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Orchestras and bands are made up of a variety of instruments, including brass instruments such as the trumpet, tuba and trombone. Other members of the brass family include the French horn, flugelhorn and euphonium. Many instruments of the brass family have evolved over the years into the modern-day instruments used today.
The trumpet is an ancient instrument and one of the brass instruments played in both orchestras and bands. Changing lip tension on the mouthpiece and fingerings on the trumpet’s valves will change the notes produced. Nearly 5 feet (1.5m) of winding tube makes up the bulk of the instrument. The flugel horn resembles a trumpet, but has a conical bore. It is mainly used in jazz music.
Often providing the tenor voice of a brass section, the trombone is one of the brass instruments that typically makes up an orchestra. Similar to the trumpet, the brass instruments are made from a length of tube. The 9-foot (2.7m) length is folded over in the center to overlap. Some trombones are nickel-plated, but most are made from brass.
The French horn is made from a 12-foot (3.7m) long coiled metal tube that flares into a bell shape at the instrument’s base. The brass instruments use a funnel-shaped mouthpiece, and the instrument’s pitch can be changed by adjusting lip tension and the horn’s three valves. Pitch and tone quality can further be varied by hand-stopping, which is done by placing a hand in the bell of the horn.
There are many brass instruments that fall under the tuba name, and they are the brass family’s largest instruments and have cup-shaped mouthpieces. Tubas are held vertically to be played, unlike most other brass instruments, and they have a low pitch. To change the instrument’s notes, the fingering on the tuba’s valves or lip tension on the mouthpiece is changed.
The baritone tuba, also known as an euphonium, is the most common type of tuba. It is often featured in marching and concert bands. Other tubas include the upright tuba, the three-valve sousaphone and marching bugle tuba. The marching bugle tuba wraps around the player and has a flaring bell at the top.
The sousaphone is named after John Philip Sousa, a composer and American bandmaster who often used the instrument in his band. The instrument’s bell points upward, then is tilted forward. In addition to marching bands, the tuba is used in jazz, ragtime and big band music. Other brass instruments include the air horn, baritone horn and bazooka. The bugle, Vienna horn and vuvuzela are also members of the brass family.