Brass instrument

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A brass instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips. Brass instrument_sentence_0

Brass instruments are also called labrosones or labrophones, from Latin and Greek elements meaning 'lip' and 'sound'. Brass instrument_sentence_1

There are several factors involved in producing different pitches on a brass instrument. Brass instrument_sentence_2

Slides, valves, crooks (though they are rarely used today), or keys are used to change vibratory length of tubing, thus changing the available harmonic series, while the player's embouchure, lip tension and air flow serve to select the specific harmonic produced from the available series. Brass instrument_sentence_3

The view of most scholars (see organology) is that the term "brass instrument" should be defined by the way the sound is made, as above, and not by whether the instrument is actually made of brass. Brass instrument_sentence_4

Thus one finds brass instruments made of wood, like the alphorn, the cornett, the serpent and the didgeridoo, while some woodwind instruments are made of brass, like the saxophone. Brass instrument_sentence_5

Families Brass instrument_section_0

Modern brass instruments generally come in one of two families: Brass instrument_sentence_6

Brass instrument_unordered_list_0

  • Valved brass instruments use a set of valves (typically three or four but as many as seven or more in some cases) operated by the player's fingers that introduce additional tubing, or crooks, into the instrument, changing its overall length. This family includes all of the modern brass instruments except the trombone: the trumpet, horn (also called French horn), euphonium, and tuba, as well as the cornet, flugelhorn, tenor horn (alto horn), baritone horn, sousaphone, and the mellophone. As valved instruments are predominant among the brasses today, a more thorough discussion of their workings can be found below. The valves are usually piston valves, but can be rotary valves; the latter are the norm for the horn (except in France) and are also common on the tuba.Brass instrument_item_0_0
  • Slide brass instruments use a slide to change the length of tubing. The main instruments in this category are the trombone family, though valve trombones are occasionally used, especially in jazz. The trombone family's ancestor, the sackbut, and the folk instrument bazooka are also in the slide family.Brass instrument_item_0_1

There are two other families that have, in general, become functionally obsolete for practical purposes. Brass instrument_sentence_7

Instruments of both types, however, are sometimes used for period-instrument performances of Baroque or Classical pieces. Brass instrument_sentence_8

In more modern compositions, they are occasionally used for their intonation or tone color. Brass instrument_sentence_9

Brass instrument_unordered_list_1

  • Natural brass instruments only play notes in the instrument's harmonic series. These include the bugle and older variants of the trumpet and horn. The trumpet was a natural brass instrument prior to about 1795, and the horn before about 1820. In the 18th century, makers developed interchangeable crooks of different lengths, which let players use a single instrument in more than one key. Natural instruments are still played for period performances and some ceremonial functions, and are occasionally found in more modern scores, such as those by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.Brass instrument_item_1_2
  • Keyed or Fingered brass instruments used holes along the body of the instrument, which were covered by fingers or by finger-operated pads (keys) in a similar way to a woodwind instrument. These included the cornett, serpent, ophicleide, keyed bugle and keyed trumpet. They are more difficult to play than valved instruments.Brass instrument_item_1_3

Bore taper and diameter Brass instrument_section_1

Brass instruments may also be characterised by two generalizations about geometry of the bore, that is, the tubing between the mouthpiece and the flaring of the tubing into the bell. Brass instrument_sentence_10

Those two generalizations are with regard to Brass instrument_sentence_11

Brass instrument_unordered_list_2

  • the degree of taper or conicity of the bore andBrass instrument_item_2_4
  • the diameter of the bore with respect to its length.Brass instrument_item_2_5

Cylindrical vs. conical bore Brass instrument_section_2

While all modern valved and slide brass instruments consist in part of conical and in part of cylindrical tubing, they are divided as follows: Brass instrument_sentence_12

Brass instrument_unordered_list_3

  • Cylindrical bore brass instruments are those in which approximately constant diameter tubing predominates. Cylindrical bore brass instruments are generally perceived as having a brighter, more penetrating tone quality compared to conical bore brass instruments. The trumpet, and all trombones are cylindrical bore. In particular, the slide design of the trombone necessitates this.Brass instrument_item_3_6
  • Conical bore brass instruments are those in which tubing of constantly increasing diameter predominates. Conical bore instruments are generally perceived as having a more mellow tone quality than the cylindrical bore brass instruments. The "British brass band" group of instruments fall into this category. This includes the flugelhorn, cornet, tenor horn (alto horn), baritone horn, horn, euphonium and tuba. Some conical bore brass instruments are more conical than others. For example, the flugelhorn differs from the cornet by having a higher percentage of its tubing length conical than does the cornet, in addition to possessing a wider bore than the cornet. In the 1910s and 1920s, the E. A. Couturier company built brass band instruments utilizing a patent for a continuous conical bore without cylindrical portions even for the valves or tuning slide.Brass instrument_item_3_7

