A Brief Trumpet History

Trumpet history runs deep; the trumpet is one of the oldest instruments in the world. There are pictures of trumpets in the tomb of King Tut.

Early Trumpeting
Long ago, people use animal horns or shells as crude trumpets. The point of these instruments wasn't to make music, it was to amplify the voice or make rudimentary sounds.

As time passed, the trumpet became an important instrument in ceremonies. In Israel, the trumpet was used as part of religious ceremonies. Both the Tibetans and Romans used the trumpet in magical spells to ward off evil spirits. From these humble beginnings, the trumpet slowly evolved into the musical instrument that it is today.

A Tool of War
Around the 14th century, animal horns gave way to silver trumpets and brass trumpets. It was at this time that the trumpet acquired its familiar form of folded tubes.

People began to realize that the trumpet could do more than just amplify sound; it was possible to manipulate the air and create notes. In medieval times, only a select few were allowed to learn how to play the trumpet. Armies used different toots and trumpet tones to convey information.

Germany became the forerunner in trumpet production during the 16th century. At this time, the trumpet was still used for mostly military and ceremonial occasions, but by the end of the century the trumpet was being used for musical applications.

The Trumpet Goes Classical
The 17th and 18th century saw the trumpet used in applications that were more musical. Famous composers of the time began using the trumpet in their compositions. Even though it was being used to make music, the trumpet still spent most of its time performing in military or court ceremonies.

In 1814, valves were added to the trumpet, allowing the chromatic scale to be played evenly. This revolutionized the trumpet for musical use. Prior trumpets relied on the skill of the player to create different notes.

The trumpets that are used today are very different from the crude horns of long ago. Today's trumpets are made of metal and offer a variety of platings and shapes that allow the musician to customize the sound of the trumpet. The bugle, which lacks valves, bears a much closer resemblance to the trumpet's distant cousins. 

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