- Samuel Adler
- Canto II (Oxford)
- Unaccompanied bass trombone. An advanced, 20th century work in four movements,
commissioned by Thomas Everett. While the music says "unaccomapnied trombone" it is
clearly for bass trombone, requiring a pedal G (as well as glissando, "rips," fast
technique, and fluttertonguing.
- T. J. Anderson
- Minstrel Man (Bote & Bock)
- Bass trombone solo with bass drum and high-hat cymbal (one player). This is an
attractive work for the bass trombone player who can do three things at once. There
are several long passages for bass trombone alone, and a long mid-sesction where the
trombonist also plays bass drum and high-hat. A quasi-theatrical work, very accessible.
For advanced players.
- Johann Sebastian Bach
- Cello Suites (Urtext cello edition, also Lusk or Vandersall)
- Unaccompanied bass trombone. The Cello Suites of J. S. Bach
are essential study and performance material for bass trombonists.
I recommend that a player get several editions of these, including
an "Urtext" edition for cello which contains only the slurs and
markings as appear in the manuscript copy of the Suites by Anna
Magdalena Bach (there is no MS in J.S. Bach's hand), and an edition
that has no markings at all, such as the one by Mark Lusk (published
by Lyceum Press, a division of Hickeys Music) or Vandersall. Also
of interest are the collected facsimiles of the four extant MS
copies of the Suites from the mid 18th Century (including one
which predates Anna Magdalena Bach's copy). For further information
see my FAQ
on the Bach Cello Suites.
- Johann Sebastian Bach
- Arias from choral works
- Bass trombone with piano. J.S. Bach's massive output of cantatas and other vocal
works provides a rich gold mine of material for transcription. I encourage students
to seek out arias which appeal to them in order to develop a vocal style of playing. My
book, "Trombone Essentials" (published by G. Schirmer) contains several arias and songs
by various composers including "Quia Fecit Mihi Magna" ("For He That Is Mighty")from the "Magnificat" of J.S. Bach
and the famous song, "Bist du bei mir" ("If Thou Be Near") which, while attributed to
Bach for many years, was actually written by Gottfried Heinrich Stolzel.
- La Femme a Barbe (Leduc)
- Trombone with piano or orchestra. Berghman's solo ("The Bearded Woman") is one of
a series of works which take their title from circus scenes. It reflects the two sides of
the circus side show act - plaintive and moody and upbeat and "on parade." While not
specifically for bass trombone, it does not pose any particular range demands and works well
on bass trombone.
- Christopher Brubeck
- Bass Trombone Concerto (Brubeck Music)
- Bass trombone with orchestra. Chris Brubeck's Concerto is one of the most vibrant,
exciting works for bass trombone. In a jazz idiom, it is in three movements: "Paradise
Utopia," "Sorrow Floats," and "James Brown in the Twilight Zone." It requires a
skilled player with both a good high range (the second movement hangs above the staff
for a long time) and low range (to pedal E flat) as well as the ability to play in
an improvisatory style. I have performed this work on three occasions, both at the
International Trombone Festival and with the Boston Pops Orchestra (it was taped in
broadcast on the "Evening at Pops" television series). For information about rental of
the piece, as well as to order Chris' own recording of the work with himself as soloist
with the London Symphony Orchestra ("Bach to Brubeck"), visit the
Brubeck Music website.
- Eric Culver
- Suite for Unaccompanied Bass Trombone (TAP)
- Unaccompanied. In my mind, this is the finest piece for unaccompanied bass trombone
I have ever played. In four movements, it is written in Culver's "Contemporary Baroque"
style which is quite compelling. As a trombonist, he knows the instrument well and it
explores the full range of the instrument in every way, and manages to plumb some sublime
emotional depths as well. A very well written work which is an essential part of any
bass trombonist's library
- Jean Michel Defaye/Knaub
- Deux Danses (Leduc)
- Bass trombone with piano. Donald Knaub arranged Defaye's "Deux Danses" (originally
for tenor trombone with piano) for bass trombone, keeping it in the original key and
taking most of it down an octave from the original. The cadenza is slightly modified
as well. It's fun to play although some of it doesn't "work" as well as it does for
tenor trombone, and you need a fine accompanist, especially for the second movement
which moves at a very fast clip. It has become a standard work for bass trombone in
- Dave Eshelman
- The Wharton Concerto (Walrus Music Publishing)
- Bass trombone with big band. This attractive and challenging work was written
for bass trombonist Jennifer Wharton. The solo part is demanding but very rewarding, a
satisfying composition in every way.
