A musician has a range of trumpets to take his pick from. Often, trumpets get categorized as per the key they play. Also, they could be classified as per their style and size. Moreover, the different kinds of trumpets are divided based on the specific material(s) used to make the musical instrument.
General people view a trumpet only as a brass instrument commonly used in orchestras and bands. They usually do not realize the particular instrument is available in a range of styles and tones. Typically, a musician identifies a trumpet by the key it plays. B-flat is an extremely common trumpet, which invariably features in almost all rock, jazz, and other bands. Thanks to the trumpet’s popularity, affordability, and ease of play, students and beginners are often seen using these trumpets.
The C trumpet is another common trumpet. As the name indicates, it’s tuned to the C key. Typically, musicians use the trumpet within an orchestral environment. Compared to a B-flat trumpet, this trumpet is a bit shorter in size, with both the fingerings and pitch marginally different.
Compared to B and C-flat trumpets, the D trumpet isn’t quite widespread, but could still be traced in some orchestras. Quite popular during the 1800s, this specific trumpet is ideal for baroque-style orchestra. Due to this specialized nature of this horn, the trumpet isn’t usually recommended to casual or beginning trumpet players.
Other less popular kinds of trumpets classified by keys comprise E, E-flat, A, G, and F trumpets. Though these trumpet types are still actively produced, they are not easily available and could be quite expensive. Still, certain trumpet players choose these less popular instruments for solo performances or specialized music types.
Different trumpet varieties not labeled as per key are a pocket, piccolo, bass, and slide trumpet. The piccolo is the smallest trumpet of the bunch with a higher pitch, usually a complete octave over other bigger horns. On the contrary, a pocket trumpet appears small but is a condensed variant of B-flat horns, making a full-bodied sound like the B-flat trumpet. Thanks to its easy-to-carry design and compact size, a pocket trumpet is commonly used in marching bands.
A slide trumpet has a trombone-style, sliding bar in place of finger keys. The trumpet is not quite common but can still be found in some orchestras. Slimmer, longer bass instruments usually come with a lower octave than their cousins and have a trombone-like pitch. However, some musicians could find these trumpets’ tone to be brasher compared to a trombone. Beside style and key, trumpet players also often recognize trumpets according to the material used to make them.