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Trumpet Facts and Fundamentals

  • Date Submitted: 01/11/2014 07:47 AM
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Trumpet Facts

and

Fundamentals

The word ‘trumpet’ can refer to any type of ancient instrument played by buzzing the lips against a cupped mouthpiece and made of horn, conch, reed, or wood, with a horn or gourd bell.
The metal trumpet dates from the 2nd century BC in Egypt, where it was a small ritual or military instrument sounding only one or two notes. It gained popularity in the Middle Ages. Later forms included the natural trumpet of the 16th–18th century and, following the invention of valves in Germany in 1828, today’s valve trumpet. It maintains the traditional cylindrical bore with a flare bell and a tuning slide located near the bell – the B flat trumpet being the most common. Mouthpieces vary; orchestral players prefer a wider and deeper mouthpiece; dance-band and jazz players favour a narrower and shallower mouthpiece. Inserting a mute into the bell changes the tone quality. Many types are available, made from fibre or aluminium.
Instruments in keys other than B are frequently used. The “piccolo” trumpet in D, known as the Bach trumpet, was invented around 1890 by the Belgian instrument-maker Victor Mahillon for the high trumpet parts of J.S. Bach and George Frideric Handel. Other forms include the E trumpet, trumpet in C, piccolo trumpets in F and high B , bass trumpet in B and the B flugelhorn.

Trumpets with slides appeared in the Renaissance, the most important being the trombone, meaning ‘large trumpet’. These, however, were not used much past the 19th century. Players in the United States and Great Britain preferred the cornet in orchestral trumpet parts. From the 20th century on, use of the smaller B trumpet became almost universal. The most ancient trumpets had straight tubes barely 2 feet (60 centimetres) long. The medieval buisine reached a length of 6 feet (almost 2 metres) and was used for royal and military events. By 1400AD the tube had been lengthened so much that the trumpet had to be bent into an S-shape for manageability....

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