Experiencing the Trumpet Essay example

Experiencing the Trumpet Essay example

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He who is a true trumpeter ... can both sound across a great distance out in the open air, and also moderate with a pleasing voice in the princely chamber when the occasion arises'
-The Gentleman's Journal of January 1692

The trumpet is an aerophone, and it produces sound by passing a airstream “through the player's vibrating lips, so gaining intermittent access to the air column which is to be made to vibrate” (14, par. 1). Present-day trumpets are made of brass, and can play a very wide range of registers through the use of the instrument’s valves or the musician’s ‘lipping’ technique to modulate the pitch of the trumpet. According to Bo Lawergren, the trumpet was originally used to mask and intensify the human voice (42). However, throughout history the roles and uses of the trumpet have drastically changed. In prehistoric times, and across many cultures, the trumpet was also used to mark religious ceremonies or to communicate messages across great distances. More recently, the trumpet has held military purposes. Surprisingly, the trumpet has only been considered a musical instrument since the middle ages.

Contemporary western trumpets, complete with valves to modify the pitch, have existed since the early 19th century. However, the history of the trumpet is rich, and to limit this report to modern western trumpets would be shortsighted. Trumpets, in some form, have existed for centuries, through every major culture.

The trumpet was independently developed by many cultures across the world. Ancient trumpets made of non-metal material have a “have considerably softer tone and attack” when compared their brass equivalents (3, 42). The hora, made from a conch shell, is an example of an ancient trumpet constructed in Jap...


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Oron, Aryeh. "Cantata Bwv 66." Bach Cantatas Website. Web. 8 Nov. 2011. .

Sarkissian, Margaret, and Edward H. Tarr. "Trumpet." Oxford Music Online. Grove Music Online. Web. 8 Nov. 2011.

Smithers, Don L. "The Baroque Trumpet after 1721; Some Preliminary Observations: PART ONE: SCIENCE AND PRACTICE." Early Music 5.2 (1977): 177-83. JSTOR. Oxford University Press. Web. 8 Nov. 2011. .

Tarr, Edward H. "Slide Trumpet." Oxford Music Online. Grove Music Online. Web. 8 Nov. 2011.

White, Elmer R., and John V. Basmajian. "Electromyographic Analysis of Embouchure Muscle Function in Trumpet Playing." Journal of Research in Music Education 22.4 (1974): 292. JSTOR. MENC: The National Association for Music Education. Web. 8 Nov. 2011. .

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