- Eric Ewazen
- Concerto (Southern Music)
- Bass trombone with orchestra or piano. Bass trombonist Stefan Sanders (now with
the Bufalo Philharmonic Orchestra) gave the premiere of this piece. I consider it one
of the finest works for bass trombone - a very rewarding solo part and the orchestra
accompaniment is excellent. First class repertoire for advanced players, and an
excellent choice for a concerto competition (OK, I'm bragging, but my oldest daughter,
Linda Yeo, was a winner at the Wheaton College Conservatory Concerto Competition with
this work in 1999).
- David Fetter
- Variations on Palestrina's "Dona Nobis Pacem" (Fetter)
- Unaccompanied bass trombone. This piece was originally written for tenor
trombone (in the key of G) and transcribed for bass trombone (in
the key of E flat) at my suggestion. The well known melody is
put through a series of creative variations. It is an effective
recital or jury piece, and I recorded it on my CD Proclamation.
- David Fetter
- Split Personality (Profile and Insomnia at Pops) (Fetter)
- Unaccompanied bass trombone. This extensive work shows the true
story of the life of a professional musician. The first part,
"Profile" is in three movements and is a serious work which David
Fetter wrote for me several years ago. Each movement, "Lyric,"
"Blues March: Jazz Gospel Credo," and "Comforting" reflects a
different mood and exploits the bass trombone very well in all
of its color, dynamics, range and character. I recorded "Profile"
on my CD Take 1.
"Insomnia at Pops" is a nightmare of a symphony musician caught
in the world of too many obligtory pops concerts. It is uproariously
funny, and a theatre piece as well. Program notes to it may be
and it may be downloaded for free from David
- Canzoni per Basso solo (Doblinger)
- Bass trombone with organ. Frescobaldi's Canzoni were written for an unspecified
bass instrument with organ, they work splendidly on bass trombone. In two volumes, they
also work well on bass sackbut or serpent. The Doblinger edition is quite good,
scholarly without being stuffy and very practical.
- 6 Sonatas for bassoon or cello
- Bass trombone with piano. Originally for bassoon or cello, these Sonatas are
among the most standard repertoire for trombone and bass trombone. They exist in
many editions, the most common for trombones being that published by International Music.
Better, find an edition written for bassoon, as trombone editions often have editing
which eliminates many low notes.
- Todd Goodman
- Sonata for Solo Bass Trombone (Wrong Note Media)
- Bass trombone unaccompanied. This is a fine, three movement work for solo bass
trombone. The three movements ("Thundercracke," "Quite," and "Derby") are highly evocative
and pose good but reasonable challenges on the performer. Valve trills, multiphonics,
nimble technique, fast tonguing and soft, legato playing in the pedal register are all
required but well rewarded. The "Sonata" was commissioned by R. Charles Jacks.
- George Frederic Handel/Yeo
- Sonata Op. 1, No. 12 (International)
- Bass trombone with piano. Originally for violing with continuo, I arranged this
work for one of my graduate recitals at New York University in the mid 1970's and it was
subsequently published by International Music. I provide the orginal figured bass
figures in the keyboard part, and also provided a sample "improvisation" for the slow
movement. This edition was my first for a major publisher, and it shows how I go about
making a modern transcription - I attempt to preserve the character of the original while
being practical about writing for a modern bass trombone. The Preface I wrote at the
beginning of the piece was the first International had ever printed in a trombone edition, and
I was grateful to them for allowing me to discuss some of the issues involved with
making such a transcription, and as well being able to mention several baroque and classical
treatiese of performance practice which performers could read to better inform their
interpretation of the piece.
