from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
English:  trumpet , French:  trompette , Italian:  tromba , Spanish:  trompeta
Trumpet in c german.jpg
Trumpet with rotary valves
classification Aerophone
brass instrument
\ new Staff \ with {\ remove "Time_signature_engraver"} {\ time 2/1 fis1 \ glissando c '' '}
Template: Infobox musical instrument / maintenance / sound sample parameters missing Related instruments

Piccolo trumpet , trombone , flugelhorn , cornet , tuba , french horn

List of Trumpeters
Category: Trumpeters

The trumpet is a tall brass instrument with three, more rarely four, valves, which is blown as an aerophone with a kettle mouthpiece according to the principle of the upholstered pipe. The scale length is relatively narrow. A large part of the tube, wound in the shape of a bow, mostly made of brass, is cylindrical before it tapers off conically into the protruding bell. The tube length of the Bb trumpet, which is most common, is about 134 cm.


Trumpet with pump valves

A distinction is made between natural trumpets (like the baroque trumpet ) and valve trumpets and valve trumpets. Without an addition the latter is meant today; they are available with rotary valves (also called cylinder valves or cylinder rotary valves ) or pump valves (also called Périnet valves). Trumpets are usually held in the left hand, the ring finger, middle finger and index finger of the right hand operate the valve pushers. In the case of pump valves, the valve housing is held approximately vertically; in the case of rotary valves, the valve slides are approximately horizontal. Both variants were practically developed by the end of the 19th century. Previously, in the art music almost exclusively trumpets with rotary valves (in German-speaking countries German trumpets , displayed in the box on the right) played while the trumpet with piston valves (French design) the instrument in popular music was (therefore often also called them in German-speaking jazz trumpet ). In the meantime, like in most other countries, but also in the German-Austrian language area, it is used in parallel to the rotary valve trumpet in the symphony orchestra . The criterion for the choice of the instrument is the work to be played or the desired sound. The works of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner are preferably played on the rotary valve trumpet ("German trumpet"), while the French impressionists, works of Italian opera or works of the 20th century tend to play on the Périnet- Trumpet are played ("American Trumpet").

Compared to the rotary valve trumpet, Périnet trumpets are less mechanically complex, but require more frequent valve maintenance. The position of the valves in the pipe of the trumpet is decisive for the background noise when tying two tones (legato playing). With Périnet trumpets (valve position: in half of the overall tube), this allows various effects to be generated more easily by only partially pressing the valve (“lubricate”, “half valve”, “glissando”). Rotary valve trumpets are easier to care for in daily use, the valves are in the second tenth of the total length.

The small piccolo trumpet , also called "high trumpet" and "small trumpet", exists in different tunings ( F , G , high B / A and high B / C ); it is often equipped with a fourth valve (quart valve) that allows the Playing deeper notes possible. Since it is used particularly often for the reproduction of high trumpet parts in Baroque music, it is sometimes (incorrectly) called a Bach trumpet . Pioneers on this instrument were Adolf Scherbaum , Maurice André , Otto Sauter , Guy Touvron , Reinhold Friedrich and Ludwig Güttler .

Bass trumpet in C.

The bass trumpet or bass trumpet is an enlarged form of the trumpet in the range of the trombone and slightly higher. Historically it is in Bb, C, D and Eb tuning, today mainly in C, and is notated like any other trumpet, i.e. transposing and sounds a major ninth lower than notated. Specialized bass trumpeters (or trombonists) are practiced in transposing playing, so they can play away historical texts with changing moods directly with a C instrument prima vista (similar to horn players). The bass trumpet is mostly played by trombonists because it is built in the same pitch as the trombone and has a similar mouthpiece to this one. It is a relatively rare instrument, but remains in use through Wagner and Strauss literature. A famous concert work in which it appears is Le Sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky (here, however, tuned in Eb, so a little higher). Due to its rarity, the bass trumpet has no solo concert tradition and is usually required as a secondary instrument by trombonists.

The trumpet in Eb or Eb trumpet (with a range from A to Eb 2 and as a transposing instrument sounding a major sixth lower than notated) is only used in wind music .

