Friday, June 6, 2014

Meet the Trumpet

The Trumpet? Oh, it’s terrific!

A while back we met the trombone, and today we’re going to meet another member of the brass
family, the trumpet. The trumpet is the smallest member of this family. Because of this, you
might expect the trumpet to feel badly about itself, but don’t worry: The trumpet is also the
highest member of the brass family, so it has that going for it.

The trumpet also gains a bit of clout by having been around for a long time—at least since 1500
BC. To put things into perspective, the earliest remains of domesticated ferrets have been dated
to 1500 BC. Wikipedia seems to think that’s important, so you should too. 

The earliest trumpets were used as signaling devices for military and religious purposes—
not for music. Which is to say, Jeff Carver better stick with the musician thing as the military and
religious signaling industry isn't exactly flourishing. 

Today’s trumpets usually have three valves; however, valves weren't added to the trumpet until
the 1800s. When a valve is pressed down, it lengthens the tubing, which, as we learned from our
lesson on the trombone, lowers the pitch of the instrument.

Speaking of the trombone, we lied a little when we said the trombone is the only instrument with
a slide. There is such a thing as a slide trumpet that guessed it, a slide instead of or in
addition to, valves.

Some other fun facts about the trumpet:
1. Two trumpets were found in King Tut’s tomb.
2. Famous trumpet players include Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie.
3. There’s about 148 cm of tubing in a B-flat trumpet. That’s almost 5 feet.

Photo credit: oddsock