Brass instruments have been around for thousands of years used in historical military campaigns and religious ceremonies. These instruments have had a huge effect on the development of music around the world. Listed below are things that you should know about this brassy family of instruments!
- Brass is a metal that is yellow in color and is made of copper and zinc. Brass is used for these instruments because it is stronger and harder then copper, but not as strong as steel, so it is easy to form into different shapes.
- There are instruments made of brass that do not belong to the brass family, like the saxophone.
- Brass instruments have a mouthpiece that the player blows into. Their lips vibrate with the air and that is what creates the sound or pitch. To change the pitch, the player either presses on valves or uses the slide, as in the case of the trombone.
- Trumpets date back to around 1500 BC. These trumpets were used for military and religious purposes.
- The trombone was introduced to the world in the famous 5th Symphony, by Ludwig van Beethoven.
- In marching bands, many tuba players play a different type of tuba called the sousaphone because it is easier to carry.
- Brass instruments can be heard in all different styles of music all around the world. You can hear these instruments in traditional symphonies, marching bands, jazz bands, and folk music of all different countries.
- If you stretched the tubing of a trumpet, it would reach about six and a half feet!
- Valves were added to trumpets in the 19th century in order to make them easier to play.
- If you stretched the tubing of a trombone, it would reach about nine feet!
- Both the trumpet and trombone use something called a mute that is stuck into the bell of the instrument. It mutes or softens the sound of the instrument. A great example of this is the sound used for the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher in the Peanuts cartoons.
- French horns were originally used for hunting calls and are made of twelve feet of tubing!
- Early jazz bands used the tuba instead of the stringed bass as their bass instruments to avoid exposing the stringed bass to bad weather while playing outside. Rain would ruin the wood of a stringed bass.
- In the 1820’s, the first tubas were made, but were not very well made and were difficult to play. When the modern tuba was made, it rapidly replaced the original and made bandleaders very happy!
If you would like to learn to play a brass instrument, look on the OSMD website to find out more information about lessons! We would love to have you at our studio!