- Walter Hartley
- Sonata Breve (Tenuto/Presser)
- Unaccompanied bass trombone. Commissioned by Thomas Everett, this is one of the
"standard" works for unaccompanied bass trombone. In two movements, it requires a
nible technique, good, flexible use of the valve register, and the ability to flutter
tongue. It is a commonly heard work on college auditions.
- Frigyes Hidas
- Meditation (Editio Musica Budapest)
- Unaccompanied bass trombone. This one movement work of contrasting styles was
also commissioned by Tom Everett. It is a good interpretive study, with many changes
of character. Glissandi, pedal tones and a good high register are required, although the
technical challenges are not very great.
- Paul Hindemith
- Drei Liechte Stuecke (3 Easy Pieces for cello - Schott)
- Bass trombone with piano. Originally for cello and piano, these three short movements
work spectacularly well for bass trombone. In fact, this piece was one of the required
solos when I auditioned for the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1984. Each movement is
in a different tempo and character and is quite effective. Bass trombonists can
easily play off the original cello part. A superb recital piece
in every way.
- Paul Hindemith
- Alto Horn Sonata (Schott)
- Bass trombone with piano. The Hindemith Sonatas for various instruments are counted
among the standard repertoire for every instrument. However, Hindemith did not write a
bass trombone Sonata, so bass trombonists periodically appropriate the Tuba Sonata (with
mixed success). One can argue, too, that the Trombone Sonata is not the most interesting
Sonata Hindemith wrote. I have often enjoyed the Alto Horn Sonata, one of the least
performed of Hindemith's works. Written for the E flat alto horn (an instrument used
in British style brass bands), this Sonata works very well on either alto trombone or
on bass trombone. Reading E flat alto horn music (which is in treble clef) as if it were
written in bass clef (and making the appropriate three flat adjustment in the key signature)
makes reading this music very easy. A unique feature of this Sonata is Hindemith's poem,
"The Posthorn" which is to be read by the soloist and pianist in a dialogue before the
- Alan Hovhaness
- Symphony No. 34, op 310 (Fujihara Music)
- Bass trombone with string orchestra. This fine work by one of
America's great composers was written for bass trombonist David
Taylor. I recorded it on my compact disc Take
1. It employs a modal style of writing which is characteristic
of Hovhaness which allows the soloist to "sing" many hymn like
melodies. The first movement is notable for a very long cadenze
in the valve and pedal range, accompanied only by double bass.
A very challenging and evocative work. It is available only on
rental from Hovhaness' publisher, Fijihara Music, 18206 51st Ave.
South, Seattle, WA 98188 USA.
- Gordon Jacob
- Cameos (Emerson Edition)
- Bass trombone with wind ensemble (concert band) or piano. Tom Everett commissioned Jacob to
write this attractive five movement work, each with a programatic title. It requires
a nimble technique and a high b flat (the last note of the piece!) although it does not
make many demands in the valve and pedal register. It is also available with piano
- Gordon Langford
- Proclamation (Chandos)
- Bass trombone with brass band or wind band or piano. Roger
Challoner Green commissioned this fine piece for inclusion
on my solo CD with Britain's Black Dyke Band, Proclamation.
In one movement, it begins with an unaccompanied solo for bass
trombone, to which the band texture is gradually added. It is
full of drama and passion as well as tenderness, and exploits
the full range of the bass trombone without ever resorting to
tricks. It is a fine opening work for a recital and has the distinction
of ending softly. Proclamation is also published with piano accompaniment.
- Concertino, Op 45, No 7 (Gehrmanns)
- Trombone and orchestra or piano. This work is for tenor trombone, although it does not have
high range demands and works well on bass trombone. The second movement, in particular,
works very successfully on bass trombone.
