and was just reissued.
- Make no mistake --
Mark is VERY talented.
Running Time: 32:50
Episode 92: Horn Matters Website
Dr. John Q. Ericson,
John's Horn Notes Blog is going into a
new phase. Along with
author of the Horndog Blog, they are
going to create a new website called Horn Matters.
Horn Matters will contain content from both the Horn Notes Blog and the Horndog
John is a fan of Google Reader for
reading blog posts.
They're hope is to present something unique to all other blog sites,
music-related or otherwise.
This WILL take the place of the Horn Notes Blog. All of the previous
information will be imported in.
The Mello Zone
will stay where it is.
Both John and Bruce are in the Phoenix area. It's a hotbed of horn
- Listening Assignment: The Y2K Bug Blues by Ray Burkhart
- The Renegades Brass Ensemble will be playing this at the DCA I&E
- The Renegades will not present a mini-corps this year, but
Chris has put together a brass sextet for this.
Running Time: 24:51
Episode 91: Marching With French Horns
Dr. John Q. Ericson,
Sometimes you just have to do it. John marched with a French Horn all
through High School and College.
Yes, French Horns don't project forward like a Mellophone (or marching French
Horn). In John's experience, the band director would often write the drill
with the horns facing their bells to the audience if it was a passage that
At the Bands of America 2003 championships, one band had 12 French Horns
standing on risers behind Plexiglas with microphones (they didn't march).
John says it's not necessary to use a different mouthpiece when marching.
It probably is a good idea to use a rim with more width to it, as opposed to the
You can hold the horn with your right hand in the bell OR holding the bracing in
the right hand (pulling out the main tuning slide a LOT) and try to play in
Remember, French Horns are more fragile and more expensive.
Military bands march with French Horns all the time.
- Listening Assignment: "Free" from the CD "State of the Art."
- You're not going to hear French Horns, but you'll hear 2-valve Marching
- You should still be able to get this CD from the Blue Devils' website.
This CD is a combined recording of the Blue Devils and SCV.
- Chris is
playing on this, and listen for the metered lip trills.
Running Time: 19:50
Episode 90: DCI 2009 with Kevin Gamin
As of this recording, the DCI finals are about a week and a half away.
If last year has taught us anything, it ain't over til it's over.
Blue Devils have been out front almost
all season -- at least a point ahead of everyone else.
Crown is on the rise, which is
exciting. And don't rule out Vanguard,
who is becoming an audience favorite.
From the other end, the Troopers
have a shot at being in the top 12! Colts,
Academy are on their heels, though.
We're also excited the Cascades
are back! Also, newcomers Jersey Surf
is making a good showing
As for Open Class, shout-out to Blue Devils B, who are dominating Open Class.
Capital Regiment is also back and
coming on strong.
We're predicting a Blue Devils sweep in both classes. Chris thinks the
Cavies could challenge them. Al is
rooting for Vanguard and Crown. Kevin thinks the
Cadets could also surprise us.
Phantom is a surprise. They're rewriting most of their show right now,
which has hurt them some. They're brass scores are good.
- Listening Assignment: 2nd Movement from
Phantom Regiment's 2009 show "The Red
- They're using the new Jupiter horns! They sound good, but Kevin
misses the King sound in the contras.
- Scooter did an
update on the modifications to the Jupiter Mellophones.
- We love the
big Mellophone push at the end of this clip!
Running Time: 29:02
Episode 89: French Horn Nation 2009
Dr. John Q. Ericson,
On June 21 around the country is the Make Music festival, a festival of outdoor
music. In New York City Mark hosted French Horn Nation.
This year in Make Music NY there were between 800 and 900 performances.
Turnout was admittedly light (more like French Horn Neighborhood). The
final count was 7.
Mark's goal was to have a good time. Fortunately, they did!
The group was located in Columbus Circle (Merchant's Gate). They played
for 3 hours.
Mark would eventually like to develop this into an event that involved the
Mark was recommended to do this by Amie Margoles (Amie
- Listening Assignment: "I Got it Bad, and That Ain't Good"
performed by French Horn Nation.
- This is the ONLY clip from the group!
- This is one of
Marshall Sealy's charts.
Running Time: 16:44
Episode 88: 2009 International Horn Society
Dr. John Q. Ericson,
We're back! After a long hiatus, we're finally back! (You can see
what I've been doing by
We had some forum problems, but hopefully they're fixed now. But whoever
is spamming us, please stop!
In June, John attended the 2009 International Horn Society Symposium in Macomb,
Illinois (Western Illinois University). John did a great job
documenting it in his blog.