Whole-tube vs. half-tube Brass instrument_section_3

The resonances of a brass instrument resemble a harmonic series, with the exception of the lowest resonance, which is significantly lower than the fundamental frequency of the series that the other resonances are overtones of. Brass instrument_sentence_13

Depending on the instrument and the skill of the player, the missing fundamental of the series can still be played as a pedal tone, which relies mainly on vibration at the overtone frequencies to produce the fundamental pitch. Brass instrument_sentence_14

The bore diameter in relation to length determines whether the fundamental tone or the first overtone is the lowest partial practically available to the player in terms of playability and musicality, dividing brass instruments into whole-tube and half-tube instruments. Brass instrument_sentence_15

These terms stem from a comparison to organ pipes, which produce the same pitch as the fundamental pedal tone of a brass instrument of equal length. Brass instrument_sentence_16

Brass instrument_unordered_list_4

  • Whole-tube instruments have larger bores in relation to tubing length, and can play the fundamental tone with ease and precision. The tuba and euphonium are examples of whole-tube brass instruments.Brass instrument_item_4_8
  • Half-tube instruments have smaller bores in relation to tubing length and cannot easily or accurately play the fundamental tone. The second partial (first overtone) is the lowest note of each tubing length practical to play on half-tube instruments. The trumpet and horn are examples of half-tube brass instruments.Brass instrument_item_4_9

Other brass instruments Brass instrument_section_4

The instruments in this list fall for various reasons outside the scope of much of the discussion above regarding families of brass instruments. Brass instrument_sentence_17

Brass instrument_unordered_list_5

Valves Brass instrument_section_5

Main article: Brass instrument valves Brass instrument_sentence_18

Valves are used to change the length of tubing of a brass instrument allowing the player to reach the notes of various harmonic series. Brass instrument_sentence_19

Each valve pressed diverts the air stream through additional tubing, individually or in conjunction with other valves. Brass instrument_sentence_20

This lengthens the vibrating air column thus lowering the fundamental tone and associated harmonic series produced by the instrument. Brass instrument_sentence_21

Designs exist, although rare, in which this behaviour is reversed, i.e., pressing a valve removes a length of tubing rather than adding one. Brass instrument_sentence_22

One modern example of such an ascending valve is the Yamaha YSL-350C trombone, in which the extra valve tubing is normally engaged to pitch the instrument in B♭, and pressing the thumb lever removes a whole step to pitch the instrument in C. Valves require regular lubrication. Brass instrument_sentence_23

A core standard valve layout based on the action of three valves had become almost universal by (at latest) 1864 as witnessed by Arban's method published in that year. Brass instrument_sentence_24

The effect of a particular combination of valves may be seen in the table below. Brass instrument_sentence_25

This table is correct for the core three-valve layout on almost any modern valved brass instrument. Brass instrument_sentence_26

The most common four-valve layout is a superset of the well-established three-valve layout and is noted in the table, despite the exposition of four-valve and also five-valve systems (the latter used on the tuba) being incomplete in this article. Brass instrument_sentence_27

Brass instrument_table_general_0

Valve combination and effect on pitchBrass instrument_table_caption_0
Valve combinationBrass instrument_header_cell_0_0_0 Effect on pitchBrass instrument_header_cell_0_0_1 IntervalBrass instrument_header_cell_0_0_2 Tuning problemsBrass instrument_header_cell_0_0_3
2Brass instrument_cell_0_1_0 ​⁄2 stepBrass instrument_cell_0_1_1 Minor secondBrass instrument_cell_0_1_2 Brass instrument_cell_0_1_3
1Brass instrument_cell_0_2_0 1 stepBrass instrument_cell_0_2_1 Major secondBrass instrument_cell_0_2_2 Brass instrument_cell_0_2_3
1+2 or 3Brass instrument_cell_0_3_0 ​1 ⁄2 stepBrass instrument_cell_0_3_1 Minor thirdBrass instrument_cell_0_3_2 Very slightly sharpBrass instrument_cell_0_3_3
2+3Brass instrument_cell_0_4_0 2 stepsBrass instrument_cell_0_4_1 Major thirdBrass instrument_cell_0_4_2 Slightly sharpBrass instrument_cell_0_4_3
1+3 or 4Brass instrument_cell_0_5_0 ​2 ⁄2 stepsBrass instrument_cell_0_5_1 Perfect fourthBrass instrument_cell_0_5_2 Sharp (1+3 only)Brass instrument_cell_0_5_3
1+2+3 or 2+4Brass instrument_cell_0_6_0 3 stepsBrass instrument_cell_0_6_1 TritoneBrass instrument_cell_0_6_2 Very sharp (1+2+3 only)Brass instrument_cell_0_6_3
1+4Brass instrument_cell_0_7_0 ​3 ⁄2 stepsBrass instrument_cell_0_7_1 Perfect fifthBrass instrument_cell_0_7_2 Brass instrument_cell_0_7_3
1+2+4 or 3+4Brass instrument_cell_0_8_0 4 stepsBrass instrument_cell_0_8_1 Augmented fifthBrass instrument_cell_0_8_2 FlatBrass instrument_cell_0_8_3
2+3+4Brass instrument_cell_0_9_0 ​4 ⁄2 stepsBrass instrument_cell_0_9_1 Major sixthBrass instrument_cell_0_9_2 Slightly sharpBrass instrument_cell_0_9_3
1+3+4Brass instrument_cell_0_10_0 5 stepsBrass instrument_cell_0_10_1 Minor seventhBrass instrument_cell_0_10_2 SharpBrass instrument_cell_0_10_3
1+2+3+4Brass instrument_cell_0_11_0 ​5 ⁄2 stepsBrass instrument_cell_0_11_1 Major seventhBrass instrument_cell_0_11_2 Very sharpBrass instrument_cell_0_11_3

