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All About Brass

All About Brass

Nothing shines brighter on stage than the glow of the brass family. Their loud and prominent voices range from the high pitched shouts of the trumpet to the bellowing booms of the tuba. Unlike the woodwind family that uses reeds, the brass sections voice is fueled by the player blowing into a metal mouthpiece. Sounds and pitches are controlled by a series of valves that, when pressed in different sequences, will produce the notes being played.

Brass instruments can be used in lots of different styles of music ranging from jazz to classical to big band to ska (for all you 35 year old parents out there). But what makes up the brass section? There are four main members of this family including the trumpet, tuba, french horn, and the long sliding trombone. Which one is right for you? Let’s go over the basics to give you a better understanding of what to look at!

The Trumpet

The trumpet is one of the oldest instruments in the world! This brass horn has transformed many times over the years from being long and straight to the now compact and curled trumpet we see today. The trumpet has the highest pitch of the four and is also the smallest.

The Trombone

Being the longest brass instrument in this group, the trombone does not rely on valves like its brothers and sisters do. Instead the trombone gets its voice from sliding its long U shaped pipe forward and back to change the pitch. When fully extended, the trombone can reach 9 feet long!

The French Horn

18 feet of tubing all tightly rolled into a circle makes up our third member of the brass group. The player uses both hands for this instrument, pressing valves with the left hand and using the right hand inside the bell! When played, the band member will change the type of sound on the horn by adjusting the position of their hand.

The Tuba

The largest and deepest of the brass horns has one of the lowest tones in the orchestra. It is so big the musician has to sit while playing! You need a lot of breath to play this instrument, getting it through the 16 feet of large pipes. The tuba is so loud and commanding there is generally only one in the whole orchestra.

These are just a few notes on the brass family with so much more to discover! The brass section is a very important part of the orchestra and one of the loudest voices. Ranging in sizes from small to large there is an option for everyone out there who wants to try their hand at the brass! Contact us today to learn more.