What Are the Different Types of Trumpets?

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Trumpets are part of the brass instrument family. Each trumpet was originally named for the key range in which it plays. Each also has a specific design characteristic allowing it to create a distinct sound.

B Flat Trumpet

The B trumpet is the standard trumpet used in most orchestras. It typically has a range of F sharp to three octaves higher. Pedal tones act as a complement to B flat trumpets to produce sounds lower than F sharp.

Bass Trumpet

A bass trumpet is similar to a trombone in design and pitch. The key for a trombone can either be a low B flat or C.

Soprano Trumpet

The soprano trumpet plays in a key of G. A key design feature are rotary and piston valves. It commonly accompanies the drums in military corps.

Piccolo Trumpet

The piccolo is the smallest trumpet. It plays in the keys of A and B flat. It is the highest pitch trumpet, producing bright tunes. Piccolos have four valves in contrast to a trumpet’s usual three.

Slide Trumpet

Slide trumpets replace the valve design with moving slides. It is normally tuned at the key of B. Dating back to the Renaissance period, slide trumpets were the first trumpets allowed in Christian churches.

Pocket Trumpet

Pocket trumpets were made as smaller versions of the B flat trumpet. The internal tubing is more tightly wound to reduce the size of the trumpet without sacrificing length. It sounds closest to voice articulation among trumpets.