- Alexy Lebedev
- Concerto No. 1 (Hofmeister and Editio Musicus)
- Bass trombone and piano. The Lebedev Concerto was originally written for tuba,
Lebedev having been a tubist himself. It became popularized among bass trombonists in
an edition by Allen Ostrander, former bass trombonist of the New York Philharmonic
Orchestra. Ostrander's edition is published by Editio Musicus and it has become one of the
most "standard" works for bass trombone. In one movement, and in a neo-romantic style,
the Concerto is an attractive work which suffers, unfortunately, from a dreadful, heavy
handed, "Soviet" style coda. Ostrander's arrangement, however simplifies a number of
passages (in particular to eliminate double valve notes and some fast triple tonguing)
and omits the original introduction to the piece. A new edition by Hofmeister represents
the original version of the piece and is recommended. The orchestral accompaniment for the
Concerto No 1 is available on rental by contacting the
Hofmeister rental department.
A concert band accompaniment is also available for purchase from
Spaeth-Schmid, although I do not
know if this is an authorised transcription nor do I know the quality of the arrangement.
- Richard Lieb
- Concertino Basso (Carl Fischer)
- Bass trombone and concert band or piano. Dick Lieb is a studio trombone player in New York
City who wrote this work for his friend, Alan Raph, one of the most well known studio
bass trombonists in New York. It is cast in a jazzish mode, with a nice ballad section
in the middle and a cadenza. The piece contains an alternative solo part for tenor trombone
and also has a piano accompaniment. While not among the most significant works for bass
trombone, it has the advantage of having an accompaniment which can be played by most
high school band.
- Franz Liszt
- Hosanna (Schott)
- Bass trombone and organ. This is the only known work written by Liszt for the bass
trombone. It is neither technically difficult nor musically complicated, being based
on a hymn tune with simple variations.
- Benedetto Marcello
- Six Sonatas for cello (various publishers)
- Trombone and piano. Marcello's Cello Sonatas figure, along with the Galliard
Sonatas, among the standard repertoire for trombone and bass trombone. While not
terribly substantive musically, they provide players with suitable repertoire from the
Baroque which is helpful in developing a good technique. The Sonatas are available in
editions for cello or trombone from various publishers including International Music
and G. Schirmer; the First Sonata appears in my book, "Trombone Essentials" published
by G. Schirmer and is edited especially for trombone players.
- Benedetto Marcello
- Oboe concerto (International Music)
- Trombone and piano. The Marcello Oboe Concerto is an appealing Baroque work,
suitable for transcription to bass trombone. I am not aware of a trombone edition of
this piece, but I play off the oboe edition, 2 octaves lower than notated.
- Patrick McCarty
- Sonata (Ensemble Publications)
- Bass trombone and string quintet or piano. Patrick McCarty's Sonata is a popular,
standard work for bass trombone, playable by advanced high school or college players. In
three movements, it works very well with the original string quintet accompaniment (2
violins, viola, cello and bass). It thoroughly explores the dorian mode and requires
agility from the soloist with fast technical slide movement, octave leaps as well as
an extended passage in pedal tones (going to pedal E). The Sonata can also be played
effectively with string orchestra.
- Wolfgang Amade Mozart
- Bassoon Concerto, K. 191 (various publishers)
- Bass trombone and orchestra or piano. Mozart's Bassoon Concerto is not the most stunning of the
genre, but has an appeal which makes it accessible to both players and listeners. In
B flat major, it works well on bass trombone (tenor trombonists would likely adjust some
of the low notes) as a recital piece.
- Wolfgang Amade Mozart
- Horn Concerti (various publishers)
- Bass trombone and orchestra or piano. Mozart wrote four Horn Concertos, all of which work well
on bass trombone. Depending on the edition you use, you will be playing off a part for
F horn, or in the case of some of the Concerti, an E flat horn part.