Tuning Brass instrument_section_6

Since valves lower the pitch, a valve that makes a pitch too low (flat) creates an interval wider than desired, while a valve that plays sharp creates an interval narrower than desired. Brass instrument_sentence_28

Intonation deficiencies of brass instruments that are independent of the tuning or temperament system are inherent in the physics of the most popular valve design, which uses a small number of valves in combination to avoid redundant and heavy lengths of tubing (this is entirely separate from the slight deficiencies between Western music's dominant equal (even) temperament system and the just (not equal) temperament of the harmonic series itself). Brass instrument_sentence_29

Since each lengthening of the tubing has an inversely proportional effect on pitch (Pitch of brass instruments), while pitch perception is logarithmic, there is no way for a simple, uncompensated addition of length to be correct in every combination when compared with the pitches of the open tubing and the other valves. Brass instrument_sentence_30

Absolute tube length Brass instrument_section_7

For example, given a length of tubing equaling 100 units of length when open, one may obtain the following tuning discrepancies: Brass instrument_sentence_31

Brass instrument_table_general_1

Valve combination and creation of pitch discrepanciesBrass instrument_table_caption_1
Valve(s)Brass instrument_header_cell_1_0_0 Desired pitchBrass instrument_header_cell_1_0_1 Necessary valve lengthBrass instrument_header_cell_1_0_2 Component tubing lengthBrass instrument_header_cell_1_0_3 DifferenceBrass instrument_header_cell_1_0_4 Slide positionsBrass instrument_header_cell_1_0_5
Open tubingBrass instrument_cell_1_1_0 A♯/B♭Brass instrument_cell_1_1_1 0Brass instrument_cell_1_1_2 Brass instrument_cell_1_1_3 Brass instrument_cell_1_1_4 1Brass instrument_cell_1_1_5
2Brass instrument_cell_1_2_0 ABrass instrument_cell_1_2_1 5.9Brass instrument_cell_1_2_2 Brass instrument_cell_1_2_3 Brass instrument_cell_1_2_4 2Brass instrument_cell_1_2_5
1Brass instrument_cell_1_3_0 G♯/A♭Brass instrument_cell_1_3_1 12.2Brass instrument_cell_1_3_2 Brass instrument_cell_1_3_3 Brass instrument_cell_1_3_4 3Brass instrument_cell_1_3_5
1+2 or 3Brass instrument_cell_1_4_0 GBrass instrument_cell_1_4_1 18.9Brass instrument_cell_1_4_2 18.1Brass instrument_cell_1_4_3 0.8Brass instrument_cell_1_4_4 4Brass instrument_cell_1_4_5
2+3Brass instrument_cell_1_5_0 F♯/G♭Brass instrument_cell_1_5_1 25.9Brass instrument_cell_1_5_2 24.8Brass instrument_cell_1_5_3 1.1Brass instrument_cell_1_5_4 5Brass instrument_cell_1_5_5
1+3 or 4Brass instrument_cell_1_6_0 FBrass instrument_cell_1_6_1 33.5Brass instrument_cell_1_6_2 31.1Brass instrument_cell_1_6_3 2.4Brass instrument_cell_1_6_4 6 or TBrass instrument_cell_1_6_5
1+2+3 or 2+4Brass instrument_cell_1_7_0 EBrass instrument_cell_1_7_1 41.4Brass instrument_cell_1_7_2 37Brass instrument_cell_1_7_3 4.4Brass instrument_cell_1_7_4 7 or T+2Brass instrument_cell_1_7_5
1+4Brass instrument_cell_1_8_0 D♯/E♭Brass instrument_cell_1_8_1 Brass instrument_cell_1_8_2 45.7Brass instrument_cell_1_8_3 Brass instrument_cell_1_8_4 T+3Brass instrument_cell_1_8_5
1+2+4 or 3+4Brass instrument_cell_1_9_0 DBrass instrument_cell_1_9_1 Brass instrument_cell_1_9_2 52.4Brass instrument_cell_1_9_3 Brass instrument_cell_1_9_4 T+4Brass instrument_cell_1_9_5
2+3+4Brass instrument_cell_1_10_0 C♯/D♭Brass instrument_cell_1_10_1 Brass instrument_cell_1_10_2 58.3Brass instrument_cell_1_10_3 Brass instrument_cell_1_10_4 T+5Brass instrument_cell_1_10_5
1+3+4Brass instrument_cell_1_11_0 CBrass instrument_cell_1_11_1 Brass instrument_cell_1_11_2 64.6Brass instrument_cell_1_11_3 Brass instrument_cell_1_11_4 T+6Brass instrument_cell_1_11_5
1+2+3+4Brass instrument_cell_1_12_0 BBrass instrument_cell_1_12_1 Brass instrument_cell_1_12_2 70.5Brass instrument_cell_1_12_3 Brass instrument_cell_1_12_4 T+7Brass instrument_cell_1_12_5

