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Musical Instrument Trombone And Its Mechanism

Trombone- Source Wikipedia

Different Names of Trombone and its brief history

Known by different names: German- Posaune, French- trombone is played by vibrating the lips against a cup-shaped mouthpiece. The instrument has an extendable slide that can extend the length of its tubing. Consequently, the slide serves as the valves on other brass instruments. Some trombone contains valves since the 19th century although the use of its function has never been that vast.

The trombone is a trumpet-based instrument primarily built in the 15th century. Till 1700 people knew it by the name Sackbut.  It shapes like a cylindrical bore that flares into a bell. It looks very similar to a trumpet.  However, it has a bigger mouthpiece with a parabolic cross-section, just like a cornet.

Structure of Trombone:

The slide of the instrument is made up of a couple of moveable outer tubes and two parallel, fixed inner tubes with comparatively thicker lower ends. The player’s righthand telescopes in and out the inner and outer tubes using a cross stay. The bell joint, which makes up the other half of the trombone, stays beyond the left shoulder of the player to balance the weight of the slide. Commonly, a tuning slide is embodied within its bent.

Different Variants of Trombone

The most popular variant of the instrument sounds an octave lower than the B trumpet. It has a B as the basic note, tenor trombone. But most notes written for this trombone are in concert pitch, meaning a C performed on the trombone is as same as a C played on piano.

The notes of the harmonic series of the B below the bass staff are available with the slide drawn in (first position) as follows: B♭ below the bass staff are available: B♭1–B♭–f–b♭–d′–f′–a♭′ (approximately)–b♭′–c″–d″, etc.

 The harmonic series of A, which is a semitone lower, is played by moving the slide a few inches to the second position. The instrument’s key is gradually lowered to E (seventh position) using further slide extensions. Hence, the chromatic (12-note) scale is accessible just below the bass staff. It determines the highest note of the range with the skill of the instrument player.

B-F trombones are generally used on many orchestral instruments. These have an F attachment, comprising a coil of additional tubing inserted into the bell’s loop. The attachment is joined by a rotary valve played by the left thumb of the instrument player. It lowers the instrument’s pitch by a fourth.

Then, the scale may be extended down to C. The additional bass notes serve as basics or “pedals.” The bores of a Trombone vary; the previous one was just slightly wider than a trumpet. It was mostly substituted by larger bores with bells that may reach 9.5 inches (24 cm) in diameter. The largest bores mainly help bass trombone playing. Many jazz and dance orchestras use bass trombones. However, the B tenor trombone can be seen largely as the popular instrument in the dance music of the mid-20th century.

Trombone Modern

Difference Between 16th and 20th Century Trombone

The 16th-century trombones are different from those 20th-century ones: mainly in small yet distinct bells and handcrafted features. Made in alto, tenor, and bass sizes and frequently featured in polyphonic music; the cornett, a wooden, lip-vibrating instrument with finger holes, provided the treble part. written in the vintage alto, tenor, and bass vocal clefs. Tenor trombones in brass bands are written in the treble clef to provide an octave-lower sound.

Trombone different parts- Source Yamaha

Instrument Mechanics

Eleven different parts combined to make up a trombone, and here they are-

1. A tuning slide to adjust the instrument’s pitch

2. Counterweight – aiding in keeping the instrument tuned in while being played

3. A brace or strut is a metal bar that horizontally spans the tubing and keeps it in place

4. Mouthpiece – directing air and vibration from the player’s lips into the trombone’s body.

5. Mouth Receiver- connects trombone with the mouthpiece

6. Valve Slide – Enables the trombonist to change the length the tubing length to create different tones. 

7. Valve Pistons– Internal metal cylinders that move up and down within castings to alter the internal length of tubing.

8. Valve Castings – Metal tubes that bolster the moving valve pistons.

9. Water Key – This feature enables the trombonist to swiftly dry out the trombone’s interior.

10. Bell – The point at which the instrument creates sound.

Famous Trombone Players

The careers of many trombone instrumentalists have led them to stardom. A trombone’s various and distinctive sound you can use in almost all musical styles, opening up several opportunities. Among the most well-known artists working now are (source-

J. J. Johnson

Glenn Miller

Curtis Fuller

Steve Turre

Bennie Green

Annie Whitehead

Carol Jarvis

Melba Liston

Natalie Cressman

Techniques for Playing the Trombone

As a player, you can play a trombone with a variety of approaches. It adds distinctive appeal to your piece. Check out the following techniques for playing the trombone.

Air Noise – Blowing into the trombone’s mouthpiece without creating any lib vibrations that might cause the instrument’s bell to whine. You can move the scale to adjust this whistle further.

Flap Tongue – Includes a percussion element to the sound by flapping the front or back of the player’s tongue against the mouthpiece while playing.

Microtones – The trombone makes it easier to play different notes. These are smaller than a semitone, providing the player with a chance to add some melodic nuance.

Removing Parts – A trombone player can shit the volume of their music. Even he can adjust the pitch by removing some of the instrument’s tubes.


 When you are using an instrument, you must be aware of its maintenance like cleaning its mouthpiece, and valves, to keep it sound always. Yamaha on its website has shared some valuable tips that you can follow to maintain the sound of your trombone.

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