OUR FIRST FOUR VALVE INSTRUMENT!
By Dave Monette
A few years after Adam Rapa took delivery of his first Monette trumpet (the P3S Bb, designed specifically for him), he started asking me about making him a four valve Bb instrument. He was attracted to an extended low register and an unusually wide range of timbre. After having tried a few existing four valve flugelhorns, he determined the intonation and sound were not what he was looking for.
Adam asked me if I thought I could come up with something that would fit his sound concept and would actually play in-tune through all the valve combinations and all over the register of the horn. I eventually told him I'd do a meditation on it and see what I could come up with. Now several years later the horn is built, and Adam is using the Monette TANTRA for almost all his playing!
WHY THE NAME "TANTRA?"
TANTRA is a Sanskrit word derived from the word TAN, which means, "To stretch or extend." Adam's new instrument, with its fourth valve, has an extended low register which allows him the ability to play with at least five octaves of chromatic range!
Even beyond the extended range, the instrument has an unusually wide range of timbre. It allows the player to access sounds that run the gamut from one much like a mellow tenor trombone to the "biggest-sounding, screaming lead trumpet anyone has ever heard!" Given Adam's keen interest in all things Yoga and the extreme range of feminine to masculine sounds I knew Adam would get out of this instrument, I decided TANTRA was the perfect name for this new instrument.
WHAT DOES THE FOURTH VALVE DO?
The fourth valve lowers the horn a fourth, similar to some piccolo trumpets, tubas and euphoniums. The key to the success of this instrument is in the construction and subtle adjustments we made to keep the horn in "constant pitch center" through all the valve combinations. Other four valve instruments we have tried presented huge challenges in intonation, as they felt like completely different horns depending on which valve or valve combinations were used. As you can hear from the TANTRA video examples found on this page, the horn is remarkably even and balanced through all the valve combinations, and from double pedal C up to double high C and beyond!
Thanks to Adam for inspiring this new instrument, and for trusting that we could come up with something that would bring his performance to the next level! If you would like more information on Adam and this new instrument, visit his excellent website and keep an eye out for posts on the Monette Trumpets Facebook Page about Adam’s upcoming performances and recordings which are in the works!
THE PLAYERS PERESPECTIVE: ADAM RAPA DESCRIBES HIS TANTRA
Playing this horn has triggered a huge artistic growth within me. Gaining access to several extra octaves below conventional trumpets, I'm now playing music written for many other instruments like cello, clarinet, bassoon, etc. Next month in Brazil I'm performing a concerto that will cover five octaves, which has been incredibly fun to practice, in addition to being very healthy for my chops. My improvisation has become much more wide open as well.
Thanks to the unique design of the horn, I have access to a wider range of tone colors than I could have ever imagined when we first started discussing this project. Originally, I was asking for "über-trumpet", capable of sounding like a flumpet and a trombone in addition to a trumpet. This as a start was definitely achieved. The added bonus was a plethora of colors much more related to woodwind instruments, which I've been exploiting.
Although my P3S holds a very special place in my heart, I'm rarely using it these days because I've adapted to the pedal range just as much as the other registers, and on the P3 I find myself still reaching for that 4th valve all the time, and longing for the absolutely monstrous resonance of Tantra. I am in love with this horn!
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