The Vobaron Project

The story of reconstructing an 1834 trombone manual.


In 1833, the director of the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Paris, Luigi Cherubini, started a provisional trombone class and appointed Félix Vobaron to teach this course. Only three years later, Vobaron was replaced by Antoine Dieppo, a highly talented individual recognized as the founder of the French style of trombone teaching. Yet, we know that some time around 1834, Vobaron put together an instruction book for playing slide trombone, titled Grande Methode de Trombonne, which is the focus of this blog.

Although this method book was not the first trombone method book, it is a fascinating source of material and knowledge. Vobaron covers the history of the trombone, tone generation, tonguing and phrasing, even an entire section on trills and their idiomatic usage. There are a large variety of examples, including innumerable short exercises and warm-ups, 20 medium-length melodic pieces, 44 progressive duets, and three trios. The general focus of Vobaron’s instruction was military music, and many of the pieces fit this assumption quite well.

Example of Grande Methode

In the fall of 2016, I acquired an original copy of the book and began my journey to re-typeset the entirety of the book, and release it into the public domain in both its original and revised form. In addition, I plan to have the instructions and introduction translated into English and retypeset as well.

My edition is designed to be as literal of a reprinting as is possible. Some modern adjustments have been made for the sake of clarity, but no markings have been added or removed aside from superfluous position suggestions.

This is a project that requires a great deal of work, and any information or services that may be donated to help complete the tasks ahead are most welcome.

Interested in learning more? Here are a few resources to check out on Vobaron, the history of trombone pedagogy, and French trombone tradition.