As long as you exist on this planet, then probably you have come across the trumpet. This musical instrument has a very powerful legacy, not only in music but also in the ancient cultural events used for military and religious ceremonies. Trumpet players believe that the trumpet is the best musical instrument ever invented.

Before the invention of the trumpet, people would make sounds by blowing animal horns and conch shells. But thanks to the invention of the trumpet, cultural events, military, and religious events are now modernized.

Related: Types of pianos | Types of Guitars | Types of Violins | Types of Wind Instruments

Who Invented The Trumpet?

The first attempt to create a trumpet was by Charles Clagget in 1788, but this was just a valve mechanism. Heinrich Stoelzel invented the first practical trumpet in 1818. The first keyed trumpet was an invention of Anton Weidinger at the end of the 18th century.

Different Sizes of Trumpets

There are different types of trumpets categorized according to the key they play and their sizes. In the sizes, trumpets come in bore size and bell size. The majority come in a 4.5 inches bell though there are plenty of other sizes. The larger the bell, the more effective your playing will be projected.

Types of Trumpets

different types of trumpets

Here are some of the different types of trumpets that you can come across.

1. The Bb Trumpet

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The Bb trumpet is the most common trumpet you’ll come across. Both beginners and experienced trumpet players around the globe love this type of trumpet. Western genre is incomplete without a trumpet, ranging from orchestras, big bands, wind bands, and so on, always includes this musical instrument in their performance, thanks to its structure and keys.

Why is it called the Bb trumpet? It’s because when you play a C on the trumpet, it produces a Bb note in concert pitch. It’s also very reasonable for pricing, making it highly preferable to its brass counterparts. Another great way you can refer to this trumpet is to call it the ABC of trumpets because you don’t need to be great to play it. First, you have to start playing it; then, you’ll find yourself becoming a pro.

The Bugle Trumpet

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As earlier mentioned, trumpets were mainly used in military and religious events, such as the bugle. This trumpet has served its purpose in the military field since its invention. It was ideally created in the form of a brass instrument that doesn’t have a valve. Its valveless nature allows the player to control the strength of sound it produces.

The bugle became a military favorite, thanks to its simple and echoing nature. As a player, you can solely control the pitch together with your embouchure. The bugle trumpet is restricted to notes in the harmonic series. Despite being valveless initially, it’s now in the past because modern bugles come with valves, making them easy to play and change the note.

The C Trumpet

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The next pick in the list of trumpets after Bb trumpets is the C trumpet. Again, this is because of its similarity with the Bb trumpet. After its introduction in 1874 in Paris, this instrument became very popular among brass instruments. It became prevalent, especially in American orchestral plays, alongside the Bb trumpet, thanks to its brighter sound and high pitch.

When it comes to transportation, it’s a bit lighter and easy to carry around, although its extra tone makes it a bit hard while performing. Nonetheless, if you know how to operate one of the trumpets, learning these other details should be as simple as eating a piece of cake. Apart from the brighter sound and tonal quality, they’re also used by classical soloists instead of Bb trumpets when certain finger combinations cannot fit on a Bb trumpet.

The Cornet Trumpet

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This is another type of trumpet that looks much more than the trumpet itself. The interior chamber of the cornet is in a conical bore shape, making it stand out in the family of trumpets. In addition, it’s more compact with a mellower sound, making it different from the real trumpet.

You can find the most common cornet in Bb, although there is a soprano cornet in Eb and others in A and C. The cornet evolves from a valveless post horn, which is a circular brass instrument. After its evolution, the people of France added rotary valves to it in the 1820s. But later, in the 1830s, people started making it with pistol valves.

The first use of cornets was in the 19th century by the French songwriters. Then, song composers wrote trumpets and cornets separately, whereas trumpet parts were fanfare and flourish, while the cornet parts were more melodic. Nowadays, the trumpet and the cornet are sharing the same notes and fingerings.

