Here is something you don’t see in person that often, a bass trumpet. I just commissioned the build of this horn from Dr. Bill Jones who has built trumpets for the Chicago Symphony. The rotary valves are originally from a place called Moravia in the 1800’s and the bell is German with the rest of the pipes custom made for me with added triggers for tuning. Here’s a clip of me playing it:

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  • What's the range of this beauty? Sounds like a mellower version of the trumpet with a lower register... would love to compose for it sometime. (Har har, like I have the time to do anything these days...)

  • Hello HS! The range is an 8va lower than a regular Bb trumpet or the same range as trombone or euphonium. I’m not sure if you are familiar with rotary valve trumpets but they are both more mellow and louder than a regular piston trumpet. So in short, you have more timbres or colors with these horns. It’s almost like having 2 instruments in 1. So this bass trumpet sounds just like a regular rotary trumpet but an 8va lower. Let me know if you have anymore questions. 

  • I like more mellow, but does a trumpet need to get any louder? ;-)

    OK, just kidding. Maybe I should write a concerto for this beautiful bass trumpet. :-P  (But that's after I get through my huge backlog of unfinished concertos and fugues, so don't hold your breath. :-P)

  • If you like mellow, you need to write for euphonium. From mellow to brightest or brassiest in this range is: euphonium, Rotary Kaiser Baritone, English/ French Baritone, German Tenor Horn, Trombone, and Bass Trumpet.  

  • Trombone is mellower than bass trumpet, really?  OK, I guess I am really ignorant of brass timbres. :-/ Or maybe I'm confusing trombone with muted F horn. (I really like that buzzing muted horn sound, esp. at ff.)

  • In the regular dynamics of mp-f yes. When you get to FF both can be bright but the bass trumpet sounds like a low direct trumpet. If people’s concept of trombones is only Zimmer Braaaammmmssss then yes the sound concept is lacking but nothing some beautiful hymn like works in the classics repertoire couldn’t fix. 

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