The Trumpet by Edward Tarr

Edward H. Tarr, The Trumpet, Trans. S.E. Plank, Revised and Enlarged Limited Edition. Hickman Music Editions, 2008. 176 pages. $49 hardbound, $35 soft cover.

Ed Tarr’s excellent book on the trumpet has gone through a fairly extensive publishing journey. It was first published in German in 1977, went through a few editions then finally appeared in English translation in 1988. The latest edition, revised by the author, has been published by the noted trumpet player, editor, publisher, and teacher, David Hickman, in a larger size format. The book remains a wonderful overview of the history of the trumpet and its updated material adds to its significance to the field.

There are 8 extensive chapters in this book: The Early History of the Trumpet, Asiatic Forms of the Trumpet, Trumpet from the Fall of Rome until the Crusades, The Trumpet in the Late Middle Ages, The Trumpet in the Renaissance, The Golden Age of the Natural Trumpet, The Trumpet in an Era of Decline, and The Modern Epoch of the Trumpet: 1815- Today. The new information added is not extensive in most chapters of the book. Occasional references have been added concerning important new research or discoveries of music or instruments such as that of the Guitbert trumpet (1442) or the discovery of Verdi’s Adagio for Trumpet.  The extensive last chapter, on the modern instrument, has been heavily revised, as might be expected. The new information includes information on 20th and 21st century trumpeters, organizations, research, and performance activities. Tarr offers interesting observations on recent developments and performers. There are also many more photos included in this chapter. For this new information alone the new edition is a valuable asset.

What with the volatile state of book publishing, we are lucky that this new limited edition has found its way back in print. It remains an important study of the history of the trumpet.

-- Jeffrey Nussbaum