C and B-flat Trumpets

C and B-flat Trumpets

The B-flat and C Trumpets are the standard trumpets seen.  In bands, the B-flat Trumpet is king, whereas the C Trumpet is much more common in the orchestra.  The C Trumpet is written at concert pitch, while the B-flat sounds a second lower than written.  In professional circles, the choice of B-flat versus C is completely dependent on the player.  If a player feels that the sound of a particular passage is better played on the C when it is written for the B-flat, then they play it upon the C.  In some regards, trumpet players completely disregard a composer’s intentions when it comes to instrument choice.  They have completely abandoned the old F Trumpet in favor of the smaller instruments, irrespective of the composers’ wishes for the bolder sound of the old instrument. Continue reading “C and B-flat Trumpets”


Sopranino Trumpets (D, E-flat, E, F, and G)

Sopranino Trumpets

There are a whole slew of trumpets pitched between the standard B-flat or C Trumpets and the Piccolo Trumpet.  These are the Sopranino Trumpets.  There are instruments pitched in G, F, E, E-flat, and D, all sounding above written pitch.  Like the interchangeable slides for the Piccolo Trumpets, several of these instruments are really just a single instrument like an F/G Trumpet or an E-flat/D Trumpet (the E Trumpet may be a third set of slides for either instrument, usually the F/G instrument).  Of these two instruments, the F/G Trumpet is far rarer, but most professional trumpet players will possess an E-flat/D.  The rare E Trumpet is generally only used for the Hummel Concerto, which was originally composed in E, but is usually performed in E-flat. Choice of which instrument to use is entirely up to the player.  Even with the best of intentions, a composer’s wish will usually go unheeded.  The player will simply choose the instrument which will make the passage easiest and give the best effect. Continue reading “Sopranino Trumpets (D, E-flat, E, F, and G)”

Piccolo Trumpet (B-flat and A)

Piccolo Trumpet

The Piccolo Trumpet is really two instruments in one.  All Piccolo Trumpets come equipped with devices that allow for the instrument to be pitched in either B-flat or A.  This is accomplished by means of different tuning slides and changeable bells.  The choice of B-flat or A depends wholly on the situation at hand.  When performing music of the Baroque era, players will most often use the A Piccolo Trumpet, as the majority of the music is in the key of D.  Most modern music will use the instrument in B-flat which is written one octave higher than the standard B-flat Trumpet.  Continue reading “Piccolo Trumpet (B-flat and A)”