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The Natural Trumpet

natural-trumpet-2BrassWindFix has carried out some solder and dent work on a “natural trumpet” this week on behalf of Wells Cathedral School.    The school uses the instrument regularly to teach students about different brass instruments with a view to learning about their historical backgrounds and uses in various musical styles over the centuries.  This instrument has no markings or serial numbers, it is unlacquered and it’s therefore really difficult to “age” the instrument.

You’ll see from the pictures that a “natural trumpet” is a valveless brass instrument, capable of playing the notes of the harmonic series.  The natural-trumpet-1natural trumpet was used as a military instrument to facilitate communication (to let soldiers know when to break camp, retreat etc).  Nowadays a very close relative of the “natural trumpet” – the bugle (another valveless brass instrument but half the length of a “natural trumpet”), is used for performing simple fanfares and military calls.

The “natural trumpet” was around in the 16th Century and used in Venetial ceremonial music.  In the 18th Century various attempts were made to overcome the limitations of the “natural trumpet” but they were used throughout the classical era and even into the early Romantic period.  However, as only extremely adept and capable players could play this instrument properly, and with ever-changing musical styles, the use for the “natural trumpet” began to dwindle.  In 1815 the more versatile valve trumpet was proving more popular and so came the demise of the “natural trumpet”.

One things for sure though, BrassWindFix get to work on some pretty amazing and unusual instruments in the workshop.

 

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