History of Brass
The trumpet dates back as far as 1500 BC and earlier. Trumpets from this period were found in Egyptian tombs, in Scandinavia, and in China. They were made of different metals from bronze to silver. Trumpets were depicted in art from Peru dating back to 300 AD. In the medieval times, the craft and instruction of the trumpet was highly guarded and only people held in high esteem could learn it. Trumpets were used in the military during this time to command their army.
Towards the end of the Medieval period into the Renaissance, the design of the trumpet improved, making it a more useful musical instrument. This trumpet, called the natural trumpet, consisted of a single coil tube so the player could only play overtones within one key. In order for a player to change keys they would have to alter crooks in the trumpet. Keyed trumpets were developed to allow for chromatic notes to be played, but the design was not used long because the notes wouldn’t play in tune. The first valved trumpets were invented in 1796 but revamped and patented in 1818 by Friedrich Bluhmel and Heinrich Stölzel; however, symphonies in France and scores composed by Mozart and Beethoven were still written for the natural trumpet. It wasn’t until the 20th century the valved trumpet was used and parts were written for it.
Playing and Performance
Trumpets are made out of brass tubing that is bent twice to form its shape. Sound is produced when your lips fit inside the mouthpiece and produce a “buzzing” noise. Most trumpets have three valves or pistons that changes the way air is directed through out the horn. These valves make the instrument chromatic: allowing all the notes to be played. The tuning slide on the trumpet will raise or lower the pitch so it can be matched to other instruments in the band. The Bb trumpet is the most common. Other horns that are similar include the piccolo trumpet, the cornet, the bugle, and the flugelhorn. There are many different sounds that can be produced with the trumpet when you change what your tongue and embouchure is doing. For instance, you can double tongue, flutter tongue, growl, glissando, and vibrato. These advanced techniques will set a player apart from the rest and enhance their solos.
The trombone has been around for centuries and it is hard for scholars and historians to figure the exact time it was first introduced. There is some evidence leading them to believe the first slide trumpet came about in the mid 14th century to reach notes lower than a normal trumpet’s range. During this time in the middle ages, slide trumpets were used to preform for church services where royalty would go to worship and outdoors during festivities they would also attend.
It wasn’t until the mid 15th century the slide trombone was given a u shape. It was used during the renaissance period in operas and in church. It wasn’t until fairly late in the 17th century that music was composed for wind ensembles; prior to that bands used vocal music to play from. The trombone was inspired by the trumpet and made to be a loud instrument that could be played outdoors and for large groups of people.
Playing and Performance
Trombones are in the brass family. They are made of soft brass and sound is created with a mouthpiece that sits directly on the musician’s lips. The lips vibrate at different intervals allowing higher notes and lower notes to be played in the same slide position. Pitched in concert key, the trombone is a versatile instrument that has, over the years, preformed in a wide range of different ensembles from orchestras to big bands.
What makes the trombone difficult is knowing where exactly to extend the slide for each position, since a trombonist doesn’t use valves like a trumpeter or keys like a flautist or saxophonist. It requires a great deal of ear training to be able to hear if the note are in tune or not so the player can know if he or she should adjust their slide positioning. There are many different types of trombones ranging in pitches from very high to very low, but the tenor trombone is the most common one today and is what students learn on. Intermediate trombones include tenor trombones with an ‘F’ attachment and the bass trombone.