John let a session entitled "Instruments Your Teacher Didn't Tell You About,"
where he talked about single F horns, single Bb horns, natural horns, descant
horns, triple horns, Wagner tubas, alto/tenor horns and Mellophones.
John got to play some of the London Horn Sound arrangements, as well as in some
recitals. He played Wagner Tuba on some of the London Horn Sound
He got to hear Annamia Eriksson
play. Check out her
At the banquet, John played "Misty" on the Mellophonium. He actually got
booed when he came out! By the end he had won them over.
- Listening Assignment: "Caseoso" from the London Horn Sound CD "Give
- John got to play this at the symposium.
- He also played earlier
arrangements, which were very different in their writing.
- The London Horn
Sound brings something new to the table.
Running Time: 29:49
Episode 87: Tenor Horns on YouTube
- Clip 1:
Variations on a Tyrolean Song."
- The clip doesn't mention the soloist.
- You can find this solo in the back of the Arban book.
- Clip 2: Owen Farr
plays "An Untold Story."
- Clip 3: Owen Farr shares the secret to learning triple tonguing and gives us a demonstration.
This is an instructional video.
He ascribes to the Ta-Ta-Ka approach.
He is a BEAST!
- Clip 4:
"Georgia on my Mind" - Moreland City Brass Band
- This is done in a documentary sort of way.
Clip 5: 11 Tenor Horn Solo Funk by Allen Vizzutti
- Soloist is Heidi Dyer, recorded at the William Parker School
- Allen Vizzutti is featured on a video podcast by Yamaha. Hunt it
down on iTunes - it's great!
- Clip 6:
Winton SA Band Tenor Horn Soloist David Ramsay - Demelza
- The view isn't the best.
- His vibrato is a little bit much.
- Clip 7: Metropole Brass Band Antwerpen - The Piper O' Dundee - Kenneth Downie - Francis Impens
- The soloist's tone is a little trumpety.
- This is on Sheona White's CD (which all of you should have).
Clip 8: Abide With Me
- This is done by William "Waldo" Wassik
- He multi-tracks the Tenor Horn, Baritone, French Horn and Tuba
- Clip 9:
- On 26 April the Dutch broadcasting studio TVL ("Blaosmeziek" made by Wim Cremers) broadcasted the World record attempt of Hans Boschma. Title: "World Champion All-around Brass Player All Styles."
- How about the right-handed French Horn playing!
- This guy plays EVERY Brass instrument in this clip.
Clip 10: Dick Cary
and the Climax Jazz Band - Magnolia's Day
- This is from a TV show in 1978.
- Apparently Dick didn't know the tune ahead of time and went in cold.
- His mouthpiece seems a bit small.
And here's the bonus link
we promised. Give it a viewing. You'll be glad you did!
- Listening Assignment:
"An Untold Story" from the CD
An Untold Story by Owen
Farr and the Cory Band.
- This CD is very accessible.
Running Time: 28:20
Episode 86: Listener Questions 4
Court asks if anyone has tried the Amati AMP 203, which is similar to the Conn
16E. Sadly, none of us have, but we'd sure like to!
Olof asks about the marks on his valve tuning slides. Either the horn was
meant to play in Eb, or they were marked by a previous owner. Marking
valve slides is a common practice.
Erika wants to know if 3rd valve is a viable alternate fingering to 1&2. Yes, it
is. It's good to not only know the good alternate fingerings, but when to
use them and if they help with intonation.
Misael is playing along with a trumpet but the notes aren't lining up. The
key here is to get your head around the relative keys. All brass function
the same way, but their fundamental pitch is different in some cases.
John A. is a trumpet player and wants to play a Mellophone but have it sound as
close to a French Horn as possible. We recommend using a traditional
Mellophone with the largest mouthpiece possible. Also, Chris has some
recording tips to do with a Bellfront Mellophone.
Justin wants to form a Brass trio, but nobody plays French Horn. Can they
substitute a Mellophone or Mellophonium? The answer is HECK yes!
Just make sure the parts don't get too low. There are a number of groups
(like St. Paul's Brass Quintet) who do just that. It makes the group more
- Listening Assignment: Suite from The Ogre, Movement 2 -
"Meeting the Moose" by Dave Lee from
Under the Influence.
- Chris considers this contemporary chamber music.
Running Time: 28:04
Episode 85: Interview with Gino Cipriani, Brass Caption Supervisor for The Cadets
Gino and Chris met in the Blue Devils. Gino started trumpet in the 6th
grade. In the 9th grade he joined the Florida Vanguard, which became the
Florida Wave. When he graduated High School he marched with the Blue
Devils in 83, 84 and 85.
