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Sometimes I Wish That It Would Rain Here

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

76 trombones

when I was 9 years old, I began playing the trombone. I played through the later part of elementary school, all through middle school and high school, and minored in music in college with an emphasis in trombone performance. unfortunately, when I got to grad school, I wasn't able to keep up with practicing, but I take it out from time to time just to remind myself how much I enjoy playing. recently, when recounting to Danyel how I played in trombone choir in college, how the tonal range of a trombone is strikingly similar to that of the human voice, and how in high school I played with a group called 76 Trombones in allusion to the Music Man number (which, for the 4th of July, did have damn near 76 trombones on stage together), he couldn't help but chuckle. "dude," he said (I'm paraphrasing here), "I understand that the trombone is a completely serious instrument, but imagine in everything you just said, replace 'trombone' with 'kazoo' and you'll have some idea how it sounded to me." I understand that people don't usually think of the trombone as the most sonorous instrument in the orchestra, but it really is a beautiful sound when played well.

turns out, this seems to be the general perception of trombones. in a recent LA Times article, the author says that a group of 22 trombones playing a bossa nova arrangement of "Fly Me to the Moon" is "surprisingly mellow and full." why should it be surprising? I guess the general populous just has this picture of trombones being more of a gag-style instrument than something that actually belongs in the London Symphony Orchestra. what a shame.

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