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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The “Concerto for Bass Trombone” by Thom Ritter George and the beginning of modern bass trombone solo performance
by Moore, Donald Scott, D.M.A., University of Cincinnati, 2010, 95; 3390372
Abstract (Summary)

This paper examines the literature for bass trombone of the late 1950s and early 1960s in order to establish Thom Ritter George's Concerto for Bass Trombone as a pivotal work that signaled an abrupt change not only in how composers regarded the instrument, but also what technical demands were expected of players. In the first portion of this paper, music of the past is examined to show that the mechanical developments of the past had a direct influence on the music written for the instrument. Due to the lack of solo material for the instrument before the 1950s, orchestral music is examined to identify perceptions commonly held by composers. Details pertaining to the development of the bass trombone traditions popular in Europe before 1900 is described in detail, as is relevant information drawn from primary sources. There follows a detailed discussion of the rapid changes made to the instrument in the twentieth century, making use of interviews with performers and instrument collectors along with standard reference works.

An overview of Dr. George's career is provided with a biography. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of Robert Braun, the bass trombonist for whom the piece was written, is unknown. The author has used a variety of sources to reconstruct the events leading to the creation of the Concerto and to determine the type of instrument used by Braun for the initial performance.

There has been disagreement concerning when the double-valve bass trombone was created. This research examines various sources to show who was responsible for the creation of the instrument and determine that the instrument could not have been used for the initial performance of the George Concerto.

A performance assessment is included to show how the modern enhancements to the instrument inspired the techniques used in the Concerto. In order to demonstrate the radical change of technique in the Concerto, performance assessments are included of other works composed during the late 1950s and early 1960s. This data clearly shows how the double-valve bass trombone, and especially the "independent" double-valve bass trombone, makes the Concerto far easier to perform.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Anderson, Timothy
Commitee: Flinn, Wesley, Gardner, Randy
School: University of Cincinnati
Department: Trombone
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 71/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Bass trombone, Concerto for Bass Trombone, George, Thom Ritter, Moore, Donald Scott, New Orleans, Trombone, Trombone history
Publication Number: 3390372
ISBN: 978-1-109-58990-0
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