Brass wind instruments

Four names, originally representing that  large family: the French horn (or horns), trumpets, trombones and tuba – had been fairly mixed with time and presented to the descendants  some specific hybrids, which, on the one hand, enriched the sound of the Symphony orchestra  and from other hand added gloss and melody to the sound of the military orchestra  ... The brass winds are essential when it comes to the rendering of impressions about the spaces, even large scale spaces…  The sound generator as in old times are ... the lips of the performer.



The French name of the instrument the cornet-a-piston – horn with pistons (piston valves). It had been constructed in Paris in the 1820-ies. This is not a pipe, and a direct descendant of post horns, because it can be considered its sister horn. The modern cornet, despite its compact size, “convolution”, is becoming more and more to look like a pipe.

The most famous feature of the instrument lies in its superiority over other brass winds in the performance of music requiring great fluency and virtuosity.

Heroic intonations of the pipe in a cornet are absent, but, on the other hand, he is capable of warmth and rich softness of the sound associated only with horn. This defined its role and place in the orchestra: the cornet successfully leads the melodic line assigned to it, moreover, in combination with other instruments, it sounds no worse than the tube.



The name of the instrument is formed from two German words: Flűgel – wings and Horn – "the horn". The secret will be solved, as soon as we only to take the  flugelhorn in hands. The enlarged conical section of the channel is wider than the pipe, the bell makes the second round of the tube to deviate like raised wings of a bird, ready to take off. Flugelhorn reminiscent of both the trumpet and the cornet-a-piston, really are "winged". Often improvising on it than playing the notes. Love jazz trumpeters flugelhorn for his soft waldhorn-like sound.

The instrument is  more popular in Europe than in America. In Italy, for example, there are still four rare species.



The trombone is a word of Italian origin (in Italian trombe is trumpet, trombone is a big trumpet). The English ancestor of the trombone was called sackbut (sackbut, sackbut) and was quite similar to modern tools. It is believed that over the last five hundred years, the trombone has not changed. It is not so. The instrument’s  dimensions and the shape of the mouthpiece and bell had been changed. Masters wanted to get from the trombone the same thing from the other instruments – perfect sound. The main distinctive feature of the trombone is its moveable knee slide. The slide is designed to change the pitch of an instrument. When it goes ahead, the sound, as the length of the air column becomes lower.

The tube tool is mostly cylindrical, but closer to the bell vigorously enters the cone. The mouthpiece is a shallow spherical cup, similar to the mouthpiece of a large pipe, and is different from the mouthpieces of other brass instruments.

The sound of the trombone is a powerful, distinct; however the trombone is able to play any possible gradations of quiet sound.  Instruments’ soulful sounds of spiritual music, but is often associated with the sphere of the supernatural (as, for example, in Mozart's Requiem and his Opera "Don Giovanni"). If you want to express in the score of a musical work such feelings as alarm, danger, doom, the composer, most likely, will return to the sound of the trombone. In jazz music, the trombone, by contrast, often sounds pretty carefree. Vocal imitation of the sound of the trombone, his expressive glissando and Blues notes – this is almost the quintessence of the unique performing manner of the legendary jazz musician (singer, trumpeter, trombonist) Louis Armstrong (1901-1971).

Glissando looks like a natural touch for this kind of instrument like the trombone, but in classical music the use of long were not allowed and was considered a sign of bad taste. First authors who are completely independent from each other overcame this tradition, were Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) and Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951).

Glissando looks like a natural touch for this kind of instrument like the trombone, but in classical music the use of this instrument had not been allowed for a long time and was considered a sign of bad taste. First authors who are completely independent from each other overcame this tradition, were Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) and Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951).

The instrument is held with the left hand on the bar's cigarette tubes so that the mouthpiece rests on the lips. The right hand thus controls the slide by using separate spacers. To the provisions of the scenes when the game has seven positions. On the first (highest) position, the slide is fully retracted, the seventh (the lowest) is fully extended; with each regular position, the sound is lowered one semitone.

On a U-shaped bend stationary (mouthpiece) part of the instrument is movable adjusting crowns. On the transverse strut the counterweight is mounted, because the total length of all tubes of the instrument is about three meters and when fully extended the slide trombone starts  what is called "to out weight" the trombonist. Valve for the condensate drain is located on the movable part of the tube – slide.

In the modern orchestra trombone section, as a rule, consists of three tools; these are two tenor and one bass trombones.

The range of the trombone about 2, 5 octaves, tenor line is in B flat, bass in F (perfect fourth lower).


The tenor-bass trombone – the most important of the species of band instruments trombone is a tenor trombone in B with the so-called quartermile – a device consisting of a loop of extra tubing built into the U-shaped knee, so that when connecting to ensure the extraction of the pitch F. the Connection by turning a valve, controlled left thumb and acting like a waldhorn valve.

The tenor-bass trombone, designed to perform mainly low parts of bass trombone, has an enlarged channel and the tube are provided with small wings. Quartostile actually makes one instrument in two or even three, if you count existing in the construction of crowns E. additional tool In importance is comparable to the invention of the double horn, because with the help of quarter-velve provides unlimited access to both the tenor and bass registers.

