Long Lost Books by Arban
Restored & Translated for the First Time in Over a Century
qPress, as established and operated be Reveille member Timothy Quinlan, just unearthed, restored, and translated books by Jean Baptiste Arban that have not been seen in over 130 years and, before today, have never been read in English. Read below for the back story about these wonderful pieces of trumpet history.
The Instrument: The Cornet-Arban
At the end of his performing career, Arban returned to the Paris Conservatory for one more short stint of teaching. While he was there, he further developed the instrument variations he had worked on in the past with Antoine Courtois. His final creation came to be called the Cornet-Arban, and in the book “The New Cornet-Arban Conservatory Method” and it’s companion book “12 Studies for the Cornet-Arban,” he explains why this instrument design would be the cornerstone of his legacy.
The instrument had 4 valves as well as an extra multi-slide trigger, which effectively gave you a total of 5 different fingerings. This meant that C, B, Bb, A, and Ab were in absolutely perfect tune. With the addition of the fourth piston, the rest of the chromatic scale could be played accurately as well, doing away with all of the intonation problems we deal with on the three valve trumpet.
On his achievements he writes “I developed a system, with the help of which the cornet became an instrument as perfect as the flute, oboe, or the clarinet. I would say even more perfect still; because, on this new instrument, a player has two or three different ways to play the same note (which is to say any sharp, flat, or perfect diatonic note) and, therefore, can create the most delicate modulations with as much precision as it is possible to have on the violin.”
“The New Cornet-Arban Conservatory Method”
The Grand Method is a 71 page method to be practiced with his new instrument. But, it is 100% playable on a modern trumpet! That means 71 pages of studies, exercises, extensive style etudes, and solo repertoire, all from Arban that has never been seen before. This is one of the most incredible books released for the trumpet in the last century.
“12 Studies for the Cornet-Arban”
12 Studies for the Cornet-Arban is book that consists of 12 Style and Execution Studies for Arban’s newly invented cornet, along with 21 pages of writing, exercises, and pedagogical material to prepare you for the studies that lie ahead. The studies are on par with his Characteristic Studies, meaning they are challenging but highly rewarding, and I would argue they are more mature and musical as well. This makes sense considering these were written right at the end of his career, and about 20 years after he wrote his original method.
Translated for the first time into English and completely re-engraved by John Laverty, these are a wonderful addition to the trumpet catalogue.
Arban’s Daily Exercises “Gymnastics for the Cornettist.”
Arban’s Daily Exercises are subtitled “Gymnastics for the Cornettist.” In his foreword, he tells the reader that “the exercises contained in this collection are sufficient to maintain the agility of one’s fingers, the strength of the embouchure, the suppleness of the lips, as well as the evenness and lightness of the tongue. These exercises have been combined such that the artist will immediately find the perfect studies for all genres.”
He walks you through how you should practice each section, then he provides all of the exercises you need to maintain your chops, starting with flow studies, intervals, lip slurs, major, chromatic, and diminished scales, triplet arpeggios, double tongued major chords, and then articulated studies to be played on only one fingering as if you were playing a natural trumpet.
Translated into English and re-engraved for the first time in over 130 years, trumpeters are now able to go through the daily exercise routine of one of our forbearers, giving insight into the development of one of the most famous players in our history.