America’s Slide and Valve Trombone: A Historical Discussion of Sackbuts, Posaunen, Slip Horns and Much More!

4 Nov 2016 - 11:30am

The trombone’s developmental lineage which begins with Europe’s late fourteenth-century and early fifthteenth liturgical ensembles is complex because its use by composers and musicians touched many different music genres over the last seven centuries. While the trombone was regularly used by European operatic and symphonic orchestras during the latter part of the eighteenth century, and military and court wind bands in the early nineteenth century, America’s use of the trombone was integrally linked to the many community and militia bands that began to form in the 1830s with the country’s westward expansion across North America and continued through the end of its Civil War and the Reconstruction Era.  Patrick Gilmore’s and John Philip Sousa’s civilian bands during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries made extensive use of their trombonists as their ensembles performed countless concerts across America and Europe. 

Later such exceptional trombonists as Arthur Pryor, Ralph Corey, Kid Ory, and William “Willy” Cornish continued to keep the trombone center stage, and the instruments that they played on and often endorsed were manufactured by such companies as C.G. Conn, Frank Holton, Henry Lehnert, F.E. Olds, C.W. Osgood, and Morceau. 

For further information contact the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at 217-333-4577 or email