Musical Instruments


The Brass Family

Conn Trumpet (UMI)Trumpets are usually made of brass or other metal, and usually silver-plated or lacquered. Today, trumpets are played in concert and marching bands, orchestras, jazz bands, brass ensembles, and popular music. In a small concert band, there are four to eight trumpets.

On a trumpet, the sound is made by buzzing the player's lips. The mouthpiece helps the sound become clearer. The rest of the trumpet makes the sound louder. Any fingering on the trumpet can make five or more different notes so you need to have a good ear for music to know if you are playing the right note.


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King Silver Trumpet (UMI) The trumpet is one of the oldest instruments. It was first used for signaling in ancient China (2000 BC), Egypt (1500 BC), and Scandinavia (1000 BC). The trumpet was long and had no valves. By Roman times, the trumpet was also played at military and civilian ceremonies.

The first musical use of the trumpet was in the late 1300's, when it acquired the folded shape similar to today's trumpet. In the 1500's, Nuremberg, Germany, became the center of trumpet making. It was during that time that the first music for trumpets was written.

Pocket Trumpet (LA Horns)The first trumpets could only play a few notes. In the late 1700's, the trumpet became a regular member of the orchestra and crooks (short pieces of tubing) were invented and were used to lengthen or shorten the trumpet so it could be used to play more notes. In 1815, the valve was invented which made the crooks unnecessary. Now, the trumpet could play any note of the scale by using the valves.


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King 'Dizzy Gillespie' Trumpet (UMI) Before you play: There is very little to assemble on a trumpet. All you have to do is place the mouthpiece into the lead pipe. Do this with a gently twisting motion. Do not hit or pop the mouthpiece into place. Oil the valves every day you play your trumpet. Remove the valves one at a time and apply three or four drops of oil. Replace the valve, slotting it into place or turning it until it clicks. If the valve is not in the proper position, you can blow hard, but no air will go through. If this happens, check the position of each of the valves to correct the problem.

Tuning & Playing: To lower the pitch of the trumpet, lengthen the instrument by pulling the main tuning slide out. To raise the pitch, push the main tuning slide in. Trumpets usually have an adjustable third valve slide to adjust the pitch of the notes that are usually sharp. For example, when playing low C# with fingers 1-2-3, use the fourth or fifth finger to push out the third valve slide. This will flatten the pitch of the C# and bring it into tune.

Trumpet (LA Horns)If your mouthpiece gets stuck while playing, do not attempt to remove it yourself or have anyone yank it out for you. Forcibly removing it can break the braces on the trumpet. Your teacher will have a special tool to safely remove the mouthpiece.

Cleaning: Once a week clean the mouthpiece with warm water and a mouthpiece brush. Once a month, give your trumpet a bath. Remove all the valves and slides and run snake brushes and valve brushes through the instrument with warm soapy water (hot water may damage the finish). Put the trumpet back together. Oil the valves and grease the slides.

Note: This information is meant as a guide and provides only a short summary of the steps required to keep your instrument in good shape. Please ask your teacher for more information.

Related Links:

Trumpet sites at Yahoo!
Trumpet site at Looksmart

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