Q: “How do you get a trumpet player to play fff”?
A:   Write mp on the part.

We all know what a trumpet looks like. Quite a few people in the world know what a trumpet sounds like. And musicians know how loud and imposing (annoying!) a trumpet section can be! Even us non-trumpet players though can respect and listen in awe to some of the greats; Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Maurice Murphy, Arturo Sandoval, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry James, James Morrison, Pete Curtis, Derek Watkins.  The list is long and revered!

trumpet-facts

So, onto the facts about the brilliant trumpet;

  • A trumpet is a brass instrument commonly used in classical and jazz ensembles. The trumpet group ranges from the piccolo trumpet with the highest register in the brass family, to the bass trumpet, which is pitched one octave below the standard B-flat or C Trumpet.
  • Trumpets are actually 3500 years old! Trumpet like instruments date back to at least 1500 BC, with trumpets found in Tutankhamun’s burial chamber in Egypt. Artwork depictions of trumpets have been dated back to 300 BC.
  • Modern trumpets are made from brass but early trumpets were made from other materials such as shell and wood.
  • The early precursors to the trumpet, cornetto and natural trumpet, didn’t have valves or keys. These were actually not added until around 1820. They utilised different length tuning slides (crooks) to play in different keys, simply using the natural harmonic series. Listen to Handel; wonderful!
  • A trumpet may seem short and compact when compared to larger brass instruments, such as the trombone, but this small instrument contains roughly 6 1/2 feet of tubing. That’s taller than the average human being, yet the instrument can fit comfortably in your hands.
  • Trumpets are known for being used in bands and orchestras, but they also has a military component. Armies dating back to medieval times have used the trumpet as a signal device because of its loud, rich tone that can be heard over long distances.

Playing as high and as loud as you can… it’s not big and it’s not clever!

So to finish…

Q: “How many trumpet players does it take to change a lightbulb”?
A:   None. They just complain about the darkness until a trombone player does it for them!

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About the author

Nick joined the Normans Sales Team after a musical career spanning 35 years; firstly as a principal trombonist in Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Band Service for 24 years, performing around the UK and worldwide, including on the Royal Yacht Britannia, and then within the education sector teaching GCSE and A Level Music and Music Technology. He is a keen Big Band, Jazz performer and Hi-Fi enthusiast.

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