Playing notes using valves (notably 1st + 3rd and 1st + 2nd + 3rd) requires compensation to adjust the tuning appropriately, either by the player's lip-and-breath control, via mechanical assistance of some sort, or, in the case of horns, by the position of the stopping hand in the bell. Brass instrument_sentence_32

'T' stands for trigger on a trombone. Brass instrument_sentence_33

Relative tube length Brass instrument_section_8

Traditionally the valves lower the pitch of the instrument by adding extra lengths of tubing based on a just tuning: Brass instrument_sentence_34

Brass instrument_unordered_list_6

  • 1st valve: ​⁄8 of main tube, making an interval of 9:8, a pythagorean major secondBrass instrument_item_6_23
  • 2nd valve: ​⁄15 of main tube, making an interval of 16:15, a just minor secondBrass instrument_item_6_24
  • 3rd valve: ​⁄5 of main tube, making an interval of 6:5, a just minor thirdBrass instrument_item_6_25

Combining the valves and the harmonics of the instrument leads to the following ratios and comparisons to 12-tone equal tuning and to a common five-limit tuning in C: Brass instrument_sentence_35

Brass instrument_table_general_2

ValvesBrass instrument_header_cell_2_0_0 Har-

monicBrass instrument_header_cell_2_0_1

NoteBrass instrument_header_cell_2_0_2 RatioBrass instrument_header_cell_2_0_3 CentsBrass instrument_header_cell_2_0_4 Cents from

