Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Instrumental Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Aaron Tindall

Second Committee Member

Timothy Conner

Third Committee Member

John Daversa

Fourth Committee Member

Charles Mason


Before its entrance into the instrumental genre of “The Symphony”, the trombone had held a long history of doubling vocal lines in sacred vocal music, oratorios, and operatic traditions. Ludwig van Beethoven is often credited as the first major composer to include the trombones in a symphony in his Symphony No. 5, however there were several composers that had written for trombones in their symphonies before Beethoven. Since the time of Beethoven, the trombone has become a permanent member of the symphony orchestra. Johannes Brahms was greatly influenced by Beethoven and the other Classical and Baroque masters including their use of the trombone. Brahms’s utilization of the trombones in his Four Symphonies is rooted in the vocal traditions yet he provides the trombone a new-found independence and importance and is divorced from only doubling vocal lines. This document will examine the orchestral scores of the Four Symphonies of Johannes Brahms and discuss the context in which the trombones are utilized. A deeper understanding of the specific ways in which Brahms wrote for the trombones, both individually and as a section, will serve the aspiring orchestral trombonist and teachers alike towards a more well-informed and musically rewarding experience with the symphonies of Johannes Brahms.


Johannes Brahms; Trombone; Low Brass; Performance Considerations; Symphonies; Orchestral Excerpts