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The Menke Trumpet

At the end of Bate's discussion he alludes to the work of Werner Menke of Leipzig, who in the 1930s strove to devise a trumpet combining the tonal advantages of the old trumpet with the technical convenience of modern valve mechanisms. My own interest in the acoustics of brass instruments stems from a reading in 1948 of Menke's book22 describing his researches. Musicians who have played on examples of the Menke design (as constructed by Gebr. Alexander in Mainz) are unanimous in their opinion that the instrument is extremely hard blowing, with the high notes almost unplayable. These faults seemed to me to be inherent since they are present despite the perfection of workmanship characteristic of everything made by the Alexanders. I found it curious that a two valved F trumpet using bell and mouthpiece of reasonably familiar design could be so recalcitrant in its behavior. In 1969 I had the privilege of visiting Anton Alexander in Mainz, which provided an excellent opportunity to see a Menke instrument and to learn of its properties at first hand. Through the kindness of Mr. Alexander, I have had this instrument and a matching bell with me in Cleveland on extended loan for study and experimentation.

The regularity of the peaks of the measured input impedance curves of the Menke trumpet shows its careful workmanship. We are provided here with a beautiful example of the way in which resonance peaks that are placed accurately enough by ordinary tuning standards may not be suitably arranged for good cooperation in the various regimes of oscillation. The long cylindrical bore does not work well with any conventional mouthpiece. However, recently I have found it possible to construct a mouthpiece that suits the instrument reasonably well over the whole of the range intended for it by Menke. Presumably further work will perfect the mutual adjustment of mouthpiece and air column. It is certain already that Menke's musical intentions were entirely correct and compatible with the basic principles of acoustics.

Trumpet Acoustics
Acoustical Preliminaries
The "Water Trumpet"-- An Analog to What Happens inside a Trumpet
The Function of the Player's Lips
The Function of the Pipe and Bell--Inside the Air Column
The Cooperation Needed for Musical Results
The Baroque Trumpet
The 'Internal' Spectrum of the Modern Trumpet
The 'Internal' Spectrum of the Baroque Trumpet
Relation of Internal to External Tone Color Spectrum
The Menke Trumpet
The Problem of Clean Attack
Mahillon in Retrospect
Bibliographic Notes