12ETBrass instrument_header_cell_2_0_5

Just

tuningBrass instrument_header_cell_2_0_6

Cents from

justBrass instrument_header_cell_2_0_7

○○○Brass instrument_cell_2_1_0 2Brass instrument_cell_2_1_1 CBrass instrument_cell_2_1_2 1:1Brass instrument_cell_2_1_3 0Brass instrument_cell_2_1_4 0Brass instrument_cell_2_1_5 1:1Brass instrument_cell_2_1_6 0Brass instrument_cell_2_1_7
●●●Brass instrument_cell_2_2_0 3Brass instrument_cell_2_2_1 C♯/D♭Brass instrument_cell_2_2_2 180:167Brass instrument_cell_2_2_3 130Brass instrument_cell_2_2_4 30Brass instrument_cell_2_2_5 16:15Brass instrument_cell_2_2_6 18Brass instrument_cell_2_2_7
●○●Brass instrument_cell_2_3_0 3Brass instrument_cell_2_3_1 DBrass instrument_cell_2_3_2 60:53Brass instrument_cell_2_3_3 215Brass instrument_cell_2_3_4 15Brass instrument_cell_2_3_5 9:8Brass instrument_cell_2_3_6 11Brass instrument_cell_2_3_7
○●●Brass instrument_cell_2_4_0 3Brass instrument_cell_2_4_1 D♯/E♭Brass instrument_cell_2_4_2 45:38Brass instrument_cell_2_4_3 293Brass instrument_cell_2_4_4 −7Brass instrument_cell_2_4_5 6:5Brass instrument_cell_2_4_6 −23Brass instrument_cell_2_4_7
●●○Brass instrument_cell_2_5_0 3Brass instrument_cell_2_5_1 EBrass instrument_cell_2_5_2 180:143Brass instrument_cell_2_5_3 398Brass instrument_cell_2_5_4 −2Brass instrument_cell_2_5_5 5:4Brass instrument_cell_2_5_6 12Brass instrument_cell_2_5_7
●○○Brass instrument_cell_2_6_0 3Brass instrument_cell_2_6_1 FBrass instrument_cell_2_6_2 4:3Brass instrument_cell_2_6_3 498Brass instrument_cell_2_6_4 −2Brass instrument_cell_2_6_5 4:3Brass instrument_cell_2_6_6 0Brass instrument_cell_2_6_7
○●○Brass instrument_cell_2_7_0 3Brass instrument_cell_2_7_1 F♯/G♭Brass instrument_cell_2_7_2 45:32Brass instrument_cell_2_7_3 590Brass instrument_cell_2_7_4 −10Brass instrument_cell_2_7_5 45:32Brass instrument_cell_2_7_6 0Brass instrument_cell_2_7_7
○○○Brass instrument_cell_2_8_0 3Brass instrument_cell_2_8_1 GBrass instrument_cell_2_8_2 3:2Brass instrument_cell_2_8_3 702Brass instrument_cell_2_8_4 2Brass instrument_cell_2_8_5 3:2Brass instrument_cell_2_8_6 0Brass instrument_cell_2_8_7
○●●Brass instrument_cell_2_9_0 4Brass instrument_cell_2_9_1 G♯/A♭Brass instrument_cell_2_9_2 30:19Brass instrument_cell_2_9_3 791Brass instrument_cell_2_9_4 −9Brass instrument_cell_2_9_5 8:5Brass instrument_cell_2_9_6 −23Brass instrument_cell_2_9_7
●●○Brass instrument_cell_2_10_0 4Brass instrument_cell_2_10_1 ABrass instrument_cell_2_10_2 240:143Brass instrument_cell_2_10_3 896Brass instrument_cell_2_10_4 −4Brass instrument_cell_2_10_5 5:3Brass instrument_cell_2_10_6 12Brass instrument_cell_2_10_7
●○○Brass instrument_cell_2_11_0 4Brass instrument_cell_2_11_1 A♯/B♭Brass instrument_cell_2_11_2 16:9Brass instrument_cell_2_11_3 996Brass instrument_cell_2_11_4 −4Brass instrument_cell_2_11_5 9:5Brass instrument_cell_2_11_6 −22Brass instrument_cell_2_11_7
○●○Brass instrument_cell_2_12_0 4Brass instrument_cell_2_12_1 BBrass instrument_cell_2_12_2 15:8Brass instrument_cell_2_12_3 1088Brass instrument_cell_2_12_4 −12Brass instrument_cell_2_12_5 15:8Brass instrument_cell_2_12_6 0Brass instrument_cell_2_12_7
○○○Brass instrument_cell_2_13_0 4Brass instrument_cell_2_13_1 CBrass instrument_cell_2_13_2 2:1Brass instrument_cell_2_13_3 1200Brass instrument_cell_2_13_4 0Brass instrument_cell_2_13_5 2:1Brass instrument_cell_2_13_6 0Brass instrument_cell_2_13_7
●●○Brass instrument_cell_2_14_0 5Brass instrument_cell_2_14_1 C♯/D♭Brass instrument_cell_2_14_2 300:143Brass instrument_cell_2_14_3 1283Brass instrument_cell_2_14_4 −17Brass instrument_cell_2_14_5 32:15Brass instrument_cell_2_14_6 −29Brass instrument_cell_2_14_7
●○○Brass instrument_cell_2_15_0 5Brass instrument_cell_2_15_1 DBrass instrument_cell_2_15_2 20:9Brass instrument_cell_2_15_3 1382Brass instrument_cell_2_15_4 −18Brass instrument_cell_2_15_5 9:4Brass instrument_cell_2_15_6 −22Brass instrument_cell_2_15_7
○●○Brass instrument_cell_2_16_0 5Brass instrument_cell_2_16_1 D♯/E♭Brass instrument_cell_2_16_2 75:32Brass instrument_cell_2_16_3 1475Brass instrument_cell_2_16_4 −25Brass instrument_cell_2_16_5 12:5Brass instrument_cell_2_16_6 −41Brass instrument_cell_2_16_7
○○○Brass instrument_cell_2_17_0 5Brass instrument_cell_2_17_1 EBrass instrument_cell_2_17_2 5:2Brass instrument_cell_2_17_3 1586Brass instrument_cell_2_17_4 −14Brass instrument_cell_2_17_5 5:2Brass instrument_cell_2_17_6 0Brass instrument_cell_2_17_7

Tuning compensation Brass instrument_section_9

The additional tubing for each valve usually features a short tuning slide of its own for fine adjustment of the valve's tuning, except when it is too short to make this practicable. Brass instrument_sentence_36

For the first and third valves this is often designed to be adjusted as the instrument is played, to account for the deficiencies in the valve system. Brass instrument_sentence_37

In most trumpets and cornets, the compensation must be provided by extending the third valve slide with the third or fourth finger, and the first valve slide with the left hand thumb (see Trigger or throw below). Brass instrument_sentence_38

This is used to lower the pitch of the 1–3 and 1–2–3 valve combinations. Brass instrument_sentence_39

On the trumpet and cornet, these valve combinations correspond to low D, low C♯, low G, and low F♯, so chromatically, to stay in tune, one must use this method. Brass instrument_sentence_40