The D/Eb Trumpet

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D/Eb trumpets are slightly smaller and brighter than C trumpets. Their sound is very different from the sound of the Bb trumpet. At the time of its introduction, it was the best choice for Baroque music. They produce similar sounds to the C trumpet, although they tend to be more piercing, making them different from other trumpets.

However, D/Eb trumpet is not good in a solo performance. Instead, it’s good in orchestral pieces. Its creation was based on its strength to produce sound. The D trumpet highlights pieces with its piercing sound and reaches notes that other instruments cannot reach. Some of the composers who wrote their masterpieces with specific parts of the D/Eb trumpet include Ravel and Stravinsky.

Other composers also wrote this trumpet mainly for its unique bright sound. In addition, you cannot find solos and whole pieces that are written for the D/Eb trumpet. Mostly, you’ll hear this trumpet throughout Hendel’s Messiah. Its similarity to the C trumpet produces a distinct sound, thanks to its buildup and tubing, which is slightly shorter. This musical instrument also comes with additional tubing and sometimes a fourth valve.

As a trumpet player, you have to add additional equipment to reach your desired Eb pitch. But, as much as it requires a lot of work, in the end, it makes the difference if you add that desired tone to a particular piece.

The Flugelhorn Trumpet

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Besides sharing so many similarities with the cornet, the flugelhorn is also a Bb instrument with a conical bore. It has a uniquely mellow and dark timbre, thanks to its wider bore and larger bells. Mostly, you can find flugelhorn in British brass bands and jazz bands. The use of flugelhorns is mainly to pass lyrical and melodic to their audiences, unlike their counterparts, which are largely used to pass fanfares and technical sounds to the audience.

Also, the main concern of flugelhorn should be on their tuning. Most of the flugelhorns have a spring-loaded third valve slide that helps them with low C notes. Furthermore, the flugelhorn has many valve options that work, like the added fourth valve on the tuba. These valve options allow a player with alternative fingerings to utilize as more tunes keep coming from the instrument.

As you step out to purchase your four-valve flugelhorn, ensure you test one out by yourself because the fourth valve adds additional weight to the flugelhorn. And an additional weight has an impact on your longer performances. So choose wisely to enhance your performance. For example, you can go for the third valve slide instead of an additional fourth piston if you have longer performance.

Another feature differentiating the flugelhorn instrument from a trumpet is that a flugelhorn has a funnel-shaped mouthpiece, unlike a trumpet with a rounded bottom mouthpiece. This feature enables air to flow more freely throughout the flugelhorn, making it more responsive than a trumpet. Typically, flugelhorn isn’t suitable for beginners. Therefore, it’s ideal for practicing on both instruments as you transition from back the forth.

The heightened responsiveness of the flugelhorn makes it challenging to switch back to trumpet. So, it’s recommended to start warming up on the trumpet before moving to the flugelhorn. After warming up on the trumpet, you can then practice long tones. Ensure you test different dynamics as you wrap warming up. Then, you can listen to any sound discrepancies indicating that you’re blowing it too hard.

When you notice you’re blowing the flugelhorn too hard, try to back off and find the greatest resonance point without sacrificing the tone.

The Natural Trumpet (Baroque trumpet)

natural trumpet

The natural trumpet doesn’t have a valve, meaning you cannot use fingerings to produce notes. Instead, you can produce the notes by manipulating a player’s mouth to enable you to create both higher and lower pitches. First, there is the embouchure, which is the shape and pressure of the mouth.

The natural trumpet was the original trumpet without a valve that was invented before any trumpet invention. The natural trumpet was very popular during the baroque period. It traced back as early as the 16th century and was a great boost to the military as they used it to communicate break camp and retreats.

The natural trumpet is unique in such a way that it’s capable of producing notes outside the typical C scale. Although the notes are sharp and off-key, they can still add flare to a song when you use them carefully. Also, you have to be more skilled to play the natural trumpet because every note is being played by ear. The living players of the natural trumpet are Don Smithers and Jean-Francois Medeuf.