Trumpets with rotary valves in Bb, C, D, Eb, natural trumpets in C, D and a flugelhorn in Bb in sound comparison

A pocket trumpet looks smaller, but is wound more compactly than a conventional trumpet and therefore a full-fledged trumpet in B in terms of tube length (and thus also the pitch). However, the sound is less radiant due to the smaller bell than with the usual designs ; the bell scale is more like a cornet. These instruments are more suitable for beginners and / or outdoor use, as their center of gravity is closer to the body and they are therefore easier to hold over a longer period of time.

Sound generation and sound

As with all brass instruments, the sound is created according to the principle of the upholstered pipe , i. H. the lip oscillation of the horn creates a standing wave in the instrument. What is essential is the oscillating air in the instrument and not the air that is "blown" through the instrument. The difficulty of sound generation is determined by the need to synchronize the lip oscillation of the wind instrument exactly with the oscillating air column in the instrument to this standing wave. With the sounding c 1 the lips have to open and close approx. 250 times per second, with the sounding c3 even 1000 times - with almost only the upper lip performing this oscillation. The tone supply of the natural tones corresponds roughly to the overtone series , whereby the actual intonation depends on the exact course of the instrument and can only be varied by the player to a limited extent. The variability of the variety of sounds is determined, on the one hand, by the shape of the winder's lips and, on the other hand, in particular by the length of the instrument (including the mouthpiece).

The supply of air pressure from the lungs , which is controlled by means of a so-called support, is physiologically relevant for play . The support is the control of the breathing by means of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles (exhalation muscles). The control of the mouth muscles takes place via the facial muscles and varies in detail for different players. The oral ring muscle as well as the lower lip puller , the corner puller and the corner lifter , the cheekbone muscle ( laughing muscles ) are important. Less relevant, however, is the so-called trumpet muscle, which inflates the cheeks and owes its name to the historical trumpet-playing baroque angel . Few players like u. a. Dizzy Gillespie , use this muscle intensely.

The blowing resistance (perceived air resistance) varies depending on the type of construction used (scaling). In particular, the diameter and course of the mouthpiece shaft and the lead pipe with bores of different sizes (approx. 10.6–11.8 mm) influence the air requirement and the resulting differently perceived air resistance. This different construction means that mouthpieces with smaller bores and flatter shells are often used in jazz trumpets , which results in a crisper, lighter tone. The typical "Heckel sound" of trumpets with rotary valves is primarily created through the use of larger cup mouthpieces, wider lengths and thinner walls.

The course of the scale also has the greatest influence on the sound. The material thickness (wall thickness) and the material hardness are secondary. Thin (0.3–0.45 mm) bell sheet metal requires a higher hardness and sometimes a 10–40 mm wide wreath attached to the bell for stabilization, which is approx. 35 mm wide and named after the Dresden trumpet workshop “Heckel wreath” is. Industrially manufactured bells are up to 0.8 mm thick (thus relatively heavy), so they do not have to be so hard and have a French edge crimped with wire for stabilization .

Transposition and range

Pitch range C trumpet (F sharp - C 3 )
and piccolo trumpet (D 1 - G 3 )

The trumpet is (apart from the C trumpet) a transposing musical instrument and is built in different tunings. Is the most common instrument in B followed by C -, D - and it trumpets, rarely in A , E , H , F and G . This means that the note, which is in the notes and fingered, actually sounds higher or lower by the distance that the note C has from the tone of the tuning due to the larger or smaller construction of the instrument. So if you play a notated c 2 on a trumpet in A , it sounds three semitones lower (a 1 ); if you play a notated c 2 on a trumpet in D , it sounds two semitones higher (d 2 ). The trumpet in Bb sounds a big second lower than notated.

The range of all trumpets ranges from the notated and fingered small Gb to the c 3 for advanced players and up to g 3 for professionals. Extremely talented, experienced trumpeters who specialize in high notes even manage to play notes of the five-bowed register. The tonal range can also be extended downwards. With so-called pedal tones, the tones Gb to C 1 can be played an octave lower with a sound that is quite untypical for trumpets.

All of the above information on the pitch range relates to fingering and notation. These tones then sound a whole tone lower on the B-flat trumpet, a minor third lower on the A trumpet, as noted on the C trumpet and a whole tone higher on the D trumpet, etc.

