In our last article, we covered how the trumpet evolved and developed through the ages, and eventually became the symbol of jazz. It wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone to know, that an instrument with such a rich history, has a lot of interesting contemporary details as well.
Most people know how a trumpet sounds, but not everyone knows why it sounds like that. What exactly is happening inside the trumpet that produces this distinct sound? To understand that we need to look at how the instrument is designed.
Trumpet Fact #1: The length and shape do matter!
Whether the tubing is cylindrical (same width of the tubing) or conical (tube is starting narrow and widens up) it always ends with a bell. It is the type of the tubing and the overall length that dictate what the natural tone (the tone it produces with no valves pressed) of the trumpet would be.
Trumpet Fact #2: Stiffness is crucial!
While whether cylindrical or conical are crucial, another very important variable in the making of a trumpet is the material that is used. For example, most trumpets are made of brass, but there are some that are made out of sterling silver, gold, and even plastic. The different stiffness of some materials makes the sound more refine or robust.
Trumpet Fact #3: Fold it tight – to hold it right!
The folds don’t really affect the sounds and are mostly made with convenience in mind, because otherwise the instrument would be too long to play comfortably. For example, an unfolded regular C trumpet is 6ft ½ long, which would be rather ridiculous to play if it was straight.
Trumpet Fact #4: Long range trumpet.
The range of the natural tones of different trumpets varies from A to G. Every trumpet is made for a specific purpose and type of music that’s going to be played, with C being the most sold one, and Bb being the most compact one.
Trumpet Fact #5: Being natural isn’t enough for a trumpet!
But the natural tone alone isn’t enough for a trumpet to be versatile, so additional valves and tubing is being added. Each valve and added tubing diverts the air stream, effectively changing the overall length that the air passes through, and eventually changing the tone the instrument produces.
Trumpet Fact #6: Number of Buttons
Normally the standard is to have three buttons, but there are some trumpets like the piccolo that have 4. Even with only three buttons, a skilled trumpeter can cover up to three octaves.
Trumpet Fact #7: Smallest Instrument in the trumpet family
The piccolo is the smallest instrument in the trumpet family.
Trumpet Fact #8: Time to make the first tone
Now that we know how some of the trumpet basics, you mights ask how hard could it be to play it? According to the experts, in order to produce a correct natural tone on a trumpet, a person who has never played the trumpet before, needs to spend anywhere between 3 to 10 seconds. And in order to cover the rest of the vast capabilities of this incredible instrument, one would need to spend anywhere between 3 to 10 years of regular practices. As with most of the other musical instruments, there is infinite room for improvement when it comes to mastering the art of playing.
If you want to dedicate yourself to learning this beautifully sounding instrument, then you should download app for learning and practicing wind instruments.