Jarodney Roberts

MUS 2150

Dr. Armstrong


Historians put a date of 1450 on the earliest of the sackbutts , though the earliest surviving examples today are from the 1500s. The trombone is a 15th-century development of the trumpet and, until approximately 1700, was known as the sackbut. Like a trumpet, it has a cylindrical bore flared to a bell. Its mouthpiece is larger, however, suited to its deeper musical register, and is parabolic in cross section, like a cornet. The slide is composed of two parallel and stationary inner tubes, thickened at their lower ends, and two movable outer tubes. The two sets of tubes are telescoped in and out by a cross stay manipulated by the playera€™s right hand. The other half of the trombone, the bell joint, passes over the playera€™s left shoulder, counterbalancing the weight of the slide. Its bend usually incorporates a tuning slide. Trombones of the 16th century differ from 20th-century models in little but narrow bells and details of craftsmanship. They were extensively used in polyphonic (many-voiced) music and were built in alto, tenor, and bass sizes, the treble part being supplied by the cornetta€"a wooden, lip-vibrated instrument with finger holes. The old arrangement survives in the trombone trio of classical orchestration, the parts being written in the old alto, tenor, and bass vocal clefs. In brass bands the tenor trombone is written in the treble clef to sound an octave lower. They were well known in sacred music and entered the orchestra in the 1700s. By that time, the sackbutt had been expanded into a family that included contrabass, bass, alto and tenor members. The instrument was thought of as one that was particularly flexible from an emotional standpoint: able to deliver both bombast and pathos. When exactly the name trombone became more in fashion to replace sackbutt is not known. But the word "trombone" means "large trumpet" in Italian and German. In fact, the trombone had such power that it was frequently called on by the composer for passages where pure volume was needed. It was also the occasional butt of jokes that depicted the trombonist as always playing too loud, including a famous quip by composer Richard Strauss, who claimed to never look at the trombone section as it "only encourages them. ". Trombones have long been used for more than just orchestras and bands. They are a staple of jazz ensembles and have even been used by funk and pop groups since the 1960s. It remains a favorite instrument of composers because of its expressive range and strong, vibrant character.
Many orchestral instruments are Ba™­a€"F trombones. These have an F attachment consisting of a coil of extra tubing placed in the loop of the bell. A rotary valve actuated by the playera€™s left thumb connects this attachment to the main tube, thus lowering the pitch of the instrument by a fourth. The scale can then be extended down to C, the additional low notes being known as fundamentals, or a€œpedals.a €  Trombones vary in bore. The older bore, no wider than that of a trumpet, was largely superseded by medium and large bores with wider bells, reaching 9.5 inches (24 cm) in diameter. The widest bores are made for playing bass trombone parts. The mid-20th-century vogue of the trombone as a virtuoso instrument in dance music is mainly associated with a Ba ™­ tenor instrument of medium-large bore, but most larger dance and jazz orchestras include a bass trombone in the section. The trombonea€™s shape and method of play make it one of the most distinctive wind instruments in a band or orchestra. Unlike the modern trumpet or French horn, which have valves that produce different notes, the trombone has a long U-shaped slide that the player moves to produce a wide range of pitches. The trombone evolved from the trumpet in the early 15th century and has changed little since then. As with other brass instruments, the trombonea€™s sound is produced by a vibrating column of air through the mouthpiece into the instrumenta€™s coiled tubing.
The trombone's body is a long, cylindrical tube of about 9 feet in length, doubled over and fitted with braces to hold it