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The History of the Trumpet: Quick Facts To Know

trumpet player up close

Almost everyone has a general idea of what a trumpet is.

When you think of a trumpet, your mind typically conjures a brass wind instrument found in both classical and soul jazz. However, not many know of its history or how old the trumpet really is.

Dating back to 1500 BCE and further, the earliest trumpets have been found all over the world in places such as Egypt, Scandinavia, China, Africa, and Peru, even with a mention in the Bible. The first trumpets were usually made out of animal horns, which eventually became brass and other metals similar to the trumpets we know today. The major evolution of the trumpet didn’t take place, however, until the Baroque Era starting in the early 17th Century and continuing into the late 18th Century, eventually being deemed “The Golden Age of the Natural Trumpet”.

Starting as early as 1788, Charles Clagget lit the spark of this evolutionary period with the creation of the valve mechanism, which is still found in variations today. Many new forms of the trumpet continued to emerge when Friedrich Bluhmel and Heinrich Stölzel patented the box valve. Following in the footsteps of Bluhmel and Stölzel, Joseph Riedlin created the rotary valve in 1832, now popular only in Eastern Europe.

Nowadays, we use many different styles of trumpets in various forms but the most recent major contribution goes to Renold Schilke, who invented and developed the tuning-bell trumpet beginning in 1929 and finally deciding on a final product in 1965.

Many notable and talented trumpeters from over the decades have been musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis, Lee Maryan, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie.

Though many of these names and creations are from the past, ArtistWorks’ hope is that through our video exchange archives, we can use the past to influence the future of trumpeting, and music as a whole. We are working our hardest to revive the trumpet and keep the art of music flourishing, but we can’t do this alone.

ArtistWorks offers expert trumpet instruction online, with personal feedback. Study from David Bilger in the ArtistWorks Trumpet School.

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