The trumpet is a brass instrument with the earliest one found in the tomb of the Egyptian King Tutankhamen. Many people play the trumpet in brass bands, military bands, big bands, orchestras or on their own. You are thinking of learning a musical instrument. Will this instrument be the trumpet? You need information to help your decision?

What is a trumpet?

A trumpet is made from brass and is cylindrical in shape consisting of 4 feet 7 inches of tubing wrapped into the compact shape with a cupshape mouthpiece and a moderate size ball at the end. There is a variety of trumpets in the trumpet family. The modern trumpets we are familiar with today have three valves and were first made in the 1820s.Earlier trumpets did not have valves.

How is the sound produced?
The trumpeter or trumpet player produces the sound by:
1. Pressing the mouthpiece to his or her mouth.
2. Blowing air through closed lips making the lips vibrate.
3. The buzzing sound produced from this action sets the column of air inside the tube of the instrument vibrate.
4. The player regulates the sound produced by altering the tension of the lips.

Low sounds are produced when the players lips are fairly slack making all the air in the tube vibrate.

Higher sounds are produced when the player tightens his lips thus making only fractions of the air vibrate. These higher sounds are called natural harmonics. Each tube produces a different set of harmonics depending on the length.This produces a limited range of sounds in one or two keys. To get a wider range of sounds the modern trumpet player can press down the three valves inn a range of configurations which will open various extra lengths of tubing thus changing the length of tubing.

What does the trumpet sound like?
The trumpet has both a piercing, brassy sound and a soft, muted sound. It is more brilliant and penetrating than the bugle or horn. The tone of the trumpet can be changed when a mute is placed in the bell of the instrument. A mute is a cone made of cardboard, fibre, felt or metal.

The trumpet player reads music using notes placed on the treble clef, plays music faster than other brass instruments and plays notes ranging over two octaves from F-sharp below middle C to C above the treble clef, however some trumpeters can extend this range.

Example of A Trumpet Piece
The Last Post is a well known piece of music played by a bugle or trumpet player. It is a bugle call used at Commonwealth military funerals and ceremonies commemorating those who have fallen in war. It is used especially on Remembrance day in Commonwealth Nations and also on Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand.

A bugle call is a short tune, telling one of scheduled and certain non-scheduled events on a military installation, battlefield, or ship. It consists of notes from a single overtone series and hence no valves need to be moved. One key may be favoured over the others.

Please note that a trumpet can play almost any type of music including classical, jazz, rock, blues, pop, funk.

Example of A Trumpeter
Louise Armstrong also known as Satchmo or Pops was one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time is. He was also known for his singing with a raspy singing voice and had a foundational influence on jazz.. He was born August 4, 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana.and died July 6, 1971 from a heart attack.

There are many other well known trumpet players including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro.

You have now had some basic information on the trumpet including what it is, how a sound is produced, what a trumpet sound is, types of music a trumpeter plays with an example and well known trumpet players with an example.


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