Trumpet - History of Trumpet


Whether it's the loud and forceful reveille military wake up call, or the sad, solemn melody of Taps, the sound a trumpet is familiar across the country. Today's trumpets are formed through an oblong shaped, bent brass tube, and three long valves that result in various pitches. Sound from the trumpet is created by the musician blowing air through closed lips, or "buzzing" into the mouthpiece. Changing the shape and opening of the mouth, as well as pressing each valve, allows for different pitches to be formed.

The earliest trumpets looked quite different than the ones that are recognized today. King Tutankhamen was buried with the first known trumpets, which were made of bronze and silver and resembled the shape of a bugle. King Tut's trumpets were composed of a single long tube, connected to a bell shaped end, and had none of the complexity of the modern-day instrument. Other ancient trumpets, including an ornate version from the Moche people of Peru, have been found as artifacts or in art from diverse cultures throughout the world.

The trumpet that existed in medieval Europe was not much changed from the ones used in the previous years. Improvements to the instrument began during the Renaissance period, when the addition of a single coiled tube resulted in the ability to create a limited number of differing pitches. This resulted in an explosion of written music for the trumpet.

The valved trumpet of the modern times was not created until 1818, when Friedrich Bluhmel and Heinrich Stözel created a patent for the instrument. The addition of the valves was an extreme success and resulted in further expansions of their model being developed throughout multiple countries. Over the next century the trumpet evolved to what is recognized and used in the United States, today.

Because the development of this instrument didn't fully occur until the 19th and 20th centuries, the musical repertoire for the trumpet is limited compared to other instruments. However, the underdeveloped musical collection has not limited its structural development, with numerous sizes ranging from piccolo to bass trumpets currently existing. Although the expansion of the trumpet progressed slowly throughout history, it is one of the most well-known and studied instruments of the day. The familiarity with the trumpet is commonplace with students from the entire country who are beginning to delve in and learn about the intricacies of its metallic, and, bright tones.

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