Brass – French Horn

November 18, 2006


Orchestras commonly use the French horn for its warm, mellow tone.  The French horn has 16 feet of brass tubing, which is twisted and ends in a wide bell.  When this instrument was first produced crooks created a change in tone by altering the length of the tube.  Crooks are extentions of the tube.  In 1754, Joseph Hampel invented stopping which is a method that the player would change the tone by placing his or her hand into the bell.  In 1800’s, three or four pistons were added for a smoother change in pitch.




Brass – Tuba

November 18, 2006


Musicians frequently use tubas in the band.  They are sometimes used in orchestras.  The tuba has the largest cupped mouthpiece of all the brass instruments.  This instrument also contains a bell, coiled tubing, slide pull ring, and piston valves.  A form of the first tuba was called a Roman buccina.  Improvements were made to the instrument over the years.  Phasey altered the instrument in 1870’s by widening the bore, producing the instrument we now know of today as the tuba.  Tubas produce the lowest tone in the brass instruments.  The helicon and sousaphone are variations of the tuba and include bell joints of different shapes. 


Brass – Trumpet

November 18, 2006


A trumpet with out valves can date back as far as 2000 B.C.  These early instruments were constructed from shells or bones.  The modern trumpet is a treble brass instrument that consists of small-bore cylindrical tubing, a bell, cupped mouthpiece, and three piston valves.  The piston valves enable the instrument to form the notes on a scale.  They were created in 1818 by Heinrich Stolzel and Friedrich Bluhmel, German brass players.



Brass – Trombone

November 18, 2006


The Trombone is characterized as being a brass instrument with a long tube that is bent twice with a bell on one end and cupped mouthpiece at the other.  It was designed after the trumpet.  The portion of the tube that slides was added in Italy during the 14th century, enabling the player to adjust the length of the tube.  Sound is created by vibration of lips when the player blows.  The tone is adjusted by changing the slide position and embouchure.