Alto Trombone Music in the German Baroque

Mola detail light

I just added the below entry to both the general Trombone History Timeline and the Alto Trombone History Timeline. In this blog post I have included the Praetorius illustration for the sake of convenience (it’s not included with the entry in either of the timelines).


1648—Leipzig, Germany: Stephan Otto publishes his vocal collection, Kronen Krönlein. Several pieces in the collection specify trombones, including Sihe meine Freundin and O ihr lieben Hirten, both of which call for “trombone picciolo” and 2 trombones (Collver 142). Less than 30 years earlier, Praetorius had stated the following about trombone terminology used by Italians: “The word trombone is usually used for the tenor sackbut; bass sackbut, however, is called trombone majore and alto sackbut is trombone picciolo…” (Praetorius III Kite-Powell 132). And in the illustrations of his Sciagraphia of 1620, Praetorius clearly shows the alto trombone as a shorter instrument than the tenor trombone (Praetorius II, plate 8).


praetorius woodcut