CoLab 2015: Too Many Trumpets

Sarah Owens

Sarah Owens

Good evening after a successful first day of CoLab! Very pleased that my project “Too Many Trumpets” has got off the ground to an enthusiastic start so far, and a plan of action for the rest of the week – looking forward to what we’ll have for the performance on Friday already!

So we started off today by bringing in and collecting from around college the many different types of trumpet that exist so we could “have a play”. The whole point of the project is to try new combinations of instruments in a trumpet choir style ensemble, working out what blends well and what doesn’t, but to start with we just wanted to try out all the new shiny things! We have a good range of instruments; Bb, C, Eb/D trumpets, Bb Cornets and Flugel horns, Natural trumpets, Eb Soprano cornet, Piccolo trumpets (piston and rotary valved), Bb and C German rotary valved trumpets, bass trumpet, Cornetto (which is like a big recorder with a trumpet mouthpiece really). We enjoyed this a lot, quite geeky really.



After trying out so many trumpets and a few of our composer’s arrangements, our lips were pretty dead so made a spectrum out of the trumpets by when we thought they were invented in history, so you can see the development through time.


We particularly liked the arrangement of “Hymn to the Fallen”, but when we originally played it we used a combination of trumpets, cornets, flugel and bass trumpet which for the style wasn’t right. So we tried it again with cornets, flugel and bass trumpet and the blend was a lot better but could be further improved by using all flugels and bass.

Over lunch we dicussed our plan for the performance and how we intend to conclude our discoveries. We have a plan for the week, which has already been altered but a slight structure is in place! In the afternoon, we started talking about ideas for the composition specifically for our group and Sandy (the composer) wrote down our ideas, which we will all get to work on tomorrow morning. Mind maps are wonderful things so I wrote down things during our discussion with mentor Andrew Dunn, and also about what we had already discovered through the day.


So far, a great productive start and it’s fantastic that everyone’s so keen to learn more about and experiment with the trumpets and their uses!

Sarah Owens

Too Many Trumpets will be performing on Friday at 12pm in Butler’s Bar, King Charles Court. For more information about this CoLab project, visit

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