Mitchell Burton, Ken Jarrett
HUM 2510 AB
December 6, 2012
The brass family has a variety of instruments that have the ability to cover a wide range of sounds. Brass instruments have changed greatly since the beginning of time. Throughout history, the manufacturing of brass instruments has become more complex by using different materials, dimensions, and including valves. Compositions have been composed to show off the capabilities of brass instruments through concertos and solos. With that being said, famous musicians have created a reputation for their musical talents by playing instruments in the brass family. The sacbut and piccolo trumpet ...view middle of the document...
Instrument designers developed a system of connected double tubes which reduced the distance the slide needed to move between notes and therefore improved the musician’s performance technique. Improved slide design also allowed a practical tenor range instrument, which has become the most common instrument of the trombone family today.” (Wilken) The new innovations allowed instruments to play a wider range of pitches.
The 17th century marked new innovations in the brass family as well. Designers began to change the formation of instruments, “the pitch of the instrument was changed by inserting crooks for lower keys and tuning was accomplished by inserting small lengths of tubing to extend the mouthpiece. Music composed for these instruments was written in the upper register where the overtone series are closer together and capable of playing more scale-like passages.” (Wilken) This innovation allowed composers to create solo concertos that are still performed today. The brass family began to be featured in ensembles; however, other instruments were used in operas to act out hunting traditions.
The 18th century began to introduce brass instruments into musical compositions. The orchestra became larger due to the advancements, “Reinhard Keiser may have been the first composer to call for the horn with the orchestra in his 1705 opera Octavia. George Frederick Handel called for two horns on his 1717 composition Water Music. Franz Joseph Haydn composed his first Horn Concerto in 1762.” (Wilken) Eventually, the trombone became very popular to composers, “Composers also began writing solo works for the trombone during this time. Christoph Wagenseil, Johann Albrechtsberger, Michael Haydn, and Leopold Mozart all wrote solo pieces for alto trombone, the preferred solo trombone instrument of the time. With the sacred associations of the trombone from the previous century it was natural from composers to utilize trombones to help portray religious or supernatural effects in operas of the late 18th Century.” (Wilken) Musical compositions were influenced greatly throughout the 18th century because brass instruments created new unique sounds. Therefore, orchestral compositions became more complex.
The brass family was changed enormously during the 19th century. This century marked the creation of valves, “Although there is some controversy over exactly who developed valved brass instruments, it was around 1826 when a German valve trumpet was brought to Paris where it was copied and began to gain wide acceptance. The valve trombone was developed around 1828 and gained wide use in bands, but little use in orchestras. In 1835 the first tuba, a five-valved instrument pitched in F, was invented by Berlin instrument makers Wilhelm Wieprecht and Johann Gottfried Moritz. A tenor tuba was produced by Moritz in 1838 and the euphonium was invented by Sommer of Weimar in 1843.” (Wilken) The creation of valves intrigued composers, and they incorporated these...