In orchestral tune normally transposition used in B. In older works, especially in symphonies and operas, there are often other tunings (mostly C, D, E, Eb, and F). Today, however, all these moods are mostly played with the same instrument, with the musician transposing the voice in his head. In the USA and many other countries, C trumpets are the standard instruments in orchestras, while the B flat trumpet is used more frequently in German-speaking countries.

In Posaunenchor usually B-Trumpets are played, the notation is carried out but sounding see Kuhlo notation .


Trumpet Mute (Wah-Wah-Mute)

The basic materials used in trumpet construction are:

  • Brass (alloy of 70/85% copper and 30/15% zinc), light to yellowish gold
  • Gold brass : (alloy of 85/90% copper and 15/10% zinc), reddish copper color
  • Nickel silver : (alloy of copper, zinc and approx. 10-15% nickel) silver-colored (problematic with nickel allergy)
  • Bronze : For the interchangeable bodies of the rotary valve on better instruments

The following coatings are used: clear lacquer , gold lacquer , colored lacquer , silver , gold , nickel .

The valve housing of Périnet valves is made of brass, the valve change from:

  • nickel-plated brass, recognizable by the uniform silvery coating, also in the air passages
  • Stainless steel, air passages and spring housing made of brass
  • Monel , a very nickel-containing special alloy, matt gray, somewhat self-lubricating, attached parts made of brass

Trumpets can be played openly or with a mute . In addition to the volume, the overtone spectrum is changed and thus a different sound character is created. When playing with one hand, the wah-wah damper is made of metal or plastic and the plunger is made of rubber. Special practice mufflers are also available where the sound can only be heard through headphones.

The price of a new trumpet starts at around € 150 and can be over € 30,000 for complex custom-made items. Handcrafted instruments in Central Europe start at around € 800, standard orchestral trumpets around € 1500 to 3000. Expert advice is essential when purchasing a new instrument. For beginners in particular, it is important to select instruments that function well and that intonate properly. It should be noted that even identical models can often have different playing and sound characteristics.

The production time of a trumpet is approx.

  • simple industrial production: 2 to 8 hours,
  • simple manual design execution: 25 hours,
  • Professional instrument: from 35 hours, depending on the material and the amount of work involved.

Related instruments

For comparison (from above): Baroque trumpet in D, modern trumpets in B and D, piccolo trumpet in B, flugelhorn in B; right: cornet in B
Trumpet in Bb (without mouthpiece) from 1898

The flugelhorn and the cornet are closely related to the trumpet in terms of their position . They are also mostly played by trumpeters, but because of their length they belong to the horn family . Another variation of the trumpet is the bass trumpet mentioned above, which moves in the tenor horn register .

The flugelhorn has a largely conical length. It is much softer in sound than the trumpet. The cornet lies between the trumpet and flugelhorn . Its sound character is somewhat softer than that of the trumpet, but harder than that of the flugelhorn.

The Martin trumpet is only related by name (and somewhat in design), but its sound is not produced by the musician's vibrating lips.


Even the Egyptians played trumpet-like instruments (snb / pronounced: scheeb ) made of metal 3500 years ago , and the old Jewish Chazozra may have had the same design . Early trumpets, such as the Greek salpinx or the Roman tuba , were elongated and without coils. The hook shape of the Roman Lituus and the Celtic Carnyx probably originated from the connection of a straight pipe with a crooked animal horn as a bell. The Roman cornu was twisted in the shape of a capital G. The Germanic luras, which were always used in pairs, probably got their shape by imitating mammoth tusks . The material primarily used for antique brass instruments was bronze , which was worked using the lost wax technique .

Whether the art of pipe bending was passed on from antiquity through the Middle Ages or had to be rediscovered in the West has not been clarified with any certainty. Early medieval trumpets were stretched. Sinuous forms can only be identified in iconographic sources from the 14th century. In writing, the term dromette was used as early as 1470 (in a document in Pirna ) or later drommete (by Martin Luther in his translation of the Bible for the prophet Isaiah 18: 3 ). In the late Middle Ages, the standard form emerged as the long trumpet, which was once wound and remained practically unchanged as a baroque trumpet until the end of the 18th century. The range of these instruments was limited to the natural tone series , the fourth octave ( clarin register ) of which provides a full scale. The mastery of this high register, the so-called clarin blowing , is considered the high art of baroque trumpet music . The existence of a medieval slide trumpet is still controversial.

