Welcome to the Microtonal Trumpet Website!

Current Events

The forthcoming event involve performances using microtonal trumpets:

12 February, 2015

Tage der neue Musik Akademie der Tonkünst, Darmstadt, Germany

Lecture Recital Includes premieres of works by Donald Bousted, Jim Dalton, Huck Hodge, Dorothy Ker.

Lecture by Donald Bousted and Stephen Altoft

Stephen Altoft, 24-div and 19- div Trumpets








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About this Site

Microtonality in music has existed in many cultures for centuries.

Microtonal trumpets date back to the early twentieth century and there are surviving examples in the museums in Odessa and Prague.

This project, which began in 1998 was inspired partly by the work of American jazz trumpeter Don Ellis. It is a systemically researched and documented project between a composer and a trumpeter.

Since 1998, the project has expanded exponentially both in the development of ideas, modified instruments and in the creation of new music.

Through this website and associated concerts, lectures, CDs and vidoes, The Microtonal Trumpet has stirred the imagination of amateur and professional players, students and teachers.

This website describes the development of 4-valve trumpets capable of playing in 19 and 24 equal divisions of the octave.

The website overall, including our free online book, covers quarter-tone and eighth-tone playing techniques, a full explaination of 19-div tuning, a short history of the microtonal trumpet and a repertoire list.

This project is on-going and the authors welcome your feedback.

Stephen Altoft's recordings are available from Tutti.

Please contact us at: info.at.microtonaltrumpet.com

About Us

Stephen Altoft Stephen Altoft is dedicated to the creation of new repertoire for the trumpet. As a solo artist with electronics, and with percussionist Lee Ferguson as duo Contour, he has given concerts throughout Europe, the United States and Canada. He is a member of ensemble chronophonie (Freiburg) and ensemble linea (Strasbourg), and has played with the Kammersinfonie Berlin, the Cornelius Cardew Ensemble, ensemble Courage, the Dresdner Sinfoniker, Collegium Novum Brass (Zurich), Klangforum Wien, Slowind Wind Quintet, SUONO MOBILE and the Karlsruhe Conservatory Trumpet Class under the direction of Rheinhold Friedrich. More recently, he was trumpeter in the Music theatre production, "Niebla" by Elena Mendoza and Matthias Rebstock at the Festspielhaus, Dresden, Berlin Konzerthaus and Teatro del Canal, Madrid.

Stephen studied at the University of Huddersfield (1991-5) where he was awarded B.Mus Honours and Masters degrees (in performance) and the Ricordi Prize for Contemporary Performance. This was followed by periods of private study with Markus Stockhausen (Cologne 1996-8) and, with assistance from the Music Sound Foundation, with William Forman (Berlin 1998-1999).

Between 2001-2, Stephen was a consultant for the Centre for New Musical Instruments, London, where he tested a prototype microtonal trumpet. During this time he began working on a microtonal trumpet manual with composer, Donald Bousted, now available here as an online resource. After further research, Stephen developed, in collaboration with Johannes Radeke and Siegmar Fischer (Musik Gillhaus) in Freiburg, Germany, a fourth (rotary) valve mechanism to enable the conversion of his existing trumpets into microtonal instruments (a 19-division B flat trumpet and quarter-tone C trumpet). This project has developed into the microtonal brass project, Mikroblech and a duo project with improviser-pianist, Thomas Wenk.

In 2009 and 2010 Stephen has been trumpeter (ensemble linea) on the Royaumont Composition Courses in France, where he has worked alongside Brian Ferneyhough, Isabel Mundry, Misato Mochizuki and Liza Lim.

Stephen has recorded for radio and televison (SWR, WDR, Deutschlandfunk Köln, Deutschland Radio in Germany, BBC Radio 3 in the UK and Bulgarian National Television) and for the Budapest Music Center (Peter Eötvös), Microtonal Projects and Wergo labels (Elena Mendoza).

Donald Bousted

Donald Bousted is a composer, sound and installation artist, film maker and guitarist. His most recent work focuses on combining elements of all these interests. Typically, the work completed in the last 2-3 years has sought to integrate elements of film, performance and live art plus multi-sourced (up to eight-part) electro-acoustic elements transmitted from varied 'qualities' of source (from 'high' quality PA to 'low' quality exciter-speakers).

A number of works, including the installation with Gary O'Connor 'broader than broadway' and the mixed media 'pieces in your dreams; touch' and 'the black hole' utilise innovative, 'home-made' speakers made by attaching exciters to musical instruments, glass, floorboards and walls. This tranch of work has been sponsored by the pioneering British company NXT. The work 'touch' (2005) specifically uses these different sources to give an expanded sense of virtuosity by attaching exciters to live instruments. Our perception of virtuosity is challenged as we hear sounds sourced on those instruments reintegrated within live-performed sounds.