TRUMPET TALES: The monthly meeting of Warkworth and District Probus Club was held at the Sun Hotel, Warkworth. After lunch an interesting talk on the origins and development of the orchestral trumpet was given by member Richard Stamp.
From time immemorial, man has used natural items such as conch shells to amplify the vibrations of the air blown through pursed lips.
Over the years, this method of sound transmission has been used, improved upon and turned into music.
This was the origin of the trumpet and all non-reed brass instruments of the present day orchestra.
Other variations on the same principles included, among others, the Alpen horn, with its sound being heard over vast distances in the mountains.
However, the limitations of the original conch shell had to be overcome.
The average user of the shell could only produce five notes by pursing the lips, but it was found that they could be pitched higher or lower by blowing through different lengths of tube.
This was probably when the cupped mouthpiece was introduced, making the instrument more easy on the lips.
There is an optimum length of approximately 5ft 6ins of tube in order to get the correct vibration, and this is belled out at the further end.
This is the length of the ‘state’ trumpet, but for orchestras this has been curved twice to make three lengths with interchangeable lengths of tube where it curves.
The first music written especially for the trumpet was in 1607 by Monteverde.
Richard illustrated his talk with slides and instruments, and finished with playing two short trumpet items.
The next meeting is on March 17.