In instruments with a fourth valve, such as tubas, euphoniums, piccolo trumpets, etc. that valve lowers the pitch by a perfect fourth; this is used to compensate for the sharpness of the valve combinations 1–3 and 1–2–3 (4 replaces 1–3, 2–4 replaces 1–2–3). Brass instrument_sentence_41

All three normal valves may be used in addition to the fourth to increase the instrument's range downwards by a perfect fourth, although with increasingly severe intonation problems. Brass instrument_sentence_42

When four-valved models without any kind of compensation play in the corresponding register, the sharpness becomes so severe that players must finger the note a half-step below the one they are trying to play. Brass instrument_sentence_43

This eliminates the note a half-step above their open fundamental. Brass instrument_sentence_44

Manufacturers of low brass instruments may choose one or a combination of four basic approaches to compensate for the tuning difficulties, whose respective merits are subject to debate: Brass instrument_sentence_45

Compensation system Brass instrument_section_10

In the Compensation system, each of the first two (or three) valves has an additional set of tubing extending from the back of the valve. Brass instrument_sentence_46

When the third (or fourth) valve is depressed in combination with another one, the air is routed through both the usual set of tubing plus the extra one, so that the pitch is lowered by an appropriate amount. Brass instrument_sentence_47

This allows compensating instruments to play with accurate intonation in the octave below their open second partial, which is critical for tubas and euphoniums in much of their repertoire. Brass instrument_sentence_48

The compensating system was applied to horns to serve a different purpose. Brass instrument_sentence_49

It was used to allow a double horn in F and B♭ to ease playing difficulties in the high register. Brass instrument_sentence_50

In contrast to the system in use in tubas and euphoniums, the default 'side' of the horn is the longer F horn, with secondary lengths of tubing coming into play when the first, second or third valves are pressed; pressing the thumb valve takes these secondary valve slides and the extra length of main tubing out of play to produce a shorter B♭ horn. Brass instrument_sentence_51

A later "full double" design has completely separate valve section tubing for the two sides, and is considered superior, although rather heavier in weight. Brass instrument_sentence_52

Additional valves Brass instrument_section_11

Initially, compensated instruments tended to sound stuffy and blow less freely due to the air being doubled back through the main valves. Brass instrument_sentence_53

In early designs, this led to sharp bends in the tubing and other obstructions of the air-flow. Brass instrument_sentence_54

Some manufacturers therefore preferred adding more ‘straight’ valves instead, which for example could be pitched a little lower than the 2nd and 1st valves and were intended to be used instead of these in the respective valve combinations. Brass instrument_sentence_55

While no longer featured in euphoniums for decades, many professional tubas are still built like this, with five valves being common on CC- and BB♭-tubas and five or six valves on F-tubas. Brass instrument_sentence_56

Compensating double horns can also suffer from the stuffiness resulting from the air being passed through the valve section twice, but as this really only affects the longer F side, a compensating double can be very useful for a 1st or 3rd horn player, who uses the F side less. Brass instrument_sentence_57

Additional sets of slides on each valve Brass instrument_section_12

Another approach was the addition of two sets of slides for different parts of the range. Brass instrument_sentence_58

Some euphoniums and tubas were built like this, but today, this approach has become highly exotic for all instruments except horns, where it is the norm, usually in a double, sometimes even triple configuration. Brass instrument_sentence_59

Trigger or throw Brass instrument_section_13

Some valved brass instruments provide triggers or throws that manually lengthen (or, less commonly, shorten) the main tuning slide, a valve slide, or the main tubing. Brass instrument_sentence_60

These mechanisms alter the pitch of notes that are naturally sharp in a specific register of the instrument, or shift the instrument to another playing range. Brass instrument_sentence_61

Triggers and throws permit speedy adjustment while playing. Brass instrument_sentence_62

Trigger is used in two senses: Brass instrument_sentence_63

Brass instrument_unordered_list_7

  • A trigger can be a mechanical lever that lengthens a slide when pressed in a contrary direction. Triggers are sprung in such a way that they return the slide to its original position when released.Brass instrument_item_7_26
  • The term "trigger" also describes a device engaging a valve to lengthen the main tubing, e.g. lowering the key of certain trombones from B♭ to F.Brass instrument_item_7_27

A throw is a simple metal grip for the player's finger or thumb, attached to a valve slide. Brass instrument_sentence_64

The general term "throw" can describe a u-hook, a saddle (u-shaped grips), or a ring (ring-shape grip) in which a player's finger or thumb rests. Brass instrument_sentence_65

A player extends a finger or thumb to lengthen a slide, and retracts the finger to return the slide to its original position. Brass instrument_sentence_66

Examples of instruments that use triggers or throws Brass instrument_section_14

Trumpet or cornet Brass instrument_section_15

Triggers or throws are sometimes found on the first valve slide. Brass instrument_sentence_67