- Vaclav Nelhybel
- Bass Trombone Concerto (Southern)
- Bass trombone and orchestra, wind ensemble or piano. Vaclav Nelhybel wrote this
Concerto for me in 1990 and I premiered it in Boston with the New England Conservatory
of Music Wind Ensemble. It is a demanding work in a dramatic style, covering the full
range of the bass trombone. It is one of the most significant pieces written for bass
trombone and has the flexibility of being played with orchestra or wind ensemble (both
orchestrations as well as the piano reduction were done by the composer) and requires an
- Vaclav Nelhybel
- Concertato for tenor and bass trombones (Southern)
- Tenor and Bass trombones with wind ensemble or piano. After the success of his Bass Trombone
Concerto, Nelhybel turned to write a duet for tenor and bass trombones with band, which
waas premiered by Mark Weaver and Vic Johnson with the US Coast Guard Band. It is a very
challenging work, which is also available in a version for soloists with piano and percussion.
- Capriccio for Tuba Solo (Schott)
- Unaccompanied. Penderecki is an important composer of our time, and his unaccompanied
Capriccio for tuba (written for tubist David Braynard) works very well on bass trombone.
It is quite challenging, but very rewarding. The piece contains elements of dance
as well as more free forms as well. A pedal D is requires as well as a good technique and
a good musical imagination.
- Goff Richards
- Rainy Day in Rio (Studio Music)
- Bass trombone with brass band or piano. Goff Richard wrote this work for
my CD Proclamation.
It's a joyous piece, in a light Latin style, featuring legato
playing from the soloist in a nice samba. The band parts are very
challenging and fun to play. Rainy Day is also available with
a piano accompaniment.
- Rimsky Korsakov
- Trombone Concerto (various publishers)
- Bass trombone with concert band or piano. Rimsky Korsakov's
Trombone Concerto works well on bass trombone as there are no
extreme range demands (up to a high b flat) and in fact in its
original version, requires a low E flat with the valve. I recorded
this piece on my solo CD Take
1. There are many editions of the piece, some of which
erroneously indicate some passages to be taken up an octave, and
others which modify the cadenzas.
- Walter Skolnick
- Three Pieces (Presser)
- Unaccompanied Bass Trombone. Walter Skolnick is a composer based in New York City
and he wrote this work for Charles Vernon of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It is
a very fine unaccompanied work in three movements. Tenor clef, glissando, and cup mute
are required, as well as a nimble tongue. The finale, Toccata, is especially interesting.
- William Grant Still/Yeo
- Romance (International)
- Trombone and orchestra or piano. Still is one of America's most important composers. This work
was originally written for saxophone but was long out of print; Still's daughter sent a copy
to me and I thought it would work very well for trombone (or bass trombone). International
Music has published it in my edition for trombone and piano, but Still's orchestra
accompaniment is also available on rental from International Music. Romance is a very
beautiful, impressionistic work which provides a nice contrast on a recital without
being too taxing.
- Richard Strauss
- Horn Concertos 1,2
- Bass Trombone and orchestra or piano. The two Strauss horn concertos work nicely on bass trombone,
and players can read off the original E flat horn solo part by simply reading the music
as if it is in bass clef and making the requisite key signature adjustment. These
are strong works for advanced players, but are very rewarding to play.
- A Hundred Bars for Tom Everett (Editio Musica)
- Bass Trombone and bongos. As the title indicates, this work, of 100 bars in length,
was written for Tom Everett. It is a challenging work for two players (two copies of
the music are required) and it has been recorded by
on his CD "Past Tells."
- Sonata in f (International)
- Bass trombone and piano. This is another useful Baroque piece which works very well
for bass or tenor trombone. It is similar in character to the Marcello Sonatas but of a
higher musical quality.
- To Be or Not To Be (Leduc)
- Bass trombone and trombone trio or piano. This is a high quality recital work for solo with
trio of three tenor trombones. Written for bass trombone or tuba, it is based on the
monlogue of Hamlet by Shakespeare. It is highly dramatic and requires excellent
coordination between soloist and ensemble. It is also available with piano accompaniment
but the trombone trio accompaniment is highly recommended. It has been recorded by
Blair Bollinger on his CD "Fancy Free."
