<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
The trombone is an orchestral brass aerophone with a tenor or bass range.


The trombone is a medium-size cylindrical brass aerophone with a fairly low range . It is a mainstay of the brass section of orchestras, marching bands, and jazz bands. The feature that sets the trombone apart from other common Western instruments is its slide.

A bass trombone

This bass trombone has valves and extra tubing to help it get the lowest notes, as well as the moveable slide (out in front of the bell) common to all trombones.

The instrument

Like other orchestral brass , the trombone has a mouthpiece , a main body of tubing, and a bell. The basically cylindrical shape of the trombone's tubing (as opposed to the more conical baritones and tubas) gives the trombone a clear, direct, brassy sound that is very popular in jazz and band music.

The instrument changes pitch using a moveable section of tubing called the slide . As the slide moves out, the instrument gets longer, and the sound gets lower. You might be tempted to think this means that there is one note available for any possible position of the trombone's slide, but this is not the case. Most possible placements of a trombone slide give pitches that sound wrong or out of tune, because they fall in between the notes of the chromatic scale . These in-between notes are only used when the trombone plays a glissando , sliding between the notes on purpose. There are seven slide positions that do give scale notes. Having the slide all the way in is position 1; having the slide all the way out is position 7. The other positions are spread out in between, with several inches between one position and the next.

But of course, the trombone can get more than seven notes. Like the brass instruments that only have a few valves (trumpet and horn, for example), the trombone can use changes in the player's embouchure to get many different notes from a different harmonic series at each position.

The trombone can play many different notes in each slide position; the figure shows only the lowest six notes possible for first and seventh positions. Each position gives the player a different harmonic series of possible notes to play.

Seven positions, each a half step apart, will cover a tritone (about half an octave). This is plenty everywhere in the trombone's range, except at the very bottom, in between the fundamental and the second harmonic, which are a whole octave apart. So some trombones - especially bass trombones - have an extra length of tubing opened by a valve (called the plug or trigger ) that allows them to play the rest of that lowest octave. (If you want or need to understand this paragraph, and don't, please see Harmonic Series .)

Before valved brass were common, trombones were widely available in a variety of sizes (see below ), but most of these are now rare. The soprano trombone, for example, plays in the same range as the modern trumpet , which has replaced it in most ensembles. Also rare are the sopranino trombone, which is even smaller and higher than the soprano, and the piccolo , the highest of all. The instrument that is now commonly called "the trombone" is the tenor trombone , which sounds one octave lower than the soprano/trumpet range . The trombone section of most orchestras and bands will also have at least one bass trombone , which has a deeper sound, a slightly lower range than the tenor, and a fuller, more focussed sound on low notes. The alto , which is smaller and higher than the tenor, but not as high as the soprano, and the contrabass , which sounds even lower than bass, are now rarely played.

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, A parent's guide to band. OpenStax CNX. Jun 25, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10428/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'A parent's guide to band' conversation and receive update notifications?