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Re: the wonderful thing about triggers

> From:	  Nigel Wears <nwears@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject:       the wonderful thing about triggers

> "The wonderful thing about triggers is triggers are wonderful
> things" (With apologies to Winnie the Pooh)
> I've often wondered why Tenor Horns and Baritones don't have
> triggers, but can you tell us all where they might be placed, Les? 
> I'm sure we've all seen 1001 playing positions for the Horn, but,
> presumably the triggers will be mounted on the same position on the
> instrument as the cornet ones.  Is there any favoured position of
> the left hand amongst the Horn and Baritone fraternity?

I thought until recently that most good Horn players held the 
instrument around the valve casing. In this case triggers could be
mounted on the thumb or fourth finger sides of the casing. The
triggers could be on the third valve, main slide or first slide (all
achieving the desired effect of slackening off the pitch for fingered
combinations). However, all good Horn players do not hold the Horn
round the valve casing. Paul Holland, for example who is the first
horn player at Dyke, holds his horn around the third valve slide and
main. (This is almost certainly to do with the fact that he is about 9
feet tall (hence his nick name.) I guess that, in the short term at
least, triggers will have to be custom fitted.

> The more valves go down, the sharper the instrument gets, and I can
> remember being told that the note starts off in the mind.  A strong
> sense of relative pitch, and an ability to listen should be the best
> cure for bad intonation,

To true but even with the best will in the world you can't force the
machine to play in tune if it's out by a significant fraction of a
tone. For example, the opening of Phil Wilby's Revelation has the horn
section playing pp on pedal B's going to low F sharps. B's fine but
try playing a low F sharp in tune with a good sound without moving the
third slide.

> but triggers can help if they are used correctly.  I'm sure that if
> they are not, and the whole of the cornet section are going for a
> low C#, with different ideas of the pitch, and different extents of
> trigger extension they might as well be playing on a load of Larks!
> When were triggers first introduced?  On the Horn will there be a
> distance over speed problem to overcome, because of the length of
> the valve slides?

I guess players will adapt as always to make the best of what is

> Will they have to put water keys on the 1st and 3rd valve slides?


> Once the tuning slide is moved on an instrument, the valve slides
> need moving as well, and many players are not able to take
> responsibility for their own tuning, so just imagine the fun that
> triggers will bring.  Lots of practise.........."OK - Db major,
> Soprano, Horns and Eb basses please.....!"

I'm not sure that this is correct Nigel. If you can get the thing
roughly in tune with it's self (and this will be unique for each
player and for each instrument) then the main slide will affect the
pitch of the whole machine. The problem is if the player is still
hearing the pitch up or down depending on what they're used to
(sometimes having prior knowledge of how to make your instrument sound
in tune with various colleagues can be a burden). For example I
remember playing Rhapsody in Blue with a guy called Johnny Briggs. the
piano was quite flat and we had to adjust the Band accordingly.
However  the intonation within the Band wobbled a bit at first because
everyone was straining to play intune with everyone else (plus piano).
By the show it had settled down but what a relief to push back in and
go back to playing in Black Dyke Bright pitch.

In summary I think a trigger would be a wonderful thing (if it was
comfortable) especially for solo playing. However I haven't got one
yet and I don't intend having my Horn modified in the near future. A
guy from Booseys did come up to the Band with some triggered Horns for
us to try but none of us liked them. We did give him some suggestions
and perhaps we might see something on the market in the near future.

Hope this helps


Leslie McCormack	       EMC Engineer
York EMC Services	     Department of Electronics
University of York		Tel: +44 (0) 1904 434440  
Email lmm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx  Fax: +44 (0) 1904 434434

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