Natural Trumpets - !st thread for new 'Technical Forum'

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ComeBackKid, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    The issue has been raised again regarding the prospects for a 'Technical Forum' on this site (see 'The Trumpets are Closed?'). Some have suggested that our membership is not mature enough to handle such delicate subjects and we need to stick to such matters as where to find a good repair shop or how long to blow a steady tone during practice (Oh wait! - we can't agree on that either!)

    Well, this is a test to see if we can address a technical issue and still remain friends...We are...friends....aren't we?......(Oh boy! This is going nowhere fast).

    But, here goes. On the sticky thread titled 'How Does a Trumpet Work?' (which is a sort of mini-technical forum, I guess), Nick has a series of videos in which he discusses the issue of standing waves, fundamentals, harmonics, etc. as they relate to how a trumpet produces notes. In the second of those videos, he demonstrates a PVC 'natrual trumpet' and then compares its function to that of a real natural trumpet. As I watched that video, I was struck by how much the PVC 'trumpet' resembled a trombone. It seems to me that the PVC pipe was completely cylindrical except for the 3 1/2 inches of taper in the mouthpiece and the 4-5 inches of the funnel "bell". As I understand it, a trombone is pretty much the same - cylindrical except for the mouthpiece and bell. The natural trumpet that Nick played had much more conical bore to it which I understood was the main reason that the real thing was much more musical than the PVC version.

    My question is, if the conical bore of the natural trumpet is the key to its musical nature, how does the trombone achieve that? On the other hand, if the PVC pipe could make a recognizable version of a natural trumpet, is is possible to use a mouthpiece adaptor and put a trumpet mouthpiece in a trombone and turn it into a natural trumpet?

    Has anyone tried this or even thought about it?

    I hope this topic is sufficiently lacking in controversial content that it does not set off a firestorm on day one of this experiment in rational thought and dialogue. Come on guys - we can do this!
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
  2. Cornet1

    Cornet1 Pianissimo User

    May 22, 2005
    Essex, England
    I don't think you are quite correct about these instruments. Through the brass band world I met and had frequent access to members of HM Band of The Lifeguards who are charged with supplying 'The State Trumpeters' for royal and state occaisions in London. I have played the natural trumpets that they use and which are the same pattern as the originals from 1685. I would not describe it as a "conical instrument" to be honest. It consists of four straight tubes of the same bore (approx 1/2 inch). Only the bell section is tapered/coned, and this is considerably less than a quarter of the total tubing. Conversely, the trombones in our band are much more conical with a steady progression of bore increase throughout most of the tube length, so not the same sort of animal at all. The trombones that we use are considerably different to the those of my youth which were known as 'peashooter' by brass band people, and were a bit more straight bored, but not like a natural trumpet.
  3. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    Trumpets and trombones have approximately the same proportion of conical vs. cylindrical tubing. On trombones starting from just beyond where the bell section connects to the slide connection all the way to the bell, the tubing is conical.

    In the slide section, although we can't see it from the outside, there is a tube called a venturi inserted in the upper slide tube where the mouthpiece goes, which serves the same function as the mouthpiece receiver on the trumpet, tapering to very small just beyond the end of the mouthpiece and then flaring outward to the full bore of the inner slide tubes about 4" or 5" beyond the narrowest point. So the inner bore of the slide section doesn't become cylindrical until about 6" in from the end. And some trombones have been built where the lower inner slide tube (the one which connects directly to the bell section) is a larger bore (Olds Ambassador trombones were built like this) than the upper inner slide tube, so the outer slide assembly can't be reversed on them (which is a pain for repair technicians since on most trombones we can reverse the slide to help diagnose a problem) so on those trombones the crook at the bottom of the slide section is conical before becoming cylindrical again through the lower slide tube).

    Trumpets and trombones (and true baritone horns) are mostly cylindrical with some conical tubing. Cornets and euphoniums and french horns and flugelhorns and tubas all have greater amounts of conical tubing, which accounts for their mellower tones.
  4. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Double post. see below.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
  5. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Whether or not our userbase is 'mature' enough to handle the technical forum, I still don't think we need one. There isn't enough content to fill a dedicated forum. (by that I mean there aren't enough topics that come up, not that there isn't years of material to talk about)
  6. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Just an interjection at this point:

    My PVC trumpet is strictly a crude model for demo purposes to show how the introduction of a tiny bit of taper in the mouthpiece and funnel dramatically change the acoustics of the horn. A real trumpet, including a natural trumpet is a combination of a couple of different cylindrical and tapered sections. The bells are even really cones, but cantenaries and Bessel curves, these days.

    While the slide section of a trombone has to be cylindrical, the mouthpiece and bell sections are tapered, obviously.

    OK, back to warming up on flugel. ;-)



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