Every so often a project comes along that the instrument design staff at Yamaha just can’t say no to. Such is the case when Brandon Ridenour (Canadian Brass) first approached Wayne Tanabe in September 2009 about making a double bell trumpet for his appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Ensemble. Brandon was scheduled to perform the Peter Eötvös composition Snatches of a Conversation which calls for a double-bell trumpet enabling the soloist to switch quickly between different mutes.
Working in close cooperation with the R&D staff in Japan, Wayne put together a plan for how to configure this unique instrument drawing from pieces and parts of the Yamaha artist model C trumpets. The starting point was a Yamaha piccolo trumpet (YTR-9835) valve casing but with bigger ports, a YTR-9636 Eb trumpet leadpipe, bells from an Artist Model C trumpet and a rotor from a student french horn. The 4th valve actually produces a quarter tone rather than the typical step-and-a-half.
In mid-February Brandon visited Yamaha Artist Services in NYC to play the new instrument. He found the instrument to be exceptionally comfortable to hold and easy to transport since the 2nd bell detaches to fit in a standard Yamaha double trumpet case. Although there are a few little tweaks to be made and possibly some silver plating (we’d love to see Tomoji engrave a double-headed dragon on the bell), this double bell trumpet is an unbelievable work of art created by the artisans at Yamaha.
Hear a little bit of what Yamaha staff member Bob Malone and trumpet artist Brandon Ridenour had to say about the unique piece and the Yamaha instrument.
View the entire collection of images for this instrument on the YamahaWinds Flickr page.
Watch the entire 16-minute interview with Brandon on the YamahaWinds facebook page.
Oh…and we’re thinking of calling this instrument Sotoh-Ryu (双頭竜 ) which means “Two Headed Dragon” in Japanese. Seems fitting!