The Piccolo Trumpet

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The piccolo is the smallest trumpet available. With its less tubing than other types of trumpet, it has a lot higher pitch than its more conventional counterparts. As a result, it’s very common in religious settings. Despite being crafted in the Bb key, the piccolo is also available in different keys.

Another feature that dissociates from its trumpet counterparts is that most of the piccolo trumpets have four valves instead of three. The fourth valve implements the lower pitch of this instrument. Other damning characteristics of the piccolo are that it’s pitched an octave higher than the Bb trumpet.

Many piccolo trumpets are designed to play either Bb or A while using separate lead pipes for every key. The Bb piccolo trumpet has half-length tubing of the standard Bb piccolo. You can also get piccolo trumpets in G, F, and high C, although they’re very rare. Do not confuse the piccolo trumpet with the pocket trumpet, as the pocket trumpet almost plays the same pitch as the regular Bb trumpet.

The Pocket Trumpet

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The pocket trumpet is one of the novelty trumpets available. It’s a purely cosmetic adaptation, meaning it’s mainly manufactured for convenience, unlike other trumpets that add various colors in terms of sound. It’s also a Bb instrument of the same length as the standard Bb trumpet, irrespective of its smaller appearance.

The pocket trumpet is ever helpful if you lack that large space to play other large trumpets. You can take it on vacation when you need that extra space, but only if you know how to play it. Unfortunately, the novelty of this instrument wears off quickly. The intonation and the valve quality of the pocket trumpet do not match their standard Bb friend.

The Slide Trumpet

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The slide trumpet uses a slide instead of valves, which evolved to sackbut and our modern-day trombone. The only difference separating a slide trumpet from the modern-day trombone is that a slide trumpet uses one slide joint, while a trombone or sackbut has a double slide joint. This results in the soprano trombone, which is another name for the slide trumpet.

The slide trumpet originated from Western and Central Europe. It was mainly a dance instrument, not a war instrument. As you can see, it was the first trumpet that never featured during the war. When it comes to playing, it’s not easy to play due to the closeness of the slide positions. Also, due to the lack of valves, you can change the notes by moving the slide and adjusting the player’s embouchure.


What are big trumpets called?

The tuba is the biggest and lowest brass trumpet. They anchor the harmony on the brass family and the whole orchestra with its deep rich sound. The size of this biggest trumpet family ranges from nine to eighteen feet.

What is the little trumpet called?

The piccolo is the smallest member of the trumpet family. They’re pitched in Bb and A, an octave higher than Bb.

What is the difference between B flat and C flat trumpets?

Both B flat and C flats are the common types of trumps. Their difference is that the Bb trumpet has a mellow and relaxed sound, while the C flat has a bright and penetrating sound. However, when it comes to size, C trumpets are smaller than Bb trumpets.

What is a high pitched trumpet called?

The piccolo is also the high-pitched trumpet available. Again, this is because it uses less tubing than other counterparts.

What is the most common trumpet?

The most common trumpet worldwide is the Bb trumpet.

What is a good trumpet for a beginner?

The best trumpet for a beginner is the Bb trumpet. This is because most beginner’s books are written with the Bb trumpet in mind. Also, high school bands and brass bands are incomplete without the Bb trumpet.


Trumpets are an exciting instrument. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or advanced player. You’ll always find a suitable trumpet for you. They’re unique and have a different method of playing. So get yourself a Bb trumpet and start your trumpeter journey as you explore various options which are much available.

Related: Types Of Saxophones | Types of Flutes

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I am an avid Mac-user, nerd, musician, freelancer, and gamer. Ask me about my collection of M:TG cards! I've also got a horrible habit of needing the absolute newest technological wonder, whether it's stable or not. If they made a home-version of the LHC, I'd have 2. Additionally, I've been playing music for the better part of 14 years. I'm self-taught on piano, guitar, trumpet, trombone, sax, clarinet, bass, drums and other percussion, and around 10 other instruments. I also spend quite a bit of time dabbling in synthesizers, sequencers, and samplers. I'm also founder of Quotelicious where I collect and share the quotes I love.


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