Brass Instruments

Little boy blue come blow your horn! Yes, that's a brass instrument. Check it out.

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Brass Instruments

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Brass instruments, such as the trumpet, make sound as a result of a musician blowing into them. So, why are they called brass instruments? Because they are made of the metal brass. Other brass instruments include the french horn, trombone and tuba.

The pitch of the sound is related to the size of the air chamber. The size of the air chamber relates to the size and length of the pipes, or tubes, on the instrument. Brass instruments tend to coil, or have many loops of piping. If you were to straighten one out, it would be quite long. Coiling the instrument to lengthen the pipe increases the chamber size. The larger the chamber size, the lower the sound's pitch.

The musician blows into the mouthpiece at one end, and the music comes out the other end. The position of the musician's lips and mouth on the mouthpiece are used to change the sound's pitch.

On some instruments like the bugle, the only way to change notes is to change your mouth position. Other instruments like the trumpet use valves, in addition to mouth position, to control the pitch.

Valves on the instrument control the path of the air. Pressing a valve changes the path of the air, which changes the length of pipe the air is flowing through. Lengthening or shortening the pipe changes the air chamber size. And, as said before, changing the size of the air chamber changes the pitch of the note being played.

The French Horn has its tube coiled in a circle. Similar to the trumpet, it also has 3 valves.

The Trombone is different from the trumpet and french horn because it doesn't have valves. It has a long moveable tube, or slide. The musician moves the slide to change the length of the pipe, and thus the air chamber size. As the musician moves the slide it changes the pitch of the note.


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