An Examination of Style in the Development of the Sonata for Trumpet and Piano (1903-2010)

Thumbnail Image
Publication or External Link
Jakuboski, Edward
Gekker, Chris
Beginning in the early twentieth century, many composers decided to showcase the trumpet as a vehicle for melodic expression. Through my selection of representative works, I explore the correlations between each composer, their musical influences and how their compositional ideas contribute to the development of the sonata for trumpet and piano. Traditionally, the instrumental sonata represents a chamber work for a soloist with piano in three movements, with at least one composed in sonata-allegro form. Often the outer movements are played at a faster tempo, while the middle movement is typically slow. The tradition of the sonata usually implies that both instruments are treated equally with a true musical dialogue occurring between them. My dissertation focuses on major works composed during the development of the sonata for trumpet and piano and how the stylistic components of the music are linked to Classical and Romantic music, in addition to jazz and modern music of the twentieth century. The organization of my recitals is loosely chronological with each piece representing trends in trumpet writing and pedagogy from composers representing Denmark, France, Austria, Germany, Russia and the United States. The works include seven sonatas for trumpet and piano (two performed on rotary trumpet), one for cornet and piano, and one for cornet or bugle and piano (performed on flugelhorn). In addition to performing these works, a complete analysis of the music confirms certain compositional, formal and style trends also present in works from the Classical and Romantic eras. Ironically, these periods of music history were times of relative dryness for solo trumpet repertoire. American sonatas, in particular, uncovered trends by composers that utilize components of jazz and modern harmony combined with both neo-Classical and neo-Romantic elements. Composers also continued to employ unique rhythmic structures and angular melodic writing while retaining the historical use of the trumpet by including heroic calls and exciting fanfare motifs. Experimentation with new timbres included the incorporation of various types of mutes and higher pitched trumpets that became commonplace in much of the modern trumpet repertoire. As a result, students of the instrument benefit from studying these solos.