German Trumpet in G with Berliner Valves
Trumpets such as this are rarely found in collections in the US, never having been a part of our traditional instrumentation. Also, my knowledge is very weak on the history of regions where these were used, but I will do my best to present it here. Johann Gottfried Moritz, a brass instrument maker in Berlin from 1808 was intending to make copies of other early valve instruments in the 1820s. He realized that making a relatively larger bore through the valves improved the playability and sound quality. In collaboration with Wilhelm Wieprecht, an up and coming musician in the region who later became director of all bands in Prussia, he designed the short wide piston valves seen here. These came to be known as "Berliner pumpen" or "Berliner valves". The most important instruments to come from this partnership were the flugelhorn and bass tuba, the latter having no precedent in proportions. These were later made (and patented) in Paris by Adolphe Sax and became better known in western Europe, Britain and the US as Saxhorns. Herbert Heyde, of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the leading expert on European brass instruments, has told me that this trumpet was most likely made in about 1860 in Markneukirchen. The flower and leaf decoration engraved on the bell garland is typical of makers in that city.
This trumpet is in high pitch G (A=approx. 452Hz) and when I first acquired it I assumed that G trumpets were used in orchestras and not bands, military or otherwise. I have since been told by experts including Sabine Klaus and Herbert Heyde that these were intended for military band use. Unlike orchestral trumpets, this band trumpet probably didn't have crooks to change keys, but certainly could have been crooked to F or Eb if needed. The last photo below shows the condition of this trumpet as I received it, held together with cellophane tape. It had been taken apart for repairs and unfortunately was dipped in a strong acid, etching the entire instrument. This is a common practice in repair shops that don't seem to understand the damage done by this treatment. In spite of this and prior abuse, it came together nicely and even plays pretty well with thick oil on the valves. One might think that the nickel silver patch on the side of the bell is a repair but when I took it off, I could see original scraper marks underneath, which were from the original manufacturing process. It looked like the main tuning slide had been installed crooked, but it was, indeed originally at this angle to clear the bell as it is pulled. The straight section of the mouthpipe is not original, appearing to have been damaged and repaired repeatedly and eventually replaced. I made a new section using my best judgement as to what the original might have been. The mouthpiece shown is not original, but is the only one that I had that fits and works well acoustically. It also plays well with a large modern trumpet mouthpiece. The overall length of this trumpet is 14 3/8", the bell rim diameter is 5 1/8" and the bore measures .424".