- David Uber
- Skylines (Hidalgo)
- Bass trombone and brass ensemble or brass band or piano. David Uber is one
of the most prolific writers for trombone, with over 300 compositions
to his credit. A fine trombonist himself, and a longtime teacher
at Trenton State College (New Jersey), he wrote "Skylines" for
me and I premiered it at the New York Brass Conference. In three
movements, it reflects three cities where I have been active in
my career: New York, Chicago and Boston. "Skylines" was subsequently
arranged by John Harpin for brass band and I recorded it on my
solo CD, Proclamation.
- Ralph Vaughn Williams
- Tuba Concerto (Oxford)
- Bass Trombone and orchestra or piano. The Vaughn Williams "Tuba Concerto" works well on bass trombone
(I was a winner of the Wheaton College Concerto Competition on this piece when I was
a student there in 1975). In three movements, it is very challenging and demanding, and
the trombonist will need to make a few modifications for tuba trills, etc. The Concerto
is also available in an edition for tuba and piano.
- Donald White
- Tetra Ergon (Kagarice Brass Editions)
- Bass trombone and piano. This is one of the most significant
pieces written for bass trombone. Long out of print, I am glad
to finally see it available again. Donald White has written an
excellent tribute to four players who have greatly influenced
the trombone world: Emory Remington, Lewis Van Haney, Bill Bell
and Dorothy Ziegler. It requires an advanced player (the range
goes from high b flat to pedal C) and a superb pianist but is
well worth the effort (I performed this work on my senior recital
at Wheaton College in 1976 and recorded it on my solo CD Take
- John Williams
- Tuba Concerto (Hal Leonard)
- Bass trombone and orchestra or piano. John Williams, the well known composer and former conductor
of the Boston Pops Orchestra, wrote this piece for the 100th anniversary of the Boston
Pops in 1985 for Boston Symphony tubist, Chester Schmitz. At Chester's suggestion, I
learned the piece and have performed it many times on bass trombone, including a performance
with the Boston Pops Orchestra with John Williams conducting. It is a virtuoso work
for the most advanced of players, but is highly exciting and rewarding. The Concerto
is also available for tuba and piano.
- Alec Wilder
- Sonata for Bass Trombone (Margun)
- Bass trombone and piano. Alec Wilder's Sonata is one of the most performed works for
bass trombone. In five movements, it calls for an advanced player to play in a
wide variety of styles.
- Lawrence Wolfe
- Wildfire (Warwick Music)
- Bass trombone and concert band. Lawrence Wolfe is Assistant Principal Bass with the
Boston Symphony Orchestra and has written two works for me: Wildfire and Triptych. Wildfire is a one movement work,
about 10 minutes long, which is highly virtuosic. It is very demanding but very rewarding
and the band accompaniment can be played by an advanced High School or university group.
- Lawrence Wolfe
- Triptych (Warwick Music)
- Bass trombone and brass band. Triptych was written at my request after the
success of Lawrence Wolfe's "Wildfire." At the time I was planning
my CD Proclamation
and I wanted a work from Larry for the album. Rather than simply
transcribe "Wildfire" as I suggested, he decided to compose a
new piece. In three movements, it is another virtuoso work which
has some difficult parts for the brass band. Black Dyke Band had
their hands full ad my recording sessions, but the end result
was a spectacular piece. result
- Douglas Yeo
- Trombone Essentials (G. Schirmer)
- Bass trombone/trombone and piano, also unaccompanied works. This collection of solos
contains transcriptions for trombone/bass trombone from vocal and instrumental works
including arias by Bach, the Marcello Sonata 1, the Schumann Adagio and Allegro, as well
as flute pieces by Telemann and CPE Bach. The book is designed for the advanced high school
or college player and has met with great success among players looking for suitable
study and recital material.