25 Chorales for Four Trumpets (J.S. Bach)


25 Chorales for Four Trumpets (J.S. Bach)


Johann Sebastian Bach

arranged by Alan Wenger

Twenty-five Chorales
Arranged for Four Trumpets

25 Chorales harmonized by Johann Sebastian Bach are here arranged for four trumpets by Alan Wenger. The are presented in score form so that all players can see what is going on in every other part. This means that you will probably want to have two books for four players as four people looking at one book or one iPad screen is not practical. This will be a great value to the trumpet studio class.  (BQ-136)

Prof. Wenger has numerous excellent suggestions as to how to use these wonderful works to best teaching advantage: 

General Notes

  • Because of the relatively narrow range of the trumpet and because my intention was to create arrangements primarily in the middle to low register, I have used octave displacement in the tenor and bass lines. Because of this, there are voice crossings in those parts as well as inevitable chord inversions that vary from Bach’s original orchestration. 
  • All chorales are notated in the original key, but can be played on any 4 instruments of the same pitch (i.e. Bb trumpet, C trumpet, etc.). Additionally, the chorales can and should be transposed to other keys as an additional challenge.
  • Dynamics are intentionally omitted to give the players freedom in making their own musical decisions and further enhancing ensemble skills.
  • Parts can be doubled for larger groups of players.

Practice Suggestions for Intonation

  • Practice parts in unison (i.e. all players play the soprano line, bass line, etc.).
  • Buzz unison parts on the mouthpiece (and/or sing them). This further develops the ear and makes players listen even more carefully to each other. For an added challenge, buzz the chorale with all the parts!
  • Practice the soprano and bass lines together - these two voices form the framework for the harmonies created by the other two voices.
  • When good intonation is achieved by playing the outer two voices, add the alto and tenor voices (these two voices can also be played/buzzed/sung in unison first).

Practice Suggestions for Ensemble Development

  • Vary dynamics with each phrase or repetition. Dynamics can be discussed ahead of time or simply determined in performance by a designated leader.
  • Tempos (and duration of fermatas) can be varied with each phrase. While this will not create an “authentic” performance, it serves as an effective tool in developing listening skills.
  • Players can switch voices at each phrase by dropping down one voice (person playing bass line moves up to soprano). The goal should be to keep the timbre of the ensemble identical regardless of who is playing any given part.
    -- Alan Wenger
Add To Cart