Trombone Parts

September 24th, 2014
contra, music, transcript, trombone, trumpet
I want to get better at playing horn parts at contra dances, but I'm not very good at figuring out what to play yet. A couple weeks ago the Free Raisins played the Montpelier dance with Nils calling. He's also a great contra dance trombone player, playing with Elixir, and he sat in with us for a few sets. People loved his playing, as usual, so I decided to listen back to it and transcribe the main ideas.

On The Danforth, key of A major. (without trombone)

  • The main idea is "A F# D" repeated, with an occasional "C# B" to lead back to the "A". This mostly goes over the A part. (mp3)
  • Another A part idea is to play "A C#, B A," an octave higher than the previous idea. (mp3)
Road to Erogie, key of A major. (without trombone)
  • One B part idea is "C# C# D E," which could be followed by going back down as "D C# B A" (mp3) or back down as "F# E D C# B A" (mp3). This works especially well over slow chords, changing its interpretation each time.
  • An A part idea is "C# D E, D C# D E A,," or instead of holding the final A you could follow it with an even higher "C# B A". (mp3)
  • An very simple idea is just to play sustained notes. In this case, just A (the root) over a lot of droning and the B when we switch from Erogie in A major to the same tune in B major. (mp3)
Speed the Plow, key of A major. (without trombone)
  • A simple A part idea is just "A C# D" repeated: (mp3).
  • Sustained notes are again good. Here's a sustained "A" with first an "E" pickup and then a "C# B" pickup: (mp3).
  • This idea is a reduced version of the melody. "E C# B, A," generally by itself but sometimes followed by "C#, D E": (mp3).
  • A bit of synchopation where the tune rolls around. "C# B C# D,, C# D, C# D, D E": (mp3).
I feel like transcribing these and playing these over has been helpful, but it's hard to summarize what I've learned. Maybe "use the major third (C#) a lot"? Mostly just priming my fingers with these sorts of parts.

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