He then moved to Los Angeles and went to Cal State Northridge to play, but took
on teaching. He then worked with Blue Devils B in 1989. He taught B
corps through 93, but starting in 1990 he also helped the A corps, starting with
After his B corps duties were complete, he would work with the A corps. In
1994 he was full-on A corps with no B corps. He worked with the A corps
through 1999. He was offered to teach with The Cadets in 2000 and 2001.
02 and 03 he worked with Magic of Orlando. In 04 he worked with Santa
Clara Vanguard, and has been with the Cadets since 2005.
The Cadets' Mellophones are considered the "Golden Section" as Jay Bocook writes
for the section. In truth, the Mellophone really has a limited speakable
range on the field of about an octave.
The 2000 Cadets were the first to use B-flat horns. They were also the
first to have a contract with Yamaha.
2004 with SCV was also a "magical" year.
Gino feels the horn line takes on his passion and personality. There are
many YouTube clips of Gino
conducting that shows his energy and personality.
Gino started working with DCA in 2001 with the Syracuse Brigadiers. He
also assisted the Caballeros and the Reading Buccaneers.
His biggest influence was Wayne Downey, who he worked under for 11 years.
As far as brass technique in general, breaking down sub-captions can take a long
time. Gino takes all aspects and puts them into one exercise.
He has a book
where you can see a lot of this in action. Flexibility always seems to
need the most work.
He ascribes to the "Brass Triangle" - breathing, embouchure/aperture and tongue
placement. All problems can be broken down to these three areas.
Over time Gino has seen piston/rotors go to 3 valves, G to B-flat, addition of
voice and electronics, and now the addition of sampling and keyboards.
He has his sections work extensively on the B.E.R.P. because it truly simulates
For those interested in pursuing a similar path, he offers this advice:
Don't be afraid to pay your dues.
- Listening Assignment:
"Rocky Point Holiday" by the 2000 Cadets recorded at an encore
- The Cadets always play Rocky Point last thing before
going on the field. Once they play it, they know they're ready to
go on the field.
- This has the "golden" parts.
- There are lots of videos on YouTube of Gino
conducting Rocky Point Holiday (like
Running Time: 56:32
Episode 84: A Complete Guide to Brass ... Almost
Dr. John Q. Ericson
Many music educators use the book
Complete Guide to Brass Instruments and Technique by Schott Whitener in
their methods classes. There are chapters on almost everything.
They seem to like Gordon Higginbottom.
He was the first Tenor Horn virtuoso.
It gives some information on the Tenor Horn.
They mention that the Hindemith Althorn Sonata was written for the oval-shaped
Althorn, not the Circular Alto as some may think.
After covering a LOT of obscure brass, it talks about Brass in the Marching
Band, which takes up all of 2 pages (out of 400).
The Altonium gets a mere footnote. The Altonium is a variation of the
Trombonium, and it is not the same as an Alto Horn. They became quite
popular in marching band before the Mellophone was used.
The book comes right out and says the Eb Alto Horn was a marching substitute
for the French Horn. We feel it's a bit vague. This contradicts Greg
and Kenton in that the Alto Horn and French Horn co-existed for many years.
It then mentions instruments like Alto Trumpets, which had their problems.
They were followed by the Mellophonium and the Frumpet, which both had
intonation problems. Greg posted information on the
on Al's Mellophone Page.
They say the most widely used instruments are the Marching Mellophone in F and
the Marching French Horn in Bb, though they do make them in F. Chris LOVES
He says intonation is the biggest problem. We feel there are other
problems, such as tone quality and evenness of tone.
He suggests using a French Horn mouthpiece with an adapter or the mouthpiece
that comes with the horn. We disagree.
As little information as they give, we're at least glad they have
SOMETHING, whereas many texts ignore the Mellophone completely.
- Listening Assignment: Fourth movement, "Lebhaft"
from Sonata for Alto Horn in E-flat and Piano by Paul Hindemith, recorded by
Summit Brass, featuring Larry Strieby on horn and Theodor Lichtmann on piano
- There is text before this movement that is to be read by the pianist and
- The horn part is deceptively tiring, and the piano part is
Running Time: 36:35
Episode 83: Mellos on YouTube 3
- Clip 1:
Lino Patruno and his Blue Four is back, featuring Michael Supnick with "I'm
Through With Love."
- Clip 2: University
of Wisconsin's Mellophones performing "Layla"
- These folks have a great presence on YouTube.
