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The trombone

The Trombone

a trombone (tenor)

The trombone is a musical instrument, wind and mouth of the brass family clear.

The term refers implicitly trombone trombone characterized by the use of a telescopic slide, but there are also models of piston trombone.

That is the tenor or bass trombone, his record is worse than that of a trumpet and more acute than the tuba or bass Saxhorn. Its elongated curved like an S (which justified the use of the French term to describe the utensil used to tie the papers), and especially its section of cylindrical tube which gives a brighter sound, set it apart from euphoniums Register or saxhorns comparable.

It is used in many genres of music classical to jazz , through the salsa , the ska , the funk or the military band, and is played in symphonies, orchestras in harmony , fanfares, big bands, etc..

A trombonist is known trombonist and trombone.


The ancient origins of the trombone are probably in the whelk, a sort of tuba played by the Romans, which was a variant form of "S" reminiscent of the current clip - the term of whelk was also there in the XIIIth century designate a military band trombonist whose flag was a snakehead.

Picture of a sackbut

It is probably in the XIIIth century we had the idea to add two tubes sliding one into the other to a bass trumpet: the wings were born. The instrument created was called the sackbut (sacquer "meaning pull out and" end "push the opposite direction). It was not radically different instrument of the trombone, but a slightly smaller.

It was not until the XVIIth century, the Italian name for trombone was progressively used to designate the instrument. The origin of the word just means tromba trumpet and one, a suffix that means big. Thus, literally, a trombone is a great trumpet.

Throughout its history, the trombone, because of its simple principle, has undergone few changes, mostly in size and shape. Most notable are the appearance of the clip piston in the early XIXth century where the slide is replaced by the Pistons developed in 1814 by Heinrich Stölzel, and the trombone complete by the addition of the barrel, patented in 1839 by factor Sattler German Christian Friedrich.


The trombone consists of a cylindrical tube bent like an elongated S. The next section is called the mouth behind the scenes, it allows the musician to vary the length of the instrument and thus to obtain the desired note. When pushing the slide trombone, he expanded the instrument and the sound is more serious, and when he pulls, it narrows the instrument and the sound is more acute. Some clips have the pistons in place of the wings, and are therefore called clips piston. This flared by which sound is emitted is called the flag.

Principle Game

Sound Emission

Like all like instruments, the sound is produced by the vibrating of the upper and lower lips, maintained by the air blown by the player. This pressure is channeled through the mouth into the body of the instrument. The air pressure creates a standing wave whose frequency is imposed by the instrument. The sound quality will depend on the quality of the vibration of the air column (and therefore the player and the mouth), and the quality of the instrument body (material, thickness, diameter of the tube , shape of the tube ...)

Articulation of its

The sound can be broken thanks to the language producing different consonants within the mouth. The most common joints are removed, the language producing the consonant "t", and legato, with the consonant "l" to articulate legato. The trombonists also use double tonguing, pronouncing consonants successively "t" and "k" to play faster. Some musicians are also able to make tonguing triple, quadruple and even quintuple (a valved instrument, legato articulated will not be necessary). A lack of articulation between two notes located on the same harmonic give a glissando, an effect of style the trombone.

Sound modulation

Exercising and maintaining a voltage larger or smaller mask (formed by the muscles of the lips) and is to vary the pressure and air velocity can change the frequency of vibration of the lips and therefore air into the instrument. The musician can then play for a given length of the instrument, from the fundamental , the result of higher harmonics, the order of natural harmonic: octave , fifth, fourth, etc.. For example, a trombone in C, we obtain: C, C, G, C, E, G, B , C ... The number of harmonics can be played then depends on the physical capabilities of the musician.

This technique allows to play only the limited set of notes corresponding to the harmonics of the fundamental of the instrument. To play all the notes, a mechanism (slide, barrel or plunger) is then also used to alter the fundamental stretching the length of the instrument.

The slide

The length of the instrument is changed by a slide that can be lengthened or shortened. The slide is divided into several positions - up to seven for the tenor trombone. She is in 1st position when it is fully retracted, and in last position when it is at its maximum elongation. The positions are not marked or marked but assessed by the performer. Increasing the length of the slide position lowers the pitch of a note one semitone. Thus, we can lower the base note of no more than a newt (or 3 tones), for example, the tenor half to reach the starting of whether . Intermediate positions are also used with some harmonics, or to adjust certain notes.

