Jean Baptist Arban

Joseph Jean Baptist Laurent Arban (28 February 1825 – 9 April 1889) was a cornetist, conductor, pedagogue and the first famed virtuoso of the cornet à piston or valved cornet.

jean_baptiste_arbanHe was influenced by Niccolò Paganini’s virtuosic technique on the violin and in an (arguably successful) attempt to “prove” the cornet as a true solo instrument, developed extreme virtuosic technique on the instrument.

Born in Lyon, France, he studied trumpet with Francois Dauverné at the Paris Conservatoire from 1841 to 1845. He was appointed professor of saxhorn at the École Militaire in 1857, and became professor of cornet at the Paris Conservatoire in 1869, where Merri Franquin was among his students. He published his Grande méthode complète pour cornet à pistons et de saxhorn in Paris in 1864. This method, which is often referred to as the “Trumpeter’s Bible,” is still studied by modern brass players. His variations on The Carnival of Venice remains one of the great showpieces for cornet soloists today.

Arban apparently made a phonograph cylinder recording for the Edison Company shortly before his death. In a newspaper from Finland, Helsinki’s Hufvudstadsbladet, (no. 96, from 11.4.1890, page 2), Arban’s recording is mentioned:

Among the phonograms a particular one must be mentioned: solo on cornet a piston, played by the famous French virtuoso monsieur Arban called “Fanfare d’Edison;”

Arban died in Paris on April 9, 1889.


O.J’s Trumpet Page

Short biograpy

Solo transcriptions


Wynton Marsalis – Variations sur “Le Carnaval de Venise”

Sergei Nakariakov – “Variations on Theme from Bellini’s Norma”

Maurice André – Carnaval de Venise

Maurice André – Carnival of Venice

Maurice André – Fantaisie Brillante

Maurice André – Variations Sur La Tyrolienne

Free Sheet Music


IMSLP Public Domain

Complete Method

Technical Studies

The Art of Phrasing

60 Duets

14 Solos

Characteristic Studies

Arban – Fantaisie and Variations no.1 (var III) in all keys

Arban – Fantaisie and Variations No.1 (adapted for tonguing)

Arban – Fantaisie and Variations No.2 (adapted for tonguing)

Arban – Fantaisie Brillante No.3 (var III) in all keys

Arban – Variations Sur La Tyrolienne No.4 (adapted for tonguing)

Arban – Variations on a song No.5 (adapted for tonguing)

Arban – Air Varié No.7

Arban – Caprice and Variations No.8 (var III) in all keys

Arban – Fantaisie and Variations no.9 (var III) in all keys

Arban – Variations on a favorite theme by Weber No.10

Arban – Carnaval de Venice No.11 (var II) in all keys

Arban – Variations on “Casta Diva” No.12 (adapted for tonguing)

Arban Ex. 29. page 32 (in all keys)

Arban’s No. 148 “Blue Bells of Scotland” (adapted for tonguing)

N.B. All exercises in bass cleff

Characteristic Studies

in 3 keys:


original key:


midi files (exercises)

Study 1

Study 2

Study 3

Study 4

Study 6

Study 7

Study 11

14 char. studies

Al Hirt’s live performance of Carnival of Venice

arranged for brass quintet (by Michel Rondeau)

A playalong of “Carnival of Venice” as played by Harry James in 1941:

– trumpet part

– rhythmtrack