Brass & Winds

The trumpet is a musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BC. They are constructed of brass tubing bent twice into an oblong shape, and are 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 trumpets; the most common is a transposing instrument pitched in B?. The predecessors to trumpets did not have valves; however, modern trumpets have either three piston valves or three rotary valves, each of which increases the length of tubing when engaged, thereby lowering the pitch.

The standard orchestral trumpet, built in B-flat, has a range of about three octaves extending upward from the F-sharp be extending upward from the F-sharp below middle C (F3 sharp = 185 Hz). Models in D, C, and other pitches also exist.

Music for all models is written as if they were C trumpets (written C sounds B-flat for a B-flat trumpet). This allows players to switch instruments without learning new fingerings. The trumpet is used in many forms of music, including classical music and jazz.

For additional information, please contact ABMA.

Klaus Boswell is a trumpet player & composer. He has been a trumpet teacher since graduating from college and has taught classes, coached brass, led seminars, been a guest lecturer at numerous colleges, high schools, and middle schools. He has also taught workshops at various other locations including the ABMA and others academies of Music.