7 types of trumpets instruments explained

In this article I turn my attention to a wonderful instrument, namely the trumpet, which is found in many musical genres, from classical music to popular music, fanfare or jazz, pop or rock music.

The trumpet is an ambush, brass class wind instrument with a rich history behind it. Although there are several types of trumpets, the chromatic ones are most often used, the others being used more in classical orchestras to be able to perform certain works.

Used since ancient times, a metal trumpet, similar to a contemporary trumpet, being found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (1400 – 1392 BC), throughout history this instrument changes its external shape, sound qualities and finds a well established place in the music world.

Chromatic trumpet

It first appeared in 1835 and was finally imposed at the end of the 19th century. It has valves or pistons, being the variant perfected in time and transformed during at least 200 years from the first appearance of the instrument (1607) within a composition ( Orpheus by Cl. Monteverdi).

After finalizing its form, it is very often used in symphonic works, in fanfare music, but with its penetration in jazz music, the technical expressive resources are considerably enriched.

7 types of trumpets instruments explained

In contemporary practice, chromatic trumpets with valves or pistons tuned in B flat or C are most frequently used. Some instruments tuned in B flat have a special device that allows you to change the tuning in A, being used in works that have this requirement.

The timbre of the chromatic trumpet tuned in B flat is bright, noble, clear, shrill in force, graceful in piano, often used in branded works for full scenes, with cries of struggle, revenge, but also of triumphant songs. Often used in jazz music, it has greatly diversified its range of timbre resources, being able to highlight comic, humorous, grotesque, sentimental effects.

The timbre of the trumpet in C is less heroic than that in B flat, but it also has brilliance and light. In the bass register it has a full, dramatic, solemn sound; the middle register is dense but bright; the acute one has a penetrating sound, tense, but at the same time bright; and in the superacute regime it is very strident.

Superacute trumpet

It is of several types depending on the tuning such as:

Supercute trumpet in B flat: It is intended to be used in certain older works, in which the composer wrote in the acute register and is based on a special agility, especially in the case of the Brandenburg Concerto no. 2 by JS Bach, which is why it is also found under the name of Bach trumpet. It has an incisive timbre, very penetrating and shrill, reminiscent of the clarinet timbre in the superacute register.

It is transposing to the seventh small ascent, with four valves, the last one having the role of quartzventil, which lowers the tuning with a perfect quarter, in Fa.

The superacute trumpet in La: It appeared in 1884, also as a result of a work written by the composer JS Bach ( Missa in and minor ). When it appeared, it had two valves, and later it would have three. The notation uses a sixth lower than what it sounds.

Supercute trumpet in Ground: it is a transposing instrument at the upper fifth, which has the same written extent as the one in La. It appears as a result of the Magnificat oratorio, by JS Bach, in 1885.

Acute trumpet

Acute trumpet in Fa: It appears in 1916 and has 5 descending valves. For this reason, the number of positions increases, and the instrument has the possibility to climb in the acute register another perfect quarter. Its timbre is very penetrating and is often used in symphony orchestras that have pre-classical works in their repertoire.

7 types of trumpets instruments explained

Acute Trumpet in E: With a sharper and thinner timbre than usual, this instrument rises slightly in the high register. It has three valves and an extension in B flat. At present it is very little used, being only one more representative work, namely Don Juan by the composer R. Strass.

Treble Trumpet in E flat: It has a less penetrating timbre than the previous one, in E flat, but also stretches in E flat. It is also used by a Romanian composer, Mihail Jora in the ballet La piata .

The acute trumpet in D: It is much more often used in symphony orchestras, being many world-famous composers who composed for it (JS Bach, G. Enescu, etc.). Its stamp is bright, but small.

Trumpet high

It is of two kinds, namely: tuned in La or Fa which has an imposing timbre and a strong sound.

Trumpet bass

Widely used in R. Wagner's compositions, which is why it is also known as the Wagnerian trumpet. They can be tuned in: E flat, D and B flat which have three valves each; and in Do with four valves.

The sound of this instrument is very full, wide, and is used quite often replacing the alto trombone that was taken out of use.

Egyptian trumpet

It is a type of trumpet with a single valve. It can be tuned in Si and has a length of 1.38 m, and in E flat with a length of 1.63 m. This type of trumpet is very well known today, being used in the work Aida by G. Verdi (6 Egyptian trumpets: 3 tuned in B and 3 tuned in E flat).

7 types of trumpets instruments explained

Military trumpet

It is tuned in E flat, F or C and is used in the army as a signaling device. It is a practical instrument, without any valve, with a simple construction, the sound emitted being dependent on the person using the instrument.

About interpretation

Trumpet performance requires work and dedication on the part of the artist, rewarding her with wonderful sounds, which illustrate very well the moods. If the typing technique is much easier to learn, the sound emission technique is much more difficult and it is up to the interpreter to produce the sound. In jazz music, the trumpet has reached its peak, being used to its maximum capabilities that have enriched both the technique and the ways of expression of this wonderful instrument.

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