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For those who have not been following my “mellophone” series, this summer I started a project where I approached mellophone pedagogy with an eye toward improving the way it is taught and used in ensembles today, to better develop mid-range brass playing (especially horn playing). Although they are not much used today at all, an element of the mellophone puzzle is the G mellophone bugle.
For those that don’t know, before the 2000 season drum corps used only instruments pitched in G, one of them being the G mellophone bugle. The instrument is pitched just a minor third lower than the B-flat trumpet. I finally tracked one down to try it a few weeks ago and was amazed how much it felt like a trumpet compared to a F mellophone which feels more like a descant horn to me. Also it is clear that the Mello 6 mouthpiece was designed for this instrument, not the F mello. On G mello it really works and intonation on the one I tried, this Dynasty mellophone bugle, was quite good.
The topic of the G mellophone bugle was addressed in two recent installments of The Mellocast. In the most recent episode (27) this statement in the show notes is really right on the money: “G Mellos slot a lot like Trumpets. F Mellos are very different; they slot more like a French Horn.”
For horn players in DCI groups the F mello is a step in the right direction to be sure.
UPDATE: Also, I should note that I have recently udated/tweaked The Mello Zone part of my Horn Articles Online website.