Why Bb?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetcharles, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. trumpetcharles

    trumpetcharles New Friend

    Jul 25, 2010
    I was having a discussion with my teacher the other day about why the trumpet is most commonly in Bb. Does anyone know why Bb has become standard? C seems like the logical key to me?
  2. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    It's because the earliest families of valved brass instruments were pitched in Bb and Eb, and were not intended to be orchestral instruments. Since the modern Bb trumpet decended from the 19th century Bb cornet, they are pitched in Bb too. Now, you may ask, "Why were the original valved brass instruments pitched in Bb and Eb?". That, I don't know...:lol:
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    The first orchestral instruments, far as I know, were pitched in low F. Made sense, with the horn bass and trombone being pitched in the same key. When Adolphe Sax invented his loathsome instrument he made two sets--one in F and C for the orchestra, and in Eb and Bb for wind bands. Bb, then, is a band key.
  4. misty.sj

    misty.sj Forte User

    Jan 27, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    Sometimes it's useful to get that lawn mower effect...
  5. TerryR

    TerryR Pianissimo User

    Jun 3, 2012
    Quakertown PA

    Now I know I'm not alone
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I believe it was just to piss off the viola players.
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    So what did Bill Trumpet first design his horn for? Huh Vulgano Brother... Yeah... What was Bill Trumpet's instrument first instrument design... Answer me that!

    Oh, my God, I believe I may be coming down with Kingtrumpet flue virus... Someone out there help me before it evolves into encephalitis, and I do something stupid like ask out a viola player.... Please help me!
  8. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    So I'm not the only one who hates hearing them scoop into every pitch?
  9. Conntribution

    Conntribution Fortissimo User

    Dec 25, 2010
    Lloyd Harbor NY.
    Well now, it happened in the 16th century. See, during the battle of Morat the French forces, under Louis VII played in A and the Swiss mercenaries played in C. The battle was hellish and there were many casualties, chiefly among them the musicians, who obstinately refused to play in the Victor's key. The slaughter continued for a whole day until wiser heads prevailed, generally agreeing to a compromise of Bb as a medium between A and C. And thus it remains to this day, despite periodic changes in orchestral pitch which occurred in the early 19th century and again, in the United States in 1918.
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I am cured... You're answer has healed my viral ridden body... for this... I am forever grateful.

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