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)”

Trumpets – Introduction

Trumpet

Introduction

Imagine a band without trumpets.  Can’t do it?  Not surprised.  Our modern thoughts on band are so trumpet-centered that it is difficult to imagine the group without them.  Yet, we need to think in these terms sometimes.

We all know the trumpet in its many forms.  By definition it is a brass instrument, typically in the soprano range that has a nearly completely cylindrical bore.  The normal formula given is 2/3 cylindrical and 1/3 conical.  The final conical section accounts only for the flare of the bell.  These numbers do not represent reality as roughly 2/3 of the bore is actually conical, though most of flare is very gradual.

Trumpets have been part of wind bands since their inception.  We need only look at Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks to see early band trumpet parts.  With the rise of the cornets, which were fully chromatic long before trumpets ever were, the role of trumpets in the band declined.  Throughout most of the Twentieth Century, cornets, not trumpets, were the main soprano brass instruments.  There were typically three or four cornet parts and only two trumpet parts.  Today, the cornet has been all but abandoned (wrongly in my opinion), and we have nothing but B-flat Trumpets for the high brass.  I have been in bands where the largest section of instruments was the trumpets.

To trumpet something means to proclaim it, to shout it out, to declare it, and this is the role of the trumpet.  Think of long fanfare instruments on the ramparts of a castle sounding a call across the king’s country.

We need to seriously rethink the role of the trumpet in the band.  We also need to open our tonal palates up to the various members of the trumpet family.  We can no longer be as bland as B-flat.

Species

Piccolo Trumpets (B-flat and A)

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

Soprano Trumpets (C and B-flat)

G Trumpet

Alto Trumpet

Bass Trumpet

Contrabass Trumpets