French horn

french horn

If the sounding of the trumpet sets off the heroic motives, trombone – spiritual and other-worldly beginning, the field horn is magic. Almost all over the world the horn (which literally translated from German means "forest horn") for some reason called "French horn". France is an exception, where it is fundamentally called differently. It is known that the French horn was created and developed mainly in Germany, so more reasonable would be to call it "German horn".

The predecessors of the modern French horn are  – hunting horn, followed by the so-called natural horn.

Gate, or chromatic, French horn was invented by Silesian masters Salalem and Blumler in 1818, and then patented. Two years later the news about the new "German horn", and the horn, reached Paris, where French musician Pier Joseph  Emil Meyfred (1791-1867) made a few improvements to the tool. And only in 1835, that is, 15 years later, valve horn appeared in the orchestra. Early Wagner scores natural and valve horn are used together. One of the first major works, designed specifically for valve horn and piano – Adagio and Allegro by Schumann (Op. 70) dated 1849, but twenty years later, composers are still applied to the natural prototype of the tool. Especially when the sound of the orchestra was supposed to recreate the atmosphere of a primeval "forest of romance".

Warm and velvety tone of a French horn is difficult to confuse with the sound of other brass, but coloristic possibilities of the instrument can be extended also by a special reception – the introduction of the hand in the bell while playing. The result is a closed, or locked, sounds even more extraordinary, mysterious, creating a curious spatial effect instant removal of the tool.

Modern valve horn has an impressive range (3,5 octaves), and this is due to the fact that it is a kind of two tools, integrated into one another. Established currently in the orchestra of instrument – the result of a combination of its immediate predecessors: horn in B flat and horn in F. the Total length of the tube in this combination is 518 cm. The instrument has three main valve, which using the rotary levers are managing twice the number of gate tubes. The fourth valve, further, is actuated with the thumb, ensuring the switch from building F to building B and Vice versa. Switching can occur at any time and in any case range. The mouthpiece is conical, funnel different from the mouthpieces of other brass instruments.

In symphonic scores of the XIX–XX centuries, most prominently four French horns, two of which are assigned high and other two low party. In big bands the number of horns can grow up from six to eight.



The name "baritone" is applied to this brass wind instrument most often, but it happens, and it is called "tenor", "tenor tuba". In 30-ies – 40-ies of the XIX century, when the baritone design evolved, it was invented by another name – euphonium (from the Greek word "euphonos" that means "sweet", "fruity").

Baritone’s purpose is not only military music. The instrument is widespread in brass bands, where its distinctive tone can be heard in the solo episodes. Similarly, as in the title, in the instrument design can have different variations. Meet 3, 4 or even 5-valve baritones. Each of the additional valve opens the outset, the tone of the instrument decreases slightly. With a total length of all pipes within three meters of the baritone is quite compact – about 60-70 centimeters in length.

Mouthpiece of baritone and the related variations of cup-shaped and quite deep compared even with the mouthpiece of the trombone, and that helps to get the characteristic of this instrument is soft and spicy tone.



Latin word tuba  is translated as "pipe". Well, let's assume that out of respect to the lowest voice among all brass this tool name is its Latin name.

With a wide tapered channel, the funnel wide and deep Cup-shaped mouthpiece tube has not only the lowest but also extremely soft, deep tone that is similar rather to the timbre of the French horn than a trombone or trumpet. The tube emits and its size. It is the largest tool in the group and one of the largest woodwind in an orchestra.

In Ancient Rome, a tube called bronze cylindrical and straight wind instrument the length of five feet, used in military and ceremonial use. The modern tuba is one of the youngest members of the family. She was born with a full gate system (number of gates 3 to 4, rarely 5 or 6).

In the orchestra the tuba was introduced by Richard Wagner. Solo for tuba are found in orchestral scores Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel and other authors. In the twentieth century was first written Sonata for tuba. Its author was a German composer Paul Hindemith (1895-1963).

Wagner tuba

Вагнеровская туба

A tool with such name really owes its birth to the Maestro Richard Wagner. The composer took a kind of sound  "connective link" between horns and trombones for his impressive operatic cycle "Der Ring des Nibelungen" (1876). As conceived by Wagner, such tubes were to play the French horn. Dark and majestic sound of the instrument has repeatedly drawn the attention of composers of the XIX and XX centuries – Bruckner, R. Strauss, Stravinsky and others. A conical channel of the Wagner tuba is expanding gradually and goes into a long oblique funnel; the instrument is held on his knees. The range of the Wagner tuba for about three octaves, the order varies: there are tenor instruments in B and a bass in F. the scores of the operas of Wagner's "Ring" ("Das Rheingold", "Valkyrie", "Siegfried", "Twilight of Gods") featured a Quartet of Wagner tubas: two tenor and two bass instruments.



Sousaphon (sousaphon) – brass wind instrument, the sort of bass tuba in B or Es system with three or four valves – named after its inventor, American conductor John Sousa. Stafon used in military brass bands and looks great and sounds even on the March. His trumpet shines like the sun, towering over the head of the performer.  A long four to five and a half meter tube encircles it, like a mythical serpent. Stafon produced since 1898, recently the main tube of the instrument is made of fiberglass.


sq_bl  Lev Zalesskiy.

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