Wedding music for trumpet: voluntaries

Today is the 27th anniversary of my wedding with my amazing wife, Melissa. As I am pondering that and looking at all of the weddings and anniversaries on social media at this time of year, I am thinking about all those wedding gigs so important to trumpeters. Now that the pandemic is winding down, those types of gigs will become much more frequent.

When I was in high school, I played some church services in my home town for free, and then I started getting called for wedding gigs. That was a terrific time to grow as piccolo player and, in general, as a musician. So, today, I wanted to explore the most common repertoire that you might come across when doing wedding gigs: so-called “voluntaries” (or sometimes “tunes,”  or “marches”).

The most common thing you will play as a wedding trumpeter is Jeremiah Clarke’s The Prince of Denmark’s March (formerly known as Purcell’s Trumpet Voluntary). Here is a famous version for Lady Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles. This is almost always played for the processional.

This voluntary, like many other trumpet voluntaries or trumpet tunes, was originally not conceived for an actual trumpet to play. They were imitations of the trumpet, and they were limited to the overtone series in their choice of notes. They were played on organ–or perhaps even harpsichord. Here is Clarke’s piece in its original conception (with harpsichord).

And here is a lovely rendition with this faster tempo, played on baroque, natural trumpet (Julian Zimmermann, the trumpeter).

The second-most requested piece for wedding trumpeters is another imitation trumpet piece from the baroque era. The Trumpet Tune, also by Clarke, from his “The Island Princess.”  This is usually played for the recessional. Here is a typical rendition with piccolo and organ.

There are some other wonderful trumpet voluntaries, as well. Here is William Boyce’s played again by Julian:

Here is John Stanley’s Trumpet Voluntary:

And Maurice Green’s Trumpet Tune:



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