One of the most incredible brass instruments that have influenced dozens of music genres for years is the trumpet. You probably have heard what a trumpet sounds like. However, do you know that there are different types of trumpets?
Read on for an overview of the different types of trumpets you should know.
Main Types of Trumpets
To begin, it’s important to know that trumpets are made in various keys, including low F, B♭, C, D, E♭, E, F, G and A.
The B♭ is the most common trumpet. If you are a beginner or student, this is the type of trumpet you are likely to use for your practice sessions. The trumpet is also used for professional performances.
Another trumpet that is commonly used is the C trumpet. This instrument uses shorter tuning slides and its sound is a bit brighter than that of the B♭ trumpet. The C trumpet is mainly used by orchestral performers.
There is no major difference between the B♭ and the C trumpet. Most people would not even notice the difference in the sounds the produce.
The bugle is a valveless trumpet that has been used on the racetrack and throughout military history. Since the instrument lacks a valve or any other device for controlling the pitch, you have to variate your embouchure to control the pitch. Moreover, the instrument is limited to notes that are within the harmonic series.
Trumpets that are pitched in the low G Key, called sopranos or soprano bugles are simply adaptations of traditional military bugles. Most of the trumpets are also used in drum and bugle corps. However, the soprano bulges have both piston valves and rotary valves.
The cornet looks a little bit like the trumpet. Most beginner students choose to play the cornet rather than the B♭ trumpet since the former is more compact in design and, therefore, easier to hold. The cornet looks like a swollen version of the trumpet and is played just like the trumpet.
The instrument’s flugelhorn is naturally softer in tone and produces a more forgiving sound. This is why the instrument is a favorite among jazz players.
The B♭ Pocket Trumpet
The B♭ pocket trumpet can be easily identified thanks to its short stature. The trumpet’s compressed construction produces a unique sound. However, it is rare to find the pocket trumpet being played.
Some people consider the pocket trumpet to be a toy. However, other players love the instrument for its nice tone quality and interesting projection, which is unique in the world of playing the trumpet.
The B♭ pocket trumpet may be small but is just as loud as the standard-sized trumpets. Moreover, it produces a warm sound and has very little issues in terms of intonation.
The piccolo is the smallest trumpet on the market. The instrument has far less tubing than other trumpets and, therefore, its pitch is a lot higher. This wind instrument is mainly used for performances in religious settings.
The piccolo is usually crafted in B♭ key but is also available in other keys. The trumpet also has 4 valves instead of 3. The 4th valve is implemented to lower the pitch of the instrument.
The pitch of the piccolo trumpet is an octave higher than that of the standard B♭ trumpet. Most piccolo trumpets are designed to play in either A or B♭, and use a separate lead pipe for every key. Another feature that makes the piccolo different from the standard B♭ trumpet is that its tubing is half the length of the B♭ trumpet.
The piccolo trumpets are also available in C high, F, and G but these are much rare.
Do not confuse the piccolo trumpet to the pocket trumpet. The latter plats in nearly the same pitch as a regular B♭ trumpet.
There are also a number of trumpets that are rarely used. These include:
- Slide trumpet
This instrument uses a slide instead of valves. The instrument evolves into the sackbut, and eventually to the modern-day trombone.
However, these three instruments have some minor differences. For example, the slide trumpet has only a single slide joint while a sackbut and trombone have a double slide joint.
- Bass trumpet
This instrument sounds similar to a trombone. The length of the tube used for both the bass trumpet and the trombone is the same. However, the bass trumpet produces a harder and more metallic tone.
There are also manufacturers that produce bass trumpets and trombones that use identical bells, valves, and tubing. However, these accessories vary in their configurations.
There are various types of trumpets on the market for players of all skill levels. It is important to know the different types of trumpets to know which one would be suitable for you.