Musical Instruments

The Brass Family

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The trumpet, cornet, French horn, trombone, baritone or euphonium, tuba, and sousaphone are common members of the brass family. Generally, these instruments are all made of brass.

On a brass instrument, sound is produced by buzzing the lips. You can get an idea of buzzing blowing up a balloon, the stretching the opening and letting the air out. The squealing noise is very similar to the buzz a French horn player makes. Try to buzz your own lips. Lick your lips, place them together as if saying "mmmm," and blow, keeping your lips together. This should make a buzz. The mouthpiece of brass instruments helps to control and to make the sound clearer. The rest of the brass instrument makes the sound louder.

Most of the brass instruments have a lot of tubing that is curled up. The instrument with the most tubing, the tuba, plays the lowest notes; the trumpet, with the least tubing, plays the highest notes. Valves are used to open up different lengths of tubing. When tubes are opened, the sound is lowered depending on the length of the tube. The trombone does not have any valves. The trombone changes pitch by pulling the slide in and out.

To play a brass instrument, you need a good ear for music as any fingering on the instrument can make many different pitches. The brass player must know what sound to make before the note is played.

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