O.J.'s Trumpet Page Articles and reviews

Bell Canto for Brass - Frits Damrow

Front cover of book
Bel Canto
is Italian and means "beautiful singing". It is also the name of the most famous of all vocal schools dating back to the 16th century. It is still in practice today. The relationship between the Bel Canto techniques and brass playing can be applied to the development of skills of any instrumentalist. The methods by vocal teachers like Guiseppe Concone or Marco Bordogni, have been popular and in use among brass players for a long time. The short melodius etudes found in Concone and Bordogni's books are called vocalises, since the singer have no text to the melody, but sing with a vowel.

Frits Damrow is Principal Trumpet with The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Holland. In 2003, together with pianist Clara Rullman, he recorded 20 selected vocalises by Concone, Bordogni, Mathilde Marchesi and Francesco Paolo Tosti.

A book containing these 20 vocalises and a demo / play along CD is now available from publisher De Haske

In the forword of the book, Damrow says:

These vocalises are first of all meant to develop a musical and melodic way of playing. The human voice should, as it were, stand for the goal that brass players wish to achieve with the help of these singing etudes.

Jazz players have always educated themselves by playing along with recordings. Playing along with Frits Damrow, listening to his great sound and phrasing will make you a better player. The basic idea would be to listen carefully to Damrow and then play along on the next track with the piano only. By doing that, you get a good rest between each vocalise. Also use your voice when listening to Damrow  - sing along  - then pick up your horn and play with the same "singing feeling"!

Damrow uses a Bb trumpet for the recording. All brass in Bb can play along with the CD, using the written music in the book. Other brass (in C, F, Eb etc.) will have to transpose.

Also available from the publisher is a book with the piano accompaniment.

Recommended !


Publisher: de haske
ISBN: 90-431-1809-5
Release Date: 2003
Trumpet: Frits Damrow
Piano: Clara Rullman
CD number DHR 13.257-3

o.j. 2004