Six Sonatas for Bass Trombone or Tuba and Piano
These settings of the Galliard bassoon sonatas grew out of a perceived need for more “intermediate-early advanced” solo literature for the bass trombone, as well as more settings of Baroque-period works for that instrument. While the sonatas are playable on the bass trombone in their original keys (whether at pitch or down one octave), by setting them in lower keys I have endeavored to make them useful for developing tone quality and technique in the valve register, while not going so low that clarity and facility might be compromised (as can be the case when playing in the original keys down one octave). The new keys I have chosen for each of the sonatas are closely related to the original ones, in every case down a perfect fourth or perfect fifth, so something of the “sound” of the original keys is maintained. Other than the key changes I have made very few adjustments to the intervals in the solo or left hand keyboard parts; in the places where I have done the most editing I have provided cues for the original intervals and/or rhythms so that the player can choose whether to perform the simplified part I have provided or something closer to the original.
The new keys (as well as copyright considerations) necessitated that I provide entirely new figured bass realizations for the accompanist’s right hand. These are entirely my own, though in the early stages of this project I did consult with Professor Stacy Rodgers, my colleague and collaborator at the University of Mississippi. I have provided more than a simple harmonic accompaniment in my realization; each movement has a number of short melodic passages to provide interest in the keyboard part for both performer and listener. Still, I have been purposefully reserved in writing these parts, and in no case should the keyboardist feel obligated to strictly adhere to the part as I have written it. I have left the figured bass in the score so that the performer can modify and/or build upon what I have provided, particularly in the repeats (as Professor Rodgers did when playing and recording one of the sonatas with me). I have labeled the accompaniment part simply as “keyboard” with the understanding that these sonatas were originally intended for performance with harpsichord (assisted by cello or bassoon) or organ, though I am sure that the vast majority of performances of these arrangements will have piano as the accompanying instrument. My “keyboard” part has thus been written with that instrument in mind. If performing with harpsichord assisted by cello or bassoon those players will need to make adjustments in places where the bass lines extend below the ranges of their instruments.
While I am confident that my right hand part is a faithful realization of the harmonic structure indicated by the composer, no attempt has been made either in my keyboard realization or in my light editing of the solo part to adhere to present scholarly conventions regarding the interpretation of “early music.” I have constructed these arrangements to meet the needs of twenty-first-century student (and professional) bass trombonists, and thus I have provided the interpretive markings which I believe will yield the most pleasing performances on that instrument. That said, I have sought to be modest in my indications of tempo, dynamics, articulation, and ornamentation, as these sonatas will admit varying interpretations in those respects. Performers and teachers are welcome and encouraged to experiment in order to find the interpretations which they think most effective.
Although I originally created these arrangements with the bass trombone in mind, I am sure that they will work equally well on tuba. Due to range considerations similar to those I mentioned above for the bass trombone, they might be particularly better-suited to performance on the F or E-flat tubas than previous editions of these sonatas. I am looking forward to using these arrangements with my students on both instruments, and hope that others will find them useful, as well.
parts included: Bass Trombone/Tuba