Eight Profiles (1980)
For Solo Trumpet
VII – To C. D.
Fisher Tull (1934-1994)

Biographical Info

Fisher Tull was born in Waco, Texas.  He received his musical training at North Texas State University.  When Dr. Tull originally went to NTSU he was assistant to John Haynie as a trumpet teacher and as a staff arranger for the renowned NTSU Lab Bands.   After He graduated in 1957 he went to Sam Houston State University as instructor of trumpet, theory and jazz ensembles.  He returned to NTSU to study with Samuel Adler for his doctorate in composition.

A native Texan, Fisher Tull earned three degrees from the University of North Texas, including a Ph.D. in Music Composition (1965). He studied trumpet with John Haynie and composition with Samuel Adler. The dedicatees of Eight Profiles were all members of a group of trumpet players who found themselves enrolled in college at the same time. Fisher Tull was one of this group who appeared in Denton, Texas to study music and the trumpet with John Haynie. Haynie continued to influence and shape trumpet players at that university until his retirement in 1990 and continues to “keep in touch” with many of his former students and younger players who seek his advice on the art of trumpet playing.

That Tull was a melodist cannot be questioned after just one listening to the Eight Profiles. That he played the trumpet is probably also apparent, perhaps more so to trumpet players. He also had a bent for musical form. Each Profile is a two-part exercise, if you will, akin to Bach’s Preludes and Fugues. The Profiles were composed as a set but the composer anticipated that only a few would be excerpted and performed in concert. Performing all eight is a Herculean task probably feasible only in recordings. Yet, hearing them side-by-side paints another portrait—one of the composer. Thematically he draws heavily upon his past works but recasts the music in a fresh way to showcase the trumpet and to honor his colleagues. But the overall effect is more than mere étude or sentimental reminiscing. What emerges is a beautiful portrait, or series of portraits, painted by the sound of a single trumpet.

Tull stopped playing the trumpet in the middle 1960s coinciding with his PhD in composition and appointment as Chairman of the Department of Music at Sam Houston State University. However, his involvement with the trumpet continued by composing, along with the Eight Profiles, 2 concerti, a Sonata, the Rhapsody, Three Bagatelles (dedicated to John Haynie), and numerous works for brass quintet and larger brass ensembles. These works are treasured by brass players and continue to be performed frequently by students and professionals.

While there is no indication for this in the score, it seems to me that these eight profiles are presented in increasing difficulty or complexity.  However, none of them I would consider terribly easy!

Suggested Equipment

It is not stated what trumpet these are to be played on.  I prefer Bb but C works as well.  The eighth profile first section has optional mute.  All others are open.

Practice/Performance Tips

I think the opening two lines of this first movement of Profile VII, took me the longest to work up out of the entire set of profiles.  Hopefully, it won’t give you the same amount of grief.  The two phrases are 12-tone and one accelerates and the other ritards.  The passages need to be completely under your fingers in order to sound smooth, flowing and effortless.  Since there is no tonal grouping, I created six and eight note groupings that I could practice repetitively in order to develop muscle memory which will eventually give me speed and flow.  I then “pasted” those groups together and focused on transitioning, or linking the groups seamlessly.

Profile VII-1

The second Profile of VII is in my opinion the most adventurous harmonically of all the Profiles.  Honestly, I’m not sure of the logic behind the construction; while certainly atonal, it doesn’t seem to follow the 12-tone “serialistic” rules I was taught.  Perhaps a theorist or composer will clarify what was in Tull’s mind, I would love to know.  This movement features varied rhythms, dynamics and extreme register leaps.  –a little something for everybody!  It’s a very tough movement but I personally really like it.

Profile VII-2

Fisher Tull 8 Profiles for Solo Trumpet related links:

Profile 1

Profile 2

Profile 3

Profile 4

Profile 5

Profile 6

Profile 7

Profile 8

Suggested Recordings

Kevin Cobb – One. This is a fantastic CD of all unaccompanied material.  Kevin is one of the great solo, chamber trumpet players around today and plays with the American Brass Quintet and teaches at Julliard and Aspen.  His CD is an absolute MUST HAVE for any serious trumpet player.

John Holt – Unconventional Trumpet

Anthony Plog – 20th Century Settings for Trumpet