They are operated by the player's thumb and are used to adjust a large range of notes using the first valve, most notably the player's written top line F, the A above directly above that, and the B♭ above that. Brass instrument_sentence_68

Other notes that require the first valve slide, but are not as problematic without it include the first line E, the F above that, the A above that, and the third line B♭. Brass instrument_sentence_69

Triggers or throws are often found on the third valve slide. Brass instrument_sentence_70

They are operated by the player's fourth finger, and are used to adjust the lower D and C♯. Brass instrument_sentence_71

Trumpets typically use throws, whilst cornets may have a throw or trigger. Brass instrument_sentence_72

Trombone Brass instrument_section_16

Main article: Types of trombone § F attachment Brass instrument_sentence_73

Trombone triggers are primarily but not exclusively installed on the F-trigger, bass, and contrabass trombones to alter the length of tubing, thus making certain ranges and pitches more accessible. Brass instrument_sentence_74

Euphoniums Brass instrument_section_17

A euphonium occasionally has a trigger on valves other than 2 (especially 3), although many professional quality euphoniums, and indeed other brass band instruments, have a trigger for the main tuning slide. Brass instrument_sentence_75

Mechanism Brass instrument_section_18

The two major types of valve mechanisms are rotary valves and piston valves. Brass instrument_sentence_76

The first piston valve instruments were developed just after the start of the 19th century. Brass instrument_sentence_77

The Stölzel valve (invented by Heinrich Stölzel in 1814) was an early variety. Brass instrument_sentence_78

In the mid 19th century the Vienna valve was an improved design. Brass instrument_sentence_79

However many professional musicians preferred rotary valves for quicker, more reliable action, until better designs of piston valves were mass manufactured towards the end of the 19th century. Brass instrument_sentence_80

Since the early decades of the 20th century, piston valves have been the most common on brass instruments except for the orchestral horn and the tuba. Brass instrument_sentence_81

See also the article Brass Instrument Valves. Brass instrument_sentence_82

Sound production in brass instruments Brass instrument_section_19

Because the player of a brass instrument has direct control of the prime vibrator (the lips), brass instruments exploit the player's ability to select the harmonic at which the instrument's column of air vibrates. Brass instrument_sentence_83

By making the instrument about twice as long as the equivalent woodwind instrument and starting with the second harmonic, players can get a good range of notes simply by varying the tension of their lips (see embouchure). Brass instrument_sentence_84

Most brass instruments are fitted with a removable mouthpiece. Brass instrument_sentence_85

Different shapes, sizes and styles of mouthpiece may be used to suit different embouchures, or to more easily produce certain tonal characteristics. Brass instrument_sentence_86

Trumpets, trombones, and tubas are characteristically fitted with a cupped mouthpiece, while horns are fitted with a conical mouthpiece. Brass instrument_sentence_87

One interesting difference between a woodwind instrument and a brass instrument is that woodwind instruments are non-directional. Brass instrument_sentence_88

This means that the sound produced propagates in all directions with approximately equal volume. Brass instrument_sentence_89

Brass instruments, on the other hand, are highly directional, with most of the sound produced traveling straight outward from the bell. Brass instrument_sentence_90

This difference makes it significantly more difficult to record a brass instrument accurately. Brass instrument_sentence_91

It also plays a major role in some performance situations, such as in marching bands. Brass instrument_sentence_92

Manufacture Brass instrument_section_20

Metal Brass instrument_section_21

Traditionally the instruments are normally made of brass, polished and then lacquered to prevent corrosion. Brass instrument_sentence_93

Some higher quality and higher cost instruments use gold or silver plating to prevent corrosion. Brass instrument_sentence_94

Alternatives to brass include other alloys containing significant amounts of copper or silver. Brass instrument_sentence_95

These alloys are biostatic due to the oligodynamic effect, and thus suppress growth of molds, fungi or bacteria. Brass instrument_sentence_96

Brass instruments constructed from stainless steel or aluminium have good sound quality but are rapidly colonized by microorganisms and become unpleasant to play. Brass instrument_sentence_97

Most higher quality instruments are designed to prevent or reduce galvanic corrosion between any steel in the valves and springs, and the brass of the tubing. Brass instrument_sentence_98

This may take the form of desiccant design, to keep the valves dry, sacrificial zincs, replaceable valve cores and springs, plastic insulating washers, or nonconductive or noble materials for the valve cores and springs. Brass instrument_sentence_99

Some instruments use several such features. Brass instrument_sentence_100

The process of making the large open end (bell) of a brass instrument is called metal beating. Brass instrument_sentence_101

In making the bell of, for example, a trumpet, a person lays out a pattern and shapes sheet metal into a bell-shape using templates, machine tools, handtools, and blueprints. Brass instrument_sentence_102

The maker cuts out the bell blank, using hand or power shears. Brass instrument_sentence_103

