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The Trumpet Overview

Updated on July 16, 2014

The TRUMPET: Loud as Ever

To put the basic knowledge in order why not present what we know about the trumpet in a short overview.

Classification: Aerophone (lip-vibrated), Brass Instrument, Wind Instrument

Sound properties: Sound is produced (as in most brass instruments) by the vibration of the performer's lips. Three valves are used to make the instrument fully chromatic.

Physical description: A family of brass instruments with a cylindrical bore, valves, and a cup mouthpiece producing a clear, bright tone. Three valves are used to make the instrument fully chromatic. Some models have a fourth valve to adjust for inherent intonation problems of the instrument. A trigger mechanism is sometimes added to the first or third valve tuning slide that is used to provide a way for the performer to fix the intonation problems with certain valve combinations.

Range: The trumpet is pitched in the soprano range and has a normal chromatic range from F-sharp below middle C to C above the treble clef. Experienced performers are able to extend the upper range, often to the G above the high C (or higher). The trumpet in C is a non-transposing instrument, the trumpet in B-flat has the same written range, but sounds a step lower.

the trumpet
the trumpet

A Glance into History

The trumpet has had a long and rich history. It is believed that the trumpet was used as a signaling device in Greece, Ancient Egypt and the Near East. During the Romantic period, the trumpet was noted in various forms of art such as literature and music. But during this time, the trumpet was simply recognized as an instrument used to signal, announce or proclaim. It was later when the trumpet began to be considered as a musical instrument.

14th - 15th century - The trumpet acquired its folded form. It was referred to as natural trumpet and produced "harmonic" tones. Also, the tromba da tirarsi emerged, an instrument that was fitted with a single slide on the mouth pipe to create a chromatic scale.

16th century - The trumpet was used both for courtly and military purposes. During this period trumpet making became popular in Germany. By the end of the 16th century trumpet started being used for musical works. At first, the low register of trumpet was used, later on musicians began to utilize the higher pitches.

17th - 18th century - The trumpet was at its height and was used by famous composers such as Leopold (Mozart's father) and Michael (Haydn's brother) in their musical works. The trumpets of this time were in the key of D or C when used for courtly purposes and in the key of Eb or F when used by the military. Musicians of this period played specifically in different registers. Notably, in 1814, the valves were added to the trumpet to enable it to play the chromatic scale evenly.

19th century - The trumpet was now known as an orchestral instrument. The trumpet of this era was in the key of F and had crooks for the lower keys. The trumpet continued to undergo improvements such as the slide mechanism which has been attempted since the 1600s. Later on, the crooks of the orchestral trumpet were replaced by valves. Changes in the size of the trumpet also occurred. Trumpets were now louder and easier to play due to the improvements they underwent.

Best Place to Hear Best Trumpet Sounds

The village of Guca (Serbia) has gained world fame owing to its Assembly of Trumpet Players, the largest trumpet event on the planet. The love of the people of Dragačevo for music, especially for the trumpet, began in the rule of Prince Miloš Obrenović who ordered the formation of the first military band in 1831. From then until now the trumpet has reigned here while woodwind instruments warm the soul of its population.

The first Dragačevo Assembly of Trumpet Players was held on October 16, 1961 in the yard of the Church of Sts. Michael and Gabriel in Guča. Initially, it was a very modest Assembly - almost antigovernment. However, the Assembly gradually grew and expanded its magical influence, and over the past ten or so years has become the folk key symbol. It is no longer held solely for the trumpet players. It grew into an Assembly of toastmasters, painters, singers, and marks the beginning of the festival each year.

600,000 visitors make their way to the town of 2,000 people every year, both from Serbia and abroad. Elimination is held earlier in the year and only a few dozen bands get to compete. Guča's official festival is split into three parts. Friday's opening concert, Saturday night celebrations and Sunday's competition. Friday's concerts are held at the entrance to the official Guča Festival building. This event features previous winners, each band getting to play three tunes while folk dancers, all kitted out in bright knitting patterns, dance in front of a hyped-up audience.

trumpet music
trumpet music

Classical Trumpet Players

Apart from great musical pieces composed for trumpet by such world-famous masters as Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Franz Liszt, the world has also remembered the names of these renowned classical trumpet players:

Bill Adam, Maurice Andre, Ryan Anthony, Ole Edvard Antonsen, Jean Baptiste Arban , Sir Malcolm Arnold, Alison Balsom, Marco Blaauw, Edward Carroll, Herbert L. Clarke, Kevin Cobb, Kristjon Da?ason, Allan Dean, Timofei Dokschitzer, Niklas Eklund, Dennis Ferry, Merri Franquin, Thomas Gansch, Armando Ghitalla, Claude Gordon, Ludwig Guttler, Hakan Hardenberger, Adolph "Bud" Herseth, David Hickman, Matthias Hofs,Harry James, Christopher Jones, Philip Jones, Frank Kaderabek, Richard Kelley, Uwe Koller, Marcel LaFosse, Manny Laureano, Jens Lindemann, Jessica Long, John MacMurray, Christopher Martin, Malcolm McNab, Rodney Mack, Georges Mager, Albert Mancini, Veniamin Margolin, Wynton Marsalis, Mauro Maur, Rafael Mendez, John Miller, Ennio Morricone, Maurice Murphy, Sergei Nakariakov, John Rommel, Michael Sachs, Adolf Scherbaum, Charles Schlueter, Gerard Schwarz, Jeffrey Segal, Philip Smith, Nick Smith, Marie Speziale, Thomas Stevens, Markus Stockhausen, Robert Sullivan- Edward Tarr, Guy Touvron, William Vacchiano, Allen Vizzutti, Rene Voisin, Roger Voisin, John Wallace, Roger Webster, James R. West, Anton Weidinger, Greg London.

These are just a few musicians who were remembered thanks to their outstanding trumpet playing. There are many more who have become fans of this loud instrument. Today learning how to play the trumpet has become even easier, even for those who are just amateurs and want to master their skills on their own. With thousands of music scores available on the World Wide Web, now anyone can get the trumpet sheet music he/she wants and get down to practicing right away. Oh, and mind your neighbors while playing!

Great Trumpet Video - See & Hear

What can be more enjoyable than listening to trumpet playing and contemplating the joy of the player at the same time. Let’s have a look at the way a person’s soul is put into this instrument and what magic sounds it bears as a result. Here are some nice trumpet performances; I hope you’ll enjoy them.

So much is connected with trumpet; the name of this instrument interweaved into the modern life. Like William Christopher Handy used to say: "Life is something like a trumpet. If you don't put anything in, you won't get anything out".

Readers feedback - And what is in this instrument for you?

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    • profile image

      Sanja94 5 years ago

      Great lens... You are from Serbia, right?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      A comprehensive lens on trumpets.

    • profile image

      dilipsvarma 5 years ago

      quality lens on the trumpet

    • profile image

      mumsgather 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing so much of your music knowledge. I only know piano that is all.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Trumpet is a great instrument! *SquidAngel blessed and featured on "Musical Instrument Angel"! =D