Piccolo Trumpet

How does a trumpet player change from one note to another?

I am a piano player from way back. I have never understood how a trumpet player changes pitches, that is, how he or she goes from one note to another. For example, say the tune on the music sheet reads that you play a c, and then these notes in succession. d Bflat, e, a and f sharp. On a keyboard you have these keys to do this, but a trumpet obviously does not have such apparatus. How does the trumpeteer change notes? By the force of his wind as he blows thru the mouthpiece? Thank you for your help.

As with all brass instruments, sound is produced by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound into the mouthpiece and starting a standing wave vibration in the air column inside the trumpet. The player can select the pitch from a range of overtones or harmonics by changing the lip aperture and tension (known as the embouchure). Modern trumpets also have three piston valves, each of which increases the length of tubing when engaged, thereby lowering the pitch. The first valve lowers the instrument's pitch by a whole step (2 semitones), the second valve by a half step (1 semitone), and the third valve by one-and-a-half steps (3 semitones). When a fourth valve is present, as with some piccolo trumpets, it lowers the pitch a perfect fourth (5 semitones). Used singly and in combination these valves make the instrument fully chromatic, i.e., able to play all twelve pitches of Western music. The sound is projected outward via the bell.

The trumpet's harmonic series is closely matched to the musical scale, but there are some notes in the series which are a compromise and thus slightly off key; these are known as wolf tones. Some trumpets have a slide mechanism built in to compensate.

The mouthpiece has a circular rim which provides a comfortable environment for the lips' vibration. Directly behind the rim is the cup, which channels the air into a much smaller opening (the back bore or shank) which tapers out slightly to match the diameter of the trumpet's lead pipe. The dimensions of these parts of the mouthpiece affect the timbre or quality of sound, the ease of playability, and player comfort. Generally, the wider and deeper the cup, the darker the sound and timbre.

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