- We want their
- Clip 3: Billy
Taylor Explains Cool Jazz - Ladybird
Another golden clip! This one rocks on so many levels.
This clip features Don Elliott, which is always great!
We'll play the whole audio for a future Listening Assignment.
Billy Taylor has a website
full of clips!
- Clip 4:
The Cavaliers Mellophones I&E 2008 playing "Till Eulenspiegel"
- The video isn't that great, unless you like watching the backs of
Clip 5: Bluecoats
Mellophones practicing their parade tune
- Short but fun. Bluecoats have a great Mellophone section.
- Clip 6:
Clip 7: Basin
- When the bassoon and Mellophone collide. Be afraid.
Clip 8: Al playing
Jingle Bells on the Circular Alto
- I give this guy credit for his enthusiasm, plus the reference to
Al's Mellophone Page
(though he did kind of misread it)
Spirit Mellophones I&E 2008 playing "The Barber of Seville Overture."
- Okay, it's a little off-season.
- No, my hair is not that white.
"The Barber of Seville" by the 2008 Spirit Mellophones.
- This is not on YouTube, but you can find it on MySpace Video.
- These guys do a GREAT job! We want a copy of the arrangement!
- They won the 2008 I&E Brass Ensemble with this.
Running Time: 34:39
Episode 82: Identifying Old Horns with Kenton Scott
Dr. John Q. Ericson,
Most of the E-mails we get are for I.D.'ing old horns. I always refer them
to Kenton Scott.
A common question is whether the horn is a Mellophone or a French Horn.
Same goes for trumpets and cornets, as well as baritones and euphoniums.
A bad indicator is looking at the mouthpiece. This is a bad plan as most
people keep the original mouthpiece if they like it. Another bad indicator
is reading the case, as the case wears out before the horn does.
Most people are interested in how old their horn is, and how much it's worth.
Serial numbers are useful only with certain makers. The serial number's
purpose was for the manufacturer to keep track of parts. Some may have two
numbers - one on the valve section and one on the bell.
Engravings are also maker-specific. Some give more information than
others. Some will have a number in it, the year it was made and where it
was made. Also, company names in the engraving can help narrow the date.
The valves can also be an indicator, as there are various types of piston and
rotary valves. Finger buttons, valve caps, water keys and finish can also
If you want help from Kenton, take photos of both profiles of the horn, the
engraving, and anything stamped on the valves or mouthpiece receiver.
- Listening Assignment:
"Canto Serioso for Horn and Piano" by Carl Neilsen, from the CD "Canto,"
performed by Dr. John Q. Ericson.
- This is not an often performed piece.
- It's written for low horn.
- This was the first piece John recorded.
- John has recorded 2 CD's so far, but there is not a
third one in the works yet.
Running Time: 28:34
Episode 81: Mellophone History Revisited with Kenton Scott
Dr. John Q. Ericson,
In the early 1800's there were many families of instruments. Saxhorns were
the instruments sold to the military.
Around the American Civil War there was a standardization of instrumentation.
Many bands used Over-The-Shoulder instruments, which were handy when marching
but not good when giving a concert. At this point, the lead voice was the
The Professional Band and the Community Band then came into play.
Community bands had 2/3 brass to 1/3 woodwinds, and the professional bands were
the opposite. The mid-voice was the Alto Horn (or the British Tenor Horn),
as well as the B-flat Tenor Horn.
French Horns got its foothold in the Professional bands, which also still used
Alto Horns. When the French Horn made its way into the Community Band, it
was in E-flat.
The Mellophone finally came onto the scene, and because it played in F and
E-flat it could work as a French Horn or an Alto Horn. (We're not sure why
it also came in D.).
Eventually the instrumentation of the band consolidated more, eliminating some
of the more obscure instruments. Parts no longer were labeled "Alto" but "Eb
In truth, pointing the bell down makes no real sense unless it was trying to
cover as a French Horn.
The peak years for the Mellophone were possibly in the 1930's. This
corresponds to the school and community band movement.
They faded out until Stan Kenton came along and changed the Mellophone's role
completely. The Conn 16E's, by the way, were E-flat instruments, but
everyone played them in F. That's why it's more in-tune when the E-flat
crook is in.
- Listening Assignment:
"Maria" arranged by Stan Kenton from the CD
Kenton's West Side Story.
- The Mellophonium work on this CD is outstanding.
- Apparently the Bernstein camp was going to stop this
CD until they heard it. Then they not only supported it, but they
let Kenton use a picture from the movie on the cover.
Running Time: 39:25