Ever wonder why the low brass in some scores just have a sound you don’t hear in other scores. The graphic below tells the story. Here we have a voicing of an Eb triad following the harmonic overtone series in its construction. Ahh, but what comes next is in the instrumentation.

cimbasso and all bones

In this voicing, the cimbasso replaces the tuba. Above the cimbasso are four bass trombones and two tenor trombones distributed over R-R-5-R-3. The result is a glowing sound that’s resonant and sonorus.

But why?

We can find the instrumentation answer from the Spectrotone Chart (the aural answer comes from hearing it). The area of the tenor trombone range that Arthur Lange marks as dull, is replaced by the bass trombones. The tenor trombones are assigned to a pitch that’s also in the Red (glowing) aspect of the tenor trombones.

Looking at the 70th Anniversary Edition of the Spectrotone Chart, you’ll also see that the “Red” tone colors are falling in the Sub Bass, Low and Medium Registers.

This voicing is from the Oblivion score, OB_4m30 Aerial Battle orchestrated by Joseph Trapanese as found on Sibeliusblog.com.

I talk about this voicing and one other in Scoring Stages 2: Something From Nothing, Video Lecture 13A posting shortly.

You can do a basic MIDI mock-up to get the flavor. Two libraries I own that I know can do this chord are Project SAM’s Orchestral Brass Classic and East West Hollywood Brass. For the multiple Bass Trombone parts you’ll have to double up and use the transposition trick. You can also do this with Vienna, but you need Brass 2 for the cimbasso and bass trombone. You can also consider Wallander Brass.

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