When you picture a trumpet, you hear a brassy, triumphant fanfare. Today, this brass instrument known for its brilliant melodies crosses multiple genres, styles, and ensembles, from classical period to contemporary orchestral music, jazz, ska, marching bands, and military use.
What is a Trumpet?
The modern-day trumpet is a higher-pitched, smaller-size brass instrument with a bell, valves and a mouthpiece. To make a sound, the player vibrates their lips against the mouthpiece, while pressing down on the valves generates a particular pitch. This construction allows the player to access a series of chromatic notes.
The trumpet's origins - specifically as a metal wind instrument - date back to ancient Egypt, and its design continued to evolve as a straight to belled horn up through the Middle Ages. These earlier versions varied in size from two to six feet, as was the case with the medieval-era buisine. Greater length, as valves were yet to be invented, allowed the player to access a wider range of notes. By the 15th century, the instrument started to see a curved and eventually looped appearance. Over the next couple of centuries, the design was refined to the point a player could access a full major scale.
The invention of valves in the early 19th century advanced the trumpet. Although earlier valved instruments were pitched in F, this development led to the creation of the modern-day B-flat trumpet, characterized by a flared bell and bore that tapers to the mouthpiece.
In the present, the B-flat trumpet is considered the default instruments across genres and ensembles. Yet, players expanding their skills also become familiar with the piccolo trumpet, more common in baroque compositions, E and C trumpets, and the bass trumpet, which is also pitched in B-flat.
Parts of a Trumpet
Aside from the instrument's design, the mouthpiece is an essential component for playing a trumpet, affecting the sound produced.
In the present, you'll come across brass and silver mouthpieces in different shapes. A deeper cup results in a broader, mellower sound, similar to what you might hear in orchestral music. Brighter, sharper tones characteristic of jazz and big-band music tend to result from a shallower depth. Considering this range, advanced trumpeters often switch among multiple mouthpieces.
Additionally, the valves are integral to the pitches a player can access, as they change the length of the instrument's tube. The longer the tube is, the lower the note the player can generate. Each valve lowers the tone in varying degrees, from a half-step with the first to one and a half steps with the third.
Find Trumpets at Alamo Music Center
Get started on learning this brass instrument or upgrade your existing trumpet. Alamo Music Center's selection includes new and used options from Yamaha, Antigua, Bach, Conn-Selmer, and Jupiter, among other brands. Browse today, consider signing up for trial lessons to get started, and explore multiple financing and layaway options, including 12- to 48-month no-interest financing at times.