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Types of TrumpetsEdit

The most common type is the B trumpet, but low F, C, D, E, E, G and A trumpets are also available. The standard trumpet range extends from the written F immediately below Middle C up to about three octaves higher. Traditional trumpet repertoire rarely calls for notes beyond this range, and the fingering tables of most method books peak at the C (high C) two octaves above middle C.

B TrumpetEdit

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C TrumpetEdit

The C trumpet is most common in American orchestral playing, where it is used alongside the B trumpet. Its slightly smaller size gives it a brighter, more lively sound. Because music written for early natural trumpets required the use of a different trumpet for each key, they did not have valves and therefore were not chromatic.

Because a player may choose to play a particular passage on a different trumpet from the one indicated on the written music, orchestral trumpet players are generally adept at transposing music at sight, sometimes playing music written for the B trumpet on the C trumpet, and vice versa.

There are C trumpets made with the older style of rotary valve (See: Trumpet History.

Piccolo TrumpetsEdit

The smallest trumpets are referred to as piccolo trumpets. The most common of these are built to play in both B and A, with separate lead pipes for each key. The tubing in the B piccolo trumpet is one-half the length of that in a standard B trumpet. Piccolo trumpets in G, F and C are also manufactured, but are rarer. Many players use a smaller mouthpiece on the piccolo trumpet, which requires a different sound production technique from the B trumpet and can limit endurance. Almost all piccolo trumpets have four valves instead of the usual three — the fourth valve lowers the pitch, usually by a fourth, to assist in the playing of lower notes and to create alternate fingerings that facilitate certain trills. Maurice André, Håkan Hardenberger, David Mason, and Wynton Marsalis are some well-known piccolo trumpet players.

Soprano BuglesEdit

Trumpets pitched in the key of low G are also called sopranos, or soprano bugles, after their adaptation from military bugles. Traditionally used in drum and bugle corps, sopranos have featured both rotary valves and piston valves.




Several trumpeters have achieved fame for their proficiency in the extreme high register, among them Louis Armstrong, Lew Soloff, Andrea Tofanelli, Bill Chase, Maynard Ferguson, Roger Ingram, Wayne Bergeron, Anthony Gorruso, Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Faddis, Cat Anderson, James Morrison, Doc Severinsen and Arturo Sandoval.

It is also possible to produce pedal tones below the low F, which is a device commonly employed in contemporary repertoire for the instrument.



The bass trumpet is usually played by a trombone player, being at the same pitch. Bass trumpet is played with a shallower trombone mouthpiece, and music for it is written in treble clef.

The modern slide trumpet is a B trumpet that has a slide instead of valves. It is similar to a soprano trombone. The first slide trumpets emerged during the Renaissance, predating the modern trombone, and are the first attempts to increase chromaticism on the instrument. Slide trumpets were the first trumpets allowed in the Christian church.[1]


The pocket trumpet is a compact B trumpet. The bell is usually smaller than a standard trumpet and the tubing is more tightly wound to reduce the instrument size without reducing the total tube length. Its design is not standardized, and the quality of various models varies greatly. It can have a tone quality and projection unique in the trumpet world: a warm sound and a voice-like articulation. Unfortunately, since many pocket trumpet models suffer from poor design as well as cheap and sloppy manufacturing, the intonation, tone color and dynamic range of such instruments are severely hindered. Professional-standard instruments are, however, available. While they are not a substitute for the full-sized instrument, they can be useful in certain contexts.

There are also rotary-valve, or German, trumpets, as well as alto and Baroque trumpets.

The trumpet is often confused with its close relative, the cornet, which has a more conical tubing shape compared to the trumpet's more cylindrical tube. This, along with additional bends in the cornet's tubing, gives the cornet a slightly mellower tone, but the instruments are otherwise nearly identical. They have the same length of tubing and, therefore, the same pitch, so music written for cornet and trumpet is interchangeable. Another relative, the flugelhorn, has tubing that is even more conical than that of the cornet, and an even richer tone. It is sometimes augmented with a fourth valve to improve the intonation of some lower notes.


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