From the end of the Middle Ages to the Baroque, the trumpet was a symbol of power. Trumpeters were highly respected officials. They were only allowed to play with other musicians for other purposes on high church festivals.

Numerous "chromatised" variants mark the transition to valve trumpets:

  • The stuffed trumpet was a trumpet that could be played one to two and a half notes lower with the help of the hand and lip tension. However, the sound quality suffered greatly. The sound not only became quieter, but also dull and dull. The procedure, which enjoyed great popularity with the French horn, was of little importance for trumpets.
  • The invention trumpet is characterized by two U-shaped arches. The advantage of this trumpet was that you could change the U-bends. So here you also had the opportunity to switch from one basic mood to other basic moods. The disadvantage was that the change from one mood to the next took too long.
  • The fanfare trumpet or fanfare (originally a short, valveless wind instrument) was introduced as a signaling instrument in the Prussian cavalry around 1800. For special occasions (announcing parades or other events) the herald's trumpets , instruments with cloth hangings, pennants or flags, were used later .
  • The slide trumpet the town piper (Tromba since tirarsi) had a movable mouthpiece, the total length of the instrument could be changed during the game with its help. The English slide trumpet of the 19th century functioned similarly to today's slide trombones with a U-slide, which was additionally provided with a spring return mechanism. With such instruments a chromatic scale (progressing in semitones) was possible. But with increasing virtuosity, the slide trumpet reached its limits.
  • Attempts to equip the trumpet with finger holes were occasionally made in the second half of the 18th century, but did not get beyond an experimental stage until the 1790s. Only the keyed trumpet built by Anton Weidinger was able to convince the audience and critics. For this instrument, Joseph Haydn wrote his Trumpet Concerto in E flat major in 1796 , which is still the standard work for trumpeters today. Grip hole systems, as they are used today in historical music practice for playing baroque trumpet parts, are modern adaptations and have no historical models.

The Silesian musicians Heinrich Stölzel (horn player) and Friedrich Blühmel invented the so-called rotary sleeve valves in 1813, which diverted the air flow. The current design with three valves has been known since 1830 ( CA Müller , Mainz and F. Sattler, Leipzig). The rotary valve commonly used today in the so-called German trumpet was given its final shape, presumably in 1832 by Joseph Riedl in Vienna.

Valves were built into a post horn as early as 1831, making it the Cornet à pistons ("horn with valves"). With the further development patented in 1837 by Gustave Auguste Besson , the popularity of this cornet in military and salon music grew to the shape it is still in today.

The process of displacing the trumpet from the orchestras started by the cornet was reversed in favor of the trumpet from around 1890 onwards. The Bb trumpet in use today, which was introduced into Prussian military music as early as 1828, found its way into the orchestral trumpet and replaced the (lower) F trumpet from 1860–70. Although z. For example, when the military bandmaster Johann Heinrich Saro repeatedly emphasized that Bb trumpets do not have the full and hearty sound of the F trumpet, but rather sound similar to the Cornet à pistons, many composers paid little attention to the possibilities of the instruments. As a result, the musicians played more and more often the safer-to-use Bb or C trumpet. At first only the high players, then more and more the second and third players. Nikolai Rimski-Korsakow tried to re-establish the F trumpet as a tromba alta in the orchestra - individual Russian composers, etc. a. Shostakovich did the same - but they always had to arrange the parts in such a way that they could still be played on the now popular Bb trumpet.

Trumpets (or similar instruments) have practically always been used as signaling instruments. For example, all tower keepers in the cities had to be able to play the (signal) trumpet. This resulted in a high level of social recognition of the trumpeters , which usually also made itself felt financially. The tower keepers / trumpeters were often recognized as a professional group since the Middle Ages - unlike all other musicians. Verdi had a special fanfare trumpet , the Aida trumpet , made for his opera Aida .

Trumpeters have always played an important role as signal transmitters (data transmitters) in the military trade as well .

Playing the trumpet has become very popular in recent decades. Today, the demand for instruments is mostly met by large companies with industrial instrument production. Of course there are still a number of brass instrument builders in smaller companies who are able to build instruments that are individually adapted to the musician.

