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Tips for Composers Writing for the Trombone

A work in progress - new features will be added periodically

Gliss Info Sheet (PDF - 512K)

The trombone glissando is an idiomatic and frequently used technique that is often misunderstood. Too often composers write glisses that don't work on the instrument, thinking that any are possible. This information sheet outlines the rules for writing glisses that will work on the trombone. It can also be used as a slide position chart which shows the partials of the harmonic series. *Now updated to include glisses for the F-attachment, the bass trombone, and the alto trombone.

Mute Info Sheet (PDF - 18K)

Mutes can be a great device for creating additional colours in a score, but composers sometimes don't realize that we need time to put these mutes in and take them out. Also, sometimes notes are written that require the valve (which the trombonist uses his left hand to operate) and also call for plunger (or wa-wa mute) which also requires the use of the left hand. This information sheet provides some thoughts on writing effectively for mutes.

Trombone Valve (F-attachment) Info Sheet (PDF - 332K)

Most classical tenor trombonists use an instrument with an F-attachment. This information sheet provides an introduction to its operation, purposes, and range.


To view the downloadable PDF files, Adobe Reader is required - it is available free here.