New Baroque Trumpet with 3-hole system (from Friedemann Immer)

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“Why build a new Baroque trumpet with the 3-hole system? After all, so far the 3-hole trumpet has been a great success: With a rich palette of bell shapes, leadpipes and bows, and with production quality ranging from standard to historic, musicians enjoy the many combination possibilities these instruments have to offer. Indeed, currently hundreds of trumpeters all over the world are playing these instruments.

And yet over time it became clear that there was potential to improve upon these instruments, especially in regards to intonation and to the response on d'' and g'. The d'' is relatively split-prone and has brought problems to many players.

Therefore we—that is, Rainer Egger, his colleagues and I—considered how to approach the problem. I have played 3-hole trumpets now for over 30 years, through countless concerts and recordings, but have also gathered enough experience throughout my career —in the study of physics and mathematics among others—that I felt I could bring something to the development of a new instrument.

It occurred to us that the Baroque trumpet without any holes—also called the natural trumpet—doesn't have the above-mentioned intonation and response issues. This brought us to the idea to change the form of the bell, the transition to the bows and the form of the bows themselves to be nearer to the form and dimensions of the natural trumpet. The result of these changes is so convincing that all of the trumpet players who tried this new instrument immediately noted its high quality, seeing it as a clear improvement. The aforementioned problems with individual notes were minimized—sometimes even completely overcome!

In the long term, we are also planning to develop a Renaissance bell after Hainlein in order to also offer an improved instrument suitable for earlier repertoire. At the moment I am playing on a prototype of this instrument and use it successfully for 17th-century music, from Fantini to Biber and Vejvanovsky.

With this new model of 3-hole trumpet, there is now also the possibility to use a long bow with only one bend and a longer leadpipe in the place of the 3-hole bows. With this system one can convert the trumpet to a Baroque trumpet without holes (i.e. a natural trumpet), or on request with one hole (F-hole)—a very economical way to enter the world of holeless playing on the Baroque trumpet.

Despite the new sources that have come to light, as well as recent reflections on and investigations into the use of finger holes or overblowing holes on the baroque trumpet in the 18th century, it is still the most reasonable conclution that until the end of that century, baroque trumpets were normally played without finger holes.

My opinion is that the sound of the Baroque trumpet is mainly defined by the shape of its bell, its dimensions, and above all, the shape of its mouthpiece; whether finger holes—one, three or four—are installed or not does not have a deciding influence on the sound.

I appreciate having a 3-hole trumpet which also has the necessary outfitting to train and practice no-holes playing—which in my opinion is for historical trumpet players absolutely necessary."


Friedemann Immer, July 2011 

Professor for Baroque trumpet at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln and at the Amsterdam Conservatory. 

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