Posted by Leland on May 27, 1999 at 15:02:24:
In Reply to: 3 piston + 1 rotor posted by Jon on May 27, 1999 at 12:09:56:
Update that "never" to "rarely if at all" --
Even though a contra bugle isn't considered a viable instrument around here, I've heard that Madison Scouts and at least one other corps are using a new model of 3p-1r contra (I'm waiting for this rumor to be substantiated). I don't know for sure whether it's a completely new horn, or if it's a modification of their existing horns.
I believe this rotor would be equivalent to the usual 4th valve tuning, but I can't say since I obviously haven't played one. 4-piston prototype contras have been built in the past, but I don't know of any corps that has bought any (apart from Disney's Future Corps with custom-modified King K-90's, at last sight).
Considering that corps is a very specialized marching-influenced application of brass, mobility and "gripability" would be a concern. 2-piston bugles really are easier on the hands, and 3-p are only slightly more uncomfortable. 4 pistons might really be too much, depending on the design. Using a rotor as the 4th valve would allow more freedom in locating the actuation point -- the lever can be placed just about anyplace a piston couldn't fit (also a very good reason for conventional tubas' 5th rotors).
So, for what is understandably a specific application, a 3p-1r horn might be a good deal. We'll see in the next couple of years.