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Send in the Clowns for Trumpet and Piano by Stephen Sondheim in the style of Maurice Andre (PDF SCORES)

Send in the Clowns for Trumpet and Piano by Stephen Sondheim in the style of Maurice Andre (PDF SCORES)

"Send in the Clowns," a poignant ballad from Stephen Sondheim's 1973 musical A Little Night Music, has captivated audiences for decades. Its timeless melody and haunting lyrics evoke deep emotions, making it a favorite for both vocalists and instrumentalists. Adapting this piece for trumpet and piano, particularly in the style of the legendary Maurice André, brings a new dimension to its expressive power. This article explores the nuances of performing "Send in the Clowns" with a focus on Maurice André's stylistic approach, ensuring your rendition is both technically sound and emotionally compelling.

Understanding Maurice André's Influence

Maurice André, widely regarded as one of the greatest trumpet virtuosos of the 20th century, was known for his impeccable technique, beautiful tone, and musical sensitivity. His approach to the trumpet was characterized by a rich, warm sound and a meticulous attention to phrasing and dynamics. When adapting "Send in the Clowns" for trumpet and piano, capturing André's essence involves focusing on these key elements:

  1. Tone Quality: Aim for a rich, singing tone. André's sound was often described as vocal-like, which is crucial for conveying the lyrical nature of Sondheim's melody.
  2. Phrasing: Pay close attention to the natural ebb and flow of the melody. André's playing was noted for its expressive phrasing, making each musical line sing.
  3. Dynamics: Use a wide dynamic range to enhance the emotional impact. André's performances were dynamic and expressive, with careful use of crescendos and decrescendos.

Arranging "Send in the Clowns" for Trumpet and Piano

When arranging "Send in the Clowns" for trumpet and piano, it’s important to maintain the integrity of the original while allowing the trumpet to shine as the primary voice. Here are some tips:

Transcription and Key Selection

The original key of "Send in the Clowns" is typically in E-flat major, but for trumpet, consider transposing to a key that suits the instrument's range and your comfort level. Commonly, trumpet players might opt for B-flat or C major.

Piano Accompaniment

The piano should provide a supportive and harmonically rich backdrop. The arrangement should highlight the trumpet's melodic line without overpowering it. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Harmonic Support: Ensure the chords are voiced to complement the trumpet. Avoid overly dense textures that could clash with the trumpet's sound.
  • Rhythmic Clarity: Maintain clear rhythmic patterns to support the trumpet's phrasing. Sondheim's accompaniment often features arpeggiated chords and flowing lines that should be articulated clearly.
  • Interaction: Create moments of interaction between the piano and trumpet. This could involve call-and-response phrases or synchronized dynamic shifts.

Trumpet Interpretation

For the trumpet part, focus on delivering a performance that balances technical precision with emotional expression. Here’s how to achieve that:

  • Breath Control: Use proper breath support to sustain long phrases and ensure a consistent tone throughout.
  • Articulation: Pay attention to articulation marks in the music, using André’s style of clean, precise attacks and smooth legato lines.
  • Embellishments: Consider tasteful embellishments like grace notes or slight variations in the melody to add personal expression, akin to André’s stylistic nuances.

Performance Tips

  1. Warm-Up: Begin with long tones and lyrical exercises to warm up your embouchure and focus on achieving a rich, centered tone.
  2. Rehearsal: Practice with the pianist to synchronize phrasing and dynamics. Use recording tools to evaluate and refine your performance.
  3. Emotion: Connect with the lyrics of "Send in the Clowns" to convey its emotional depth. Even though you’re not singing, understanding the song's narrative will inform your interpretation.
  4. Audience Engagement: Perform with confidence and communicate the music's story through your playing. Maurice André was known for his captivating stage presence—aim to embody that spirit in your performance.


Adapting "Send in the Clowns" for trumpet and piano in the style of Maurice André is a rewarding challenge. By focusing on tone quality, phrasing, and dynamics, you can bring a new level of expressiveness to this beloved classic. Remember to stay true to the emotional core of the piece while showcasing the technical prowess and musical sensitivity that André exemplified. With practice and dedication, your performance can resonate deeply with audiences, leaving a lasting impression just as Maurice André's performances have for generations.