Soprano Trombone

Soprano Trombone Soprano Trombone Range

The Soprano Trombone is a curious little instrument.  It is pitched at the exact same range as a standard B-flat Trumpet and one octave above the Tenor Trombone, and therefore is often called a “Slide Trumpet.”  In fact, it is trumpet players, rather than trombonists, who will be playing this instrument.  It uses a standard trumpet mouthpiece, and aside from the technique of the slide over valves, the sound is almost indistinguishable from that of the trumpet.  As such, unless glissandi are needed, it might be better to use a trumpet in its place as it is far more common and intonation will be more secure.  It should be noted that we are wont to remember that trombone literally means “big trumpet.”

At one time it was speculated that a Soprano Trombone was used to double soprano parts in the choral music of Bach, but this notion has been discredited.  Today, the Soprano is mainly used by jazz trumpeters looking for the ease of glissando and as the top voice in Moravian trombone choirs. If used, all available trumpet mutes should work on the Soprano Trombone. A side note, trombones even higher than the Soprano exist (the Sopranino and the Piccolo, the same range as the E-flat and Piccolo Trumpets).  They are quite rare and of very limited value.

A demonstration of a Soprano Trombone

12 thoughts on “Soprano Trombone

  1. Pingback: Trombones – Introduction | Bandestration

  2. Randy Otto

    If a trombonist is playing it, they can play the same chart in Bass Clef – it will sound 8va.
    If a trumpeter is playing it, reading Treble, you’d transpose to Bb from Concert pitch…
    The cool part is that both players have an easy transition to the instrument if the music’s written properly.
    the same slide-to-valve chart works within the clefs Bass (Trombone vs. Baritone/Euphonium in BC) AND Treble:(Trombone or Baritone/Euphonium in TC, Soprano Trombone to Bb Trumpet
    Slide Pos. 1 – valves 0 0 0
    Pos 2 – 0 2 0
    Pos 3 – 1 0 0
    Pos 4 – 1 2 0
    Pos 5 – 0 2 3
    Pos 6 – 1 0 3
    Pos 7 – 1 2 3

    Many brass band pieces from England put the 1st trombone part in TC and transpose it to Bb to allow for this switching instrument thing.

  3. Tom Izzo

    Sopranos are sometimes built in C and are non transposing. Piccolos are built in both C and Bb. Some Sopranos even have F attachments, too.

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