The trumpet in Scotland from 1488 to 1800

McGrattan, Alexander (1999). The trumpet in Scotland from 1488 to 1800. PhD thesis The Open University.

Abstract

References to trumpeters appear in records of the Scottish royal court from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. During the reign of James IV, several groups of Italian minstrels came from Bologna to serve the Scottish King. The first group to arrive was a wind band, which was appointed to a permanent place at court. By the reign of James VI this ensemble had evolved into the royal trumpet corps. When James VI ascended to the throne of England and moved to London in 1603, the Scottish royal trumpeters were transferred to the English royal trumpet corps. Gradually, a royal trumpet corps was re-established in Scotland.

Solo items for trumpet, performed by one of the royal trumpeters, were included in a concert presented in Edinburgh in 1695, the first concert in Scotland of which details have survived. During the eighteenth century, a number of prominent professional musicians in Edinburgh served as royal trumpeters. Several of these appear not to have played brass instruments other than to fulfil their official duties.

A calendar of references to the trumpet, drawn mainly from archival sources, forms a central part of this thesis. Subsequent chapters analyse the material contained in the calendar and consider the deployment of the trumpet in a cultural context. Issues relating to terminology, patronage, repertoire and the symbolism of the trumpet are discussed. The study focuses on the use of the trumpet in royal service and provides the first detailed examination of the role of wind instrumentalists at the Scottish royal court during the sixteenth century. The ceremonial function of the trumpet is considered, and in particular its use in funeral and judicial ceremonies during the seventeenth century. The role of the trumpet in concerts and the theatre during the eighteenth century, and the relationship between trumpet and horn playing are examined, as is the function of the royal trumpet corps as a source of patronage for the Edinburgh Musical Society.

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