Date: Tue, 07 Nov 2000 14:37:06 -0500
From: "Hutson, Timothy B" <hutsont@BATTELLE.ORG>
Subject: BookReview: Top Tones for the Trumpeter by W.M. Smith

I recently bought a book that I have seen many times but never paid much attention to.  As soon as I started playing it I realized how good this book really is.  I think that there must be many more like this out there that are "common knowledge" that I don't know anything about (Being "Uncommon" myself.).  And so, in the hopes of perhaps stimilating more such reviews so I can spend more money on books, I thought I would submit this.  I have tried to make it as useful and descriptive as possible so that its pretty clear what the book is about.  I have therefore included several categories that provide evidence for the level of player it is aimed at.


Title: Top Tones for the Trumpeter by Walter M. Smith (Pub. Carl Fischer)

A book of 30 "Modern Etudes" (all 2 pages in length) starting in the key of C and progressing through 7 flats and 7 sharps.  Also included are "Preparatory Embouchure Studies" with emphasis on embouchure development and function.  Contains a preface by Smith and brief descriptive text emphasizing the approach to each etude as well as what it is intended to allow the player to work on.  There are also instructions on the use of the "Preparatory Embouchure Studies".

Preparatory studies go from low C to G above high C in a series of two octave exercises.  Etudes, almost without exception, go from below the staff to high C.  Perhaps 70% go up to D above high C with occasional forays above that (E and F).  Most of the notes are written in the low C to high C range.

Etudes provide work on not only playing in various keys, but also on single, double, and triple tounging was well as fingering and style.  Tempos and keys (eg: C minor) are marked.  Most etudes focus on a single type of technique (eg: single tonging) but some also integrate several techiques. Lots of jumps and arpeggios to keep the embouchure working.

Comments (all of the following "IMO"):
The "Preparatory" studies and text are really helpful in getting your embouchure working correctly.  The emphasis is not on range (although it appears that that is the way the exercises are structured) but on playing with ease in the mid and high range.  Playing the etudes with good sound, technique, and at the dynamics marked is very challenging (to this reporter anyway:-)  ).  Playing them without a properly developed embouchure could lead to use of pressure.  IMO the first order of business when playing these etudes is to play with as much ease as possible and not resort to pressure. The "Preparatory Embouchure Studies" work really well for showing you how to do just that.

Tim Hutson