March 2018

Historical Horns

Through the years, modifications to the original trumpet have taken it through countless models to get to today’s standard.

The natural trumpet, valve trumpet, rotary valve trumpet, pocket trumpet, piccolo trumpet, bass trumpet, and more. Either a result of technological experiments or a need for the right model for the right occasion, history shows us that there’s more than one way to make a trumpet.

While the pocket trumpet was created for maximum portability, jazz player Don Cherry was known to use it in performances and on recordings. See him playing one live with Herbie Hancock below:

The piccolo trumpet has half the tubing of a standard trumpet, allowing players to reach a much higher range. See one played below in a performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The trumpeter also uses a variety of mutes:

The natural trumpet sounds just like today’s trumpets, but has limited range because of its lack of slides and valves. They were featured in music from the Baroque period, such as that featured in this video: