“Portrait” for two trumpets (with one melodica)

“Portrait” was composed in the spring of 2015 and received it’s premier at the beautiful Evergreen Museum and Library along with ten singular photographs by Stefan Reichenstein. I recently recorded this ‘demo’ of the first 3 minutes of the work in order to share it here. The instrumental set-up is a unique one so I’ve copied my notes to the performers below, which will explain the ‘preparations’ and  techniques being implemented to those interested. Cheers!

The first trumpet player performs the entire piece with the mouthpiece of a melodica inserted into the bell of the trumpet such that the air can only escape through the melodica. This is best achieved by using a handkerchief or similar cloth around the tube to block airflow through the bell. In this way, the melodica will sound whenever the player buzzes into the instrument. In the score, an X-notehead is used in the melodica part to indicate a note being depressed without sounding. This occurs (m. 7) at the beginning of a crescendo when the dynamic is too soft for the upper note to speak; the effect should be similar to slowly rolling a chord.


This setup will transpose the instrument up (approximately) one whole step. Therefore, read the C score as if it was in B-flat (i.e. written C is open). Since intonation tends to be low, alternate fingerings are occasionally provided in parentheses. From mm. 7-15 the low A-flat should be the natural tuning. It is meant to be tuned to the 7th partial of B-flat and is approximately 1/6-tone lower than A-flat.

The second trumpet player performs the entire piece with a cup mute. The multiphonics notated on the bottom staff are to be sung into the instrument.

Demo/sample recording (both parts performed and recorded by the composer):

First Trumpet’s performance score in C:

ScottAMillerII -Portrait- PerfScore1TrumpetC -15April2015

Please contact me at scottmusicmiller@gmail.com if you would like to play or program this or any of my other compositions. Cheers!


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