Bass Trumpet

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The bass trumpet is a brass instrument that belongs to the trumpet family of aerophones. It has a similar range and length of tubing to a tenor trombone and has four piston valves. The modern bass trumpet is often pitched in C or Bb though some instruments, especially early bass trumpets, have been pitched in Eb.
History of the Bass Trumpet
The history of the bass trumpet dates back to the early 18th century when trumpet and brass instrument makers began to increase the range and therefore the design of trumpets. The invention of piston valves revolutionised the way that brass instruments were constructed. A German horn player named Heinrich Stölzel developed a low trumpet in Bb in 1828, which was quickly adopted by Richard Wagner in compositions like the Ring of the Nibelung. This however was in fact a tenor range and Stölzel later created a trumpet in true bass range that could then be adopted by brass bands. Other composers such as Richard Strauss wrote the bass trumpet into their compositions for its powerful metallic sound. The bass trumpet had its peak in popularity during this late romantic, 19th century period of classical music composition and has not seen a revival since this era. However, bass trumpets are still mass produced today. The larger mouthpiece of the bass trumpet is similar to that of a regular trombone which is why trombone players, especially valve trombone players, have found it easy to perform with the bass trumpet.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

£1200 - £6,200

Hear the Bass Trumpet

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How to Play

A trumpet that is pitched lower than a standard trumpet. Played using the same technique as a trumpet.

In Popular Music

The bass trumpet is an uncommon musical instrument in popular music recordings but it can be used as a supporting instrument. There may have been a bass trumpet played in the supporting orchestra arrangements for 'Penny Lane' by The Beatles.

Famous Players

Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry

Close Relations

Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Video Credit: Trent Hamilton
Understanding the Bass Trumpet




19th century






Instruments of Music

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