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Trumpets

A trumpet is a brass instrument similar to a cornet that is used in a number of musical genres. 

It plays the highest register of the brass family and is the most popular and most frequently used brass instrument.

Trumpets are most commonly tuned in B♭ and uses three or sometimes four valves to change pitch. It can also be tuned to A, C, D, E♭, E, low F and G.

Orchestral and concert music

Trumpets are a staple for any orchestra or concert band. They provides the highest part of the brass section. 

The C trumpet is sometimes used in orchestras and tends to give a brighter, clearer and crisper sound due to the smaller size. Many orchestral musicians learn to transpose music by sight.

Jazz music

Trumpet players are well known for their ability to improvise, mainly in jazz music. Again, the trumpet is used to take the highest part and often plays the melody and has solos.

There are various different expert techniques experiences and professional trumpet players use to improve their sound. 

These techniques include:

  • Vibrato – a small but rapid variation in pitch for a richer sound
  • Glissando – sliding between notes by pressing valves halfway
  • Double tonguing – creating a fast staccato sound with the tongue
  • Triple tonguing – the same as double tonguing but faster
  • Flutter tonguing – rolling the tongue as quick as possible, similar to rolling Rs
  • Split tone – producing more than one tone at the same time, usually an octave or fifth
  • Circular breathing – creating an uninterrupted note by storing air in cheeks and pushing it through the mouthpiece while breathing sharply in through the nose

Notable trumpet players include:

  • Louis Armstrong
  • Miles Davis
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Maynard Ferguson

There are many accessories available to buy with trumpets, including:

  • Hard cases
  • Soft cases for comfort
  • Stands
  • Mutes
  • Mouthpieces
  • Valve oil 
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