Use in music

Classical music

Solo works

Solo concerts for trumpet became very popular in the late Baroque period; they are mostly in a very high register, since diatonic or, in the case of the slide trumpet, chromatic playing is possible with a baroque trumpet . Vivaldi , Telemann , Scarlatti , Michael Haydn and Bach ( 2nd Brandenburg Concerto ) should be mentioned here. Handel and Bach also used high trumpet solos in their oratorios , masses and cantatas .

A well-known early classical trumpet concerto is that of Leopold Mozart . Joseph Haydn and Johann Nepomuk Hummel wrote their concerts for the keyed trumpet , invented in 1790 , which are still among the most popular works of the genre today. Alexander Arutjunjan , Henri Tomasi and André Jolivet composed important solo concerts for the valve trumpet .

Chamber music

The trumpet is not well represented in classical chamber music for two reasons: on the one hand, because as a rather loud instrument it tends to drown out the instruments that are playing along (like a string quartet), and on the other hand because it has long been restricted to the limited repertoire of natural tones was limited. From the Renaissance and Baroque periods, however, there are a number of chamber sonatas that are either originally composed for zinc or prefer the much higher register that Bach also used for his works.

With the introduction of the valves, new works were created, for example for trumpet with piano accompaniment , but trumpets also sometimes appear in mixed chamber music of the 20th century, for example in Bohuslav Martinů's Revue de Cuisine . The brass quintet became popular around 1950 , for which many new compositions or arrangements were created.


Trumpeter of the Metropolitan Opera (1917).

In the baroque orchestra (especially with Bach ), if at all, there are usually two to four trumpets (usually with timpani), which, often in the highest register, symbolize heroic and divine harmonies (for example in Bach's Magnificat ).

In the classical and early romantic orchestras (i.e. before the development of the valves) the two trumpeters mainly had the task of playing the basic notes in the tutti (often together with a pair of timpani ). Sometimes they were also used thematically, for example with themes from fourths or triad decompositions , which can therefore only be played with the natural tones of the natural trumpet.

The valve trumpet (initially the cornet) was enthusiastically received by most composers from all over the world and used immediately. For the German-speaking area, Richard Wagner (to whom the wooden trumpet can be traced back), Anton Bruckner , Richard Strauss (for example his Alpine Symphony ) and Gustav Mahler (around the beginning of the 5th symphony) should be mentioned here.

The symphonic wind orchestra of the present has up to four trumpet parts, which are played by up to ten musicians.


Trumpeter of the Deacon John Moore Band , New Orleans

In jazz , the trumpet is probably the most important wind instrument alongside the saxophone . Even in the classic New Orleans jazz line-up , it is a melody instrument, and it is impossible to imagine the big band without it. Important jazz trumpeters can be found on the list of jazz musicians and in the article jazz trumpeters . In jazz, dampers are used a lot and almost all trumpets with pump valves are played.

pop music

In pop music , the trumpet is often used in a brass section with trombone and saxophone . Especially in soul and funk music, the trumpet-dominated wind section sets important accents at the interface between melody and rhythm section. Important and style-forming representatives of this genre are Blood, Sweat & Tears , Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire . A current example of this is the retro sound of the Farin Urlaub Racing Team .


Web links

Commons : Trumpet  album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Trumpet  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Wieland Ziegenrücker: General music theory with questions and tasks for self-control. German Publishing House for Music, Leipzig 1977; Paperback edition: Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, and Musikverlag B. Schott's Sons, Mainz 1979, ISBN 3-442-33003-3 , p. 175.
  2. ^ Matthias Bertsch : Trumpet. In: Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon . Online edition, Vienna 2002 ff., ISBN 3-7001-3077-5 ; Print edition: Volume 5, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 2006, ISBN 3-7001-3067-8 .
  3. ^ Matthias Bertsch: To the sound generation on the trumpet . Dissertation , Univ. f. Music Vienna, Vienna 2002
  6. ^ Herbert Heyde: The valve wind instrument . 1st edition. VEB Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Leipzig 1987, ISBN 3-370-00159-4 , p. 192 .
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on April 14, 2005 .