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How to play C Major scale notes on trumpet

Updated on December 12, 2013


C Major scale on trumpet is one of the easiest music pieces to learn on this particular brass instrument.

The C Major scale is the first that many beginners learn and it is also one the experts still use long into their trumpet playing careers. The notes in the scale are the essential buidling blocks of many popular tunes.

C Major scale, like other scales, also makes an excellent warm up exercise at the art of a trumpet practice session. In short, it is a vital scale to know on your instrument.

Begin by adopting the usual trumpet playing stance. Stand tall with feet hip width apart and shoulders and neck relaxed. Make sure that arms are relaxed and form a triangle with the trumpet at the apex pointing straight forward but angled slightly towards the ground.

At this point be sure to be relaxed with deep belly breathing and firm lips pressed against the mouthpiece. Practice making the buzzing sound with the lips and make contact with the mouthpiece to crate the sound through the trumpet.

Scroll down for videos

Playing the scale

C Major scale begins with the C note just below the treble clef. On the trumpet this is played in the open position without any keys being pressed down. This is a natural sound and often the first note that people play when they first pick up a trumpet. The sound is fairly low and flat.

The C Major scale contains eight different notes. Many pieces of popular and recognisable tunes music are composed for trumpet with notes from the C Major scale. So once this scale has been mastered, it's possible to play a large range of pieces of music.

Middle c: This note is played on trumpet in an open position with no valves being pressed down. It produces a natural sound
Middle c: This note is played on trumpet in an open position with no valves being pressed down. It produces a natural sound | Source

Once the open C note has been mastered it's time to tackle the C Major scale.

The notes in the scale are C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Once the top C has been played, come back down the scale and finish with a long four beat middle C.

Middle C - Open

D - 1st and 3rd valves

E - 1st and 2nd valves

F - 1st valve

G - Open

A - 1st and 2nd valves

B - 2nd valve

C - Open

Let's look at that in more detail

Scales sound best if each ascending and descending note is played for two beats. Finish with the same note that started the scale. This note should last for a full bar, or four counts.

So play a C. Count two. Then, using the tongue to create a punchy, crisp sound, go up an octave to the D note. The D is played with the first and third valves pressed down. Hold the D for two counts and move to the E with first and second valves pressed down, once again 'tonguing' the mouthpiece to produce a clean transition between the note. Hold the E for two counts and move to the F which is played with just the first valve held down.

The note after the F in the C Major scale is a G, and this is played in the open position. However, it is slightly higher than middle C. To create the higher picth simply narrow the lips so the hole that air is coming from is smaller. Make sure the note is crisp and clean and hold it for two beats then move to the A, which is first and second valves pushed dowm. Hold A for two beats and move up to a B by releasing the first valve and keeping the second valve down. Hold the B for two counts and then release it, so we are once again playing an open note.

The top C is an open note, just like the earlier G and middle C. However, the pitch must be higher, so narrow the hole in the lips again to reach the higher note. Hold this for two counts and begin going through the scale in reverse until coming back down to middle C.

This scale is fairly simple so it's only necessary to take one breath to play the whole thing. However, people who do run out of air can take a quick breath after playing the top C.

C Major scale: One of the first that many trumpet players learn
C Major scale: One of the first that many trumpet players learn | Source

Once the C Major scale has been mastered it's possible to learn more complex scales and arpeggios. However, the C Major scale is a great place to start and essential for any warm up routine.

Many tunes contain notes that are only found in the C Major scale. So people who have mastered these notes will be able to turn their hand, or should we say trumpet, to a large numebr of pieces of music.


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    • profile image

      sunil kumar 

      18 months ago

      vill mustfabad up unnao qualifications 12 pass

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      Mr wryter 

      6 years ago

      I want lean trumpet on easy way c major and i want you to show how to position the fingers valves


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