Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Everyone has their dreams, and the only thing that can keep you from fulfilling your dreams is you. David Turrill, faculty member at Muskingum University, found one special dream fulfilled on a recent trip abroad.

Quite often you don’t have to go as far from home as David did to find interesting and unusual activities. At the Muskingum University Library, each month they present Author Talks with campus and local authors describing their writing experiences. David’s talk centered around musical research in the archives of Bologna, Italy.

As conductor of the Muskingum University Wind Ensemble, Muskingum University Band, and Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds plus teacher of trumpet and music education, David Turrill breathes music most of his waking hours.  His special interest exists in the Baroque period from 1600-1750.  So when it came time to select a topic for his doctoral presentation, David decided to study Giovanni Battista Martini and his passion for the Baroque trumpet.

Starting at the Natural Trumpet Making Workshop in Indiana, David and other participants assembled, pounded, and polished their original Baroque Trumpet, synonymous with Natural Trumpet. David said this was not an easy task for him as he wasn’t really very good at working with his hands. By using a slide presentation at the library, he was able to explain the day to day process. When completed, those trumpets each had a slightly different sound depending on how they were pounded out, and also on who was playing them.

His relaxed manner had the audience laughing at his musical jokes and asking questions throughout.  He did play a selection on the Baroque Trumpet, which is very specialized and can only play in certain compositions. One of his students played a traditional trumpet to display differences. Since there are no valves on the Baroque trumpet, the mouthpiece is very special and there are bits to change keys.  David smilingly said, “Wrong notes are easier to come by!”

Many of the participants spent hours creating a glossy shine on their instruments, but David said he wanted his to look like it was played in the 1700’s so he didn’t spend time shining. Or maybe he wanted to explore other things?

Next stop, Germany, where he visited the Baroque Trumpet Shop featuring Egger trumpets, which David said were the Rolls-Royce of Trumpets.  This was just a short stop on his way to Bologna, Italy where he did his research on Martini, who was a composer of over 1500 works as well as a teacher and historian. The Martini Library at the Conservatory of Bologna was where David spent two to three hours a day looking at 280 year old manuscripts, and trying to figure out that age old question – What was the intent of the composer?

All through his research he was hoping to strike gold and find an undiscovered composition or interesting life story. But this was not to be.  However, David did feel that he struck gold when he arrived in Venice, which had been a dream spot to visit for several years. St Mark’s Basilica seemed to be one of his favorite stops. Sometimes when we dream of something, it never quite lives up to the dream. This time however, David said Venice was “beyond my wildest dreams.”

He does hope to write dissertations and journal articles in the future regarding his travel experience, as well as sharing his knowledge of the Baroque music period. This accomplished musician needs to keep on dreaming.

Muskingum Library is quite easy to access on the Muskingum University campus. From I-70 take Exit 169 OH 83 towards New Concord. At the traffic light turn right onto Main Street/ US 40. Turn left at the entrance gates to Muskingum University and follow the road to the top of the hill.  Turn left again and at the left end of the short street, you will find the library.  Parking is available for visitors either before you reach the library or at the side.

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Comments on: "Hoping to Strike Gold in Venice" (1)

  1. Fascinating topic! Imagine making your own instrument like that, extraordinary he made and can use it to play music. Thanks for the great story.

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