The brass instrument family is made up of a number of different instruments, including the trumpet, trombone, and the tuba, as well as many others. In this post we are looking at the different types of brass instrument:
The baritone horn, often just referred to as the baritone, is a low-pitched brass instrument. The baritone is pitched to B♭ and is usually found in brass bands. It is very similar to the euphonium, however the baritone has a tighter wrap, smaller bell and produces a lighter sound. Those that play the baritone are referred to as baritone players or a baritonist.
The cornet is very similar to the trumpet (but obviously much smaller). The cornet is most commonly pitched to B♭, however soprano cornets are pitched to E♭. The cornet is usually found in brass bands.
The euphonium is similar to the baritone horn but has wider tubes and a larger conical bore. In comparison to the baritone, the euphonium produces a much mellower sound. Those that play the euphonium can be referred to as a euphist, euphologist, euphonist, euphoniumist, or euphophonist.
The flugel horn, also known as the flugelhorn, fluegelhorn, and the Flügelhorn, is a small trumpet like instrument. Whilst similar to the trumpet, the flugel horn is much smaller and has a wider conical bore. Like the trumpet and the cornet the flugel horn is pitched to B♭. The flugel horn is a descendant of the valved bugle.
The french horn is commonly just referred to as the "horn". The modern day french horn has 18ft of tubing wrapped into a coil with a large, flared bell. It can produce a wide range of sounds from soft and mellow to loud and harsh.
The tenor horn, also referred to as the alto horn and althorn, has a conical bore similar to the baritone horn. The tenor horn is usually pitched to E♭ and is commonly used in brass bands.
The trombone differs from all the other instruments in the brass family as it uses a slide to change the pitch rather than valves. The name trombone derives from the Italian word tromba (meaning trumpet) and roughly translates to "large trumpet". Those that play the trombone are referred to as trombonists or trombone players.
The trumpet is probably the most recognisable of the brass instrument family as it is widely used in orchestras, brass bands, and jazz ensembles. There are many different types of trumpet, however, the most common is pitched to B♭. The trumpet offers the highest pitch of the brass family and produces a bright and vibrant sound. The pitch of the trumpet is changed by pressing down on the three valves in a variety of combinations. Throughout history the trumpet has been used to signify different events, such as hunting or battle. Those that play the trumpet are known as trumpeters or trumpet players.
The tuba is the largest and lowest pitched instrument in the brass family, this has led to it to be known as the 'grandfather' of the brass family. Orchestras will usually only have one tuba, where as brass bands may have up to four! The length of the tubing in a tuba differs depending on the pitch of the instrument. For example a B♭ tuba has around 18ft of tubing compared to a F tuba which has around 12ft of tubing. The name tuba comes from the latin word tuba, which actally means 'trumpet'. Those that play the tuba may be known as tuba players, bass players, tubists, or tubaists.