TROMBONES AND TUBAS
THE trombone, like the trumpet, is of ancient origin. The principle of the slide, or elongation of tubes within tubes, has been ascribed to Tyrtaeus, in 685 B.C., and even to the mythical Osiris. Such slides have not been found in ancient relies, but the early writers describe them. Arcadius, writing in A.D. 200, used as a simile the contrivance that could make the aulos elongate. Another ancient passage, attributed to Apuleius, states that when the channels (canales) of the trumpet (tuba) are moved in or out by the right hand, different musical sounds are produced.
At the close of the middle ages, trombones were well known in Germany, Hans Menschel being a celebrated trombone maker in 1520. A century later, Praetorius gave pictures of trombones in sizes corresponding to the alto, tenor, bass, and contrabass instrument. Bach used these various sizes, as well as a still smaller soprano trombone. The soprano trombone stood in B-flat, its first harmonic being a tone below middle C. This, like the other forms, was sometimes used to reënforce the voice part in concerted music. The alto trombone was a fourth lower, in F. The tenor trombone, the one usually employed now, is a fifth lower yet, in B-flat, with its first harmonic a ninth below middle C; while the bass trombone is in G, F, or E-flat. Wagner called for a contrabass trombone, an octave below the tenor form. With the use of the slide, it can get down to the lowest E on our pianos; and this tonal growl is found in the opera of "Siegfried."
The name trombone (German, Posaune; French, trombone; Italian, trombone) comes from tromba, and means a large trumpet, just as violone means a large viol. The old English name of sackbut is said to have been derived from the Moorish word sacabuche, meaning pump; and this term is decidedly expressive in suggesting the player's motions as he draws the slide in or out. This slide is entirely separate from the rest of the instrument. It is a long tube doubled on itself in the form of a narrow U. Both ends of the U fit over