The additional barrels

In combination with the slide, the trombones are often equipped with a device - called a nut, barrel, thumb keys, or range - allowing the player to lower the note (with a fourth on the tenor trombone full) by pressing a key inch. As with a piston, the length is then increased by deflecting air in a tube added. This mechanism can increase the velocity and range of the instrument without affecting the accuracy.

The pistons (piston trombone)

In the clip piston, the slide is replaced by three pistons, each of which can deflect the air column in a tube of different length. These pistons can be operated together, offering seven distinct combinations of length equivalent to seven additional positions of the slide. This mechanism allows dexterity difficult to obtain with a slide, but at the expense of accuracy, the intermediate positions is not feasible. The trombone piston is a transposing instrument, like the trumpet, it is often thought and acted as if .

Position slides Pistons activated Basic (in C)
1st no B
2nd 2 A
3rd 1 A or G #
4th 1+2 or 3 G
5th 2+3 G or F #
6th 1+3 F
7th 1+2+3 E
Correspondence between the positions of the slide and piston actuated

Types of trombones

The clips are available in five registers: soprano, alto, tenor, bass and double bass. Without details of its nature, the word means the trombone tenor trombone, but there is also a type of piston trombone.

Soprano trombone

The soprano trombone is the shortest (and therefore most acute) and its tone is closer to that of any other trumpet trombone, and it also treats the slide trumpet. There are scores for trombone soprano in pieces written for brass ensembles, but few works have used conventional. Its origin is also uncertain, it would perhaps not a classical instrument but a fairly modern appearance.

The alto

The alto is given in E or F, and it is smaller than the tenor. He, like the tenor trombone, 7 positions, however, its tone is brighter. It is mainly used in symphonic works (especially Beethoven ), but he had a moment of glory as a solo instrument. Some modern composers have also rediscovered and introduced in recent works.

The tenor

Diagram of a trombone (tenor)

The tenor trombone is the standard when it comes to registry unspecified trombone is the tenor in question. It is fundamental to its note B . No transposing its parts are written in C on the bass clef, tenor clef tenor clef 3 or 4 (rarely, there are scores in the treble clef transposed in such especially in bands and marching bands, American). His slider is divided into seven positions.

The whole tenor trombone

Full Tenor Trombone

It is a tenor which was added an additional tube (cylinder), allowing the player to lower the note a perfect fourth by pressing a key of an inch (nut) and thereby increase its speed and range the instrument. In contrast, without the tenor drum is then called Tenor Trombone simple. The positions of single tenor trombone and tenor trombone are complete identical if you do not press the nuts tenor trombone complete.

The bass trombone

Modern Bass Trombone

The bass trombone is designed in B and played in C (not transposer). Its parts are written in F key. It has approximately the same size as the tenor trombone: it has a larger caliber and largest flag, he usually has two key inch (or nuts), and his D generally (though sometimes ), which change the tone of the instrument and make it easier to play bass. The notes are played bass trombone in the same way as for the tenor (unless you use the barrels). There is usually a bass trombone player for brass band by big band and symphony orchestra , and they are also often present in modern brass ensembles.

Contrabass trombones

The bass trombone slide is the most rare and generally available in two models: one tuned an octave lower than the tenor (fundamental B ), one tuned an octave below the bass (basic F). There are several ways to increase the length of the tube, but the most common is to use a slide with double coil.

It is particularly used in the operas of Richard Wagner (The Ring of the Nibelung ...) where he is at the forefront of 4th trombone desk , with two tenors and one bass. Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss (including in Elektra), have also used.

Rarer still, the model bass piston comparable in range and its position in the console, called cimbasso Italy and composers such as Verdi have used in their operas.

Trombone piston

The trombone piston has a record comparable to that of the tenor trombone, but the track is replaced by three pistons. It has sometimes interchangeable snap of two tubes that can fix the fundamental is in B or in C. The joint is different, closer to that of the trumpet, and it allows dexterity difficult to obtain with a slide. It is generally regarded as difficult to play fair, and is less used nowadays, except in the German wind bands. Contrary to the tenor trombone slide, the trombone piston is a transposing instrument.

The trombone electric

The souzabone is a type of electric trombone invented in 1975.

(Source: - copyright authors - article under GFDL)

Creation date : 09/02/2009 16:27
Last update : 04/04/2009 16:39
Category : Files - Instruments-Brass
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