He hammers the blank over a bell-shaped mandrel, and butts the seam, using a notching tool. Brass instrument_sentence_104

The seam is brazed, using a torch and smoothed using a hammer or file. Brass instrument_sentence_105

A draw bench or arbor press equipped with expandable lead plug is used to shape and smooth the bell and bell neck over a mandrel. Brass instrument_sentence_106

A lathe is used to spin the bell head and to form a bead at the edge of bell head. Brass instrument_sentence_107

Previously shaped bell necks are annealed, using a hand torch to soften the metal for further bending. Brass instrument_sentence_108

Scratches are removed from the bell using abrasive-coated cloth. Brass instrument_sentence_109

Other materials Brass instrument_section_22

A few specialty instruments are made from wood. Brass instrument_sentence_110

Instruments made mostly from plastic emerged in the 2010s as a cheaper and more robust alternative to brass. Brass instrument_sentence_111

Plastic instruments could come in almost any colour. Brass instrument_sentence_112

The sound plastic instruments produce is different from the one of brass, lacquer, gold or silver. Brass instrument_sentence_113

While originally seen as a gimmick, these plastic models have found increasing popularity of the last decade and are now viewed as practice tools that make for more convenient travel as well as a cheaper option for beginning players. Brass instrument_sentence_114

Ensembles Brass instrument_section_23

Main article: Brass section Brass instrument_sentence_115

Brass instruments are one of the major classical instrument families and are played across a range of musical ensembles. Brass instrument_sentence_116

Orchestras include a varying number of brass instruments depending on music style and era, typically: Brass instrument_sentence_117

Brass instrument_unordered_list_8

  • two to three trumpetsBrass instrument_item_8_28
  • two to four French hornsBrass instrument_item_8_29
  • two tenor trombonesBrass instrument_item_8_30
  • one bass tromboneBrass instrument_item_8_31
  • one tubaBrass instrument_item_8_32
    • Baroque and classical period orchestras may include valveless trumpets or bugles, or have valved trumpets/cornets playing these parts, and they may include valveless horns, or have valved horns playing these parts.Brass instrument_item_8_33
    • Romantic, modern, and contemporary orchestras may include larger numbers of brass including more exotic instruments.Brass instrument_item_8_34

Concert bands generally have a larger brass section than an orchestra, typically: Brass instrument_sentence_118

Brass instrument_unordered_list_9

  • four to six trumpets or cornetsBrass instrument_item_9_35
  • four French hornsBrass instrument_item_9_36
  • two to four tenor trombonesBrass instrument_item_9_37
  • one to two bass trombonesBrass instrument_item_9_38
  • two to three euphoniums or baritone hornsBrass instrument_item_9_39
  • two to three tubasBrass instrument_item_9_40

British brass bands are made up entirely of brass, mostly conical bore instruments. Brass instrument_sentence_119

Typical membership is: Brass instrument_sentence_120

Brass instrument_unordered_list_10

  • one soprano cornetBrass instrument_item_10_41
  • nine cornetsBrass instrument_item_10_42
  • one flugelhornBrass instrument_item_10_43
  • three tenor (alto) hornsBrass instrument_item_10_44
  • two baritone hornsBrass instrument_item_10_45
  • two tenor trombonesBrass instrument_item_10_46
  • one bass tromboneBrass instrument_item_10_47
  • two euphoniumsBrass instrument_item_10_48
  • two E♭ tubasBrass instrument_item_10_49
  • two B♭ tubasBrass instrument_item_10_50

Quintets are common small brass ensembles; a quintet typically contains: Brass instrument_sentence_121

Brass instrument_unordered_list_11

  • two trumpetsBrass instrument_item_11_51
  • one hornBrass instrument_item_11_52
  • one tromboneBrass instrument_item_11_53
  • one tuba or bass tromboneBrass instrument_item_11_54

Big bands and other jazz bands commonly contain cylindrical bore brass instruments. Brass instrument_sentence_122

Brass instrument_unordered_list_12

  • A big band typically includes:Brass instrument_item_12_55
    • four trumpetsBrass instrument_item_12_56
    • four tenor trombonesBrass instrument_item_12_57
    • one bass trombone (in place of one of the tenor trombones)Brass instrument_item_12_58
  • Smaller jazz ensembles may include a single trumpet or trombone soloist.Brass instrument_item_12_59

Mexican bandas have: Brass instrument_sentence_123

Brass instrument_unordered_list_13

  • three trumpetsBrass instrument_item_13_60
  • three trombonesBrass instrument_item_13_61
  • two alto horns, also called "charchetas" and "saxores"Brass instrument_item_13_62
  • one sousaphone, called "tuba"Brass instrument_item_13_63

Single brass instruments are also often used to accompany other instruments or ensembles such as an organ or a choir. Brass instrument_sentence_124

See also Brass instrument_section_24

Brass instrument_unordered_list_14


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass instrument.