The Trumpet

The Trumpet is part of the brass family of instruments and is quiet easy to start for children aged nine and older. Trumpets are regularly used in orchestras and are routinely heard in jazz groups. It is easy to learn and transport, is fun to play and not very expensive. The Trumpet is also relatively easy to maintain.

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More information about the Trumpet

The Trumpet is the instrument with the highest register among the brass instruments and is one of the oldest musical instruments. It is constructed of brass tubing bent twice into an oblong shape, and is played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air column inside the trumpet.
There are several types of trumpet, the most common is a transposing instrument pitched in B♭ with a tubing length of about 134 cm. The predecessors to trumpets did not have valves, but modern trumpets generally have either three piston valves or three rotary valves. Each valve increases the length of tubing when engaged, thereby lowering the pitch and enable players to change the pitch of the sound produced by changing the tension and lip aperture.
The trumpet is used in many musical genres including classical music and jazz.
A musician who plays the trumpet is called a trumpet player or trumpeter.


Trumpets have a long and rich history. They date back to 1500 B.C. and earlier. Bronze and silver trumpets were discovered in Tutankhamen's grave, bronze lurs from Scandinavia, metal trumpets of the same time period have been discovered in China. The trumpet was used as a signalling device in Ancient Egypt and Greece.
Trumpet players were considered integral parts of military troops during medieval times, as the trumpet was used to relay messages and warnings between sections of the army. During the Romantic period, the trumpet was evident in various forms of art such as literature and music. The trumpet was therefore recognized as an instrument used to signal, announce, proclaim and other similar relevant purposes and the modern trumpet continues some of these signalling traditions.
Trumpet playing then was a guarded craft, its instruction occurring only within highly selective guilds. The trumpet players were often among the most heavily guarded members of a troop, as they were relied upon to relay instructions to other sections of the army.
Towards the late middle Ages and the Renaissance, technical improvements in metalworking and instrument design in general led to better sound quality and the trumpet being used in a more musical context.
The "baroque era" is often referred to as the "Golden Age of the natural trumpet" with The development of the upper, "Clarino" register on the instrument. The natural trumpets of this era consisted of a single coiled tube without valves and therefore could only produce the notes of a single harmonic series; changing keys required the player to swap out the crooks of the instrument.
During this period, a vast body of music was written for virtuoso trumpeters. The art was revived in the mid-20th century and natural trumpet playing is again a thriving art around the world. Most successful players nowadays use a version of the natural trumpet dubbed the baroque trumpet which is fitted with one or more vent holes to aid in correcting out-of-tune notes in the harmonic series.
It wasn't until the early 1800s that trumpets were built with valves and this made possible the modern-day trumpet. In 1818 Friedrich Bluhmel and Heinrich Stölzel made a joint patent application for the box valve as manufactured by W. Schuster (a German company). Perinet of Paris and Antoine (Adolph) Sax brought numerous other mechanical improvements to our present-day instrument. This late development of the instrument's chromatic ability has meant that the repertoire for the instrument is relatively small compared to other instruments.
The 20th century saw an explosion in the amount and variety of music written for the trumpet. It has made significant contributions to the history of music, especially to jazz. Some of the best known and most influential jazz musicians were trumpet players, such as Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. Davis is considered to be one of the most memorable and influential musicians of all time and made a lasting mark on the music of the twentieth century. In addition to its essential role in jazz, the trumpet is used in a range of other musical genres, including classical, Ska, rock, blues, pop and many others. Great players of our age include Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie and many more.


The trumpet is constructed of brass tubing bent twice into an oblong shape. It has a cylindrical bore, which is really a series of tapers that are smallest near the mouthpiece receiver and largest near the beginning of the bell's flare. The size and design of these tapers directly alters the intonation of the trumpet.
As with all brass instruments, sound is produced by blowing air through closed lips, producing a buzzing sound into the mouthpiece and starting a standing wave vibration in the air column inside the trumpet. The player can select the pitch from a range of harmonics by changing the lip opening and tension (known as the embouchure).
The trumpet mouthpiece has a circular rim which provides a comfortable environment for the lips' vibration. Directly behind the rim is the cup, which channels the air into a much smaller opening, this narrows out slightly to match the diameter of the trumpet's lead pipe. The dimensions of these parts of the mouthpiece affect the tone or quality of sound, the ease of play and player's comfort. It is generally important to consider the size of the bore, the size of the bell, and the weight of the instrument when selecting your trumpet in order to obtain the desired sound.
Most modern trumpets have three piston valves, each of which increases the length of tubing when engaged, thereby lowering the pitch. The first valve lowers the instrument's pitch by a whole step (2 semitones), the second valve by a half step (1 semitone), and the third valve by one-and-a-half steps (3 semitones). When a fourth valve is present, as with some piccolo trumpets, it lowers the pitch a perfect fourth (5 semitones). Used individually and in combination, these valves make the instrument able to play all twelve pitches of classical music (full chromatic scale).
The pitch of the trumpet can be raised or lowered by the use of the tuning slide. Pulling the slide out lowers the pitch; pushing the slide in raises it.
The trumpet becomes a closed tube when the player presses it to their lips; therefore, the instrument only naturally produces every other overtone of the harmonic series. The shape of the bell is what allows the missing overtones to be heard. Most notes in the series are slightly out of tune and modern trumpets have slide mechanisms built in to compensate.

Types of Trumpet

There are different types of trumpets distinguished by the key it is tuned to. Here are the various types of trumpets:
  1. Bb Trumpet - The B flat trumpet is by far the most common trumpet played by musicians and is used in bands, jazz ensembles and classical orchestras. It produces a warm tone and is recommended for beginners.
  2. C Trumpet - Is shorter than the B flat trumpet. It is commonly used in orchestras and has a brighter sound. widely used in orchestral work, due to their ease of producing clear, sustained tones and are written in the same key as the piano, strings and much of the rest of the orchestra.
  3. D Trumpet - It was popular during the 19th century but was later on replaced by the Bb trumpet. It is now mainly used to play Baroque music.
  4. Eb Trumpet - This type of trumpet isn't used in orchestras or ensembles anymore.
  5. E Trumpet - This trumpet type is rarely used except to play concertos by Hummel
  6. F Trumpet - This trumpet was replaced by the Bb trumpet. It has a higher pitch and was used to play Bach's Second Brandenburg Concerto.
  7. G Trumpet - This trumpet type is rarely used and is hard to find.
  8. Piccolo Trumpet - Smaller than a Bb trumpet and is pitched an octave higher than a regular trumpet in the same key. Most piccolo trumpets, even those in the key of Bb, use a fourth valve to allow the player to reach the lower notes in the register more easily. In addition, many types of piccolo trumpets have interchangeable lead pipes to allow the trumpet player to play in the key of Bb, C or A, depending on the needs of the piece and the orchestra
  9. Pocket Trumpet – This type is in the key of Bb, though smaller in overall dimensions than standard Bb trumpets. It is most often used in marching bands due to their ease of carriage and stowing in luggage. It produces a tone much more fuller than their small size might suggest but is rarely used by professional players.

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Trumpet Accessories


The physical shape of the mouthpiece has always been of great interest; players claim that the various parts - rim, cup, throat, backbore and shank - affect tone and playability. However, factors such as the shape and size of players' mouths, their embouchure, and perception of sound should also be taken into account.
According to Vincent Bach, the "selection of a satisfactory mouthpiece presents to the average player an immeasurably greater problem than the choice of an instrument".
Choosing your mouthpieces should be based on your personal experience. Try several and see which one feels most comfortable with you.
Your chosen mouthpiece should allow you to achieve the best possible sound with the least amount of effort. In time, a few of your mouthpieces will become your favourite.
A useful strategy is to try out a number of mouthpieces in a shop, narrow them down to a few, and then take them home to try out. In that case, you ensure that you have several different reeds to try.


The mute is the device fitted to a trumpet to alter the sound produced by affecting the tone, reducing the volume, or most commonly both.
A variety of mutes are used on trumpets all of which either squeeze inside the bell of the instrument, or are hung or clipped to the outside of the bell. These mutes are typically made out of aluminum, brass, or copper metal, but more economical plaster, cardboard, and plastic versions exist. Each material produces a distinctive sound.
Mutes will usually make the instrument play sharp. High quality mutes try to reduce intonation issues while maintaining the characteristic sound. Even so, it is often necessary for the musician to accommodate by adjusting the tuning slide.


Trumpet stands come in a variety of styles depending on the needs of the trumpet player. Most are collapsible, making them easily portable for taking to concerts and gigs and feature padding to protect the parts of the trumpet that will rest against the stand.
The main features to look for are stability and ease of transport.

Cases & Gig Bags

Trumpet instrument cases serve as essential protection and covering for Trumpet during transportation and/or storage. Some cases provide protection from weather changes or environments that may be hazardous to the instrument. Usually, purchased Trumpet come with factory cases that are manufactured or distributed by the Trumpet company. There are also companies that offer travelling cases that are light weight, durable, and economically efficient.

Valve Oil and Cleaning Kit

These are important accessories for the trumpet player. They are applied to the trumpet to help keep it in good working order.

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