CLASSIFICATION: Aerophone (lip-vibrated), Wind Instrument, Brass Instrument 

HISTORY: The moden version of the sackbut. It was used for vocal doubling in church music and in small ensembles. The trombone was not used in the orchestra until the 18th century. The first prominent symphonic use was in Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony #5. The modern family includes the Alto Trombone, Tenor Trombone, Bass Trombone, and Contrabass Trombone. It is also commonly referred to as the "slide trombone" or in some jazz slang as the sliphorn

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: A family of brass instruments with a cylindrical bore and a slide rather than valves. The slide allows the performer to lengthen or shorten the length of tubing in the instrument, thus allowing the harmonic series to be altered, making the instrument fully chromatic

SOUND PROPERTIES: Sound is produced (as in most brass instruments) by the vibration of the performers lips. As the performer moves the slide out, the length of the tubing is increased which lowers the pitch being sounded. Seven pitches are possible in each harmonic of the trombone that are reflected in the seven positions of the slide. 

RANGE: The trombone has a normal chromatic range of E below the bass clef to B-flat above middle C. Experienced performers are able to extend the upper range, often to the F above middle C (or higher). A mechanical trigger mechanism (typically in F) can extend the chromatic range to low C, and the bass trombone often has a second trigger mechanism to add the low B-natural which extends the chromatic range into the pedal register, down to a pedal F.


Basstrombone Bass Trombone (with F and G Triggers)
Photo courtesy of G. Leblanc Corporation

Trombone_trig Tenor Trombone (with F Trigger)
Photo courtesy of G. Leblanc Corporation

Trombone Tenor Trombone
Photo courtesy of G. Leblanc Corporation

Trombonerange Trombone Range

See Also

[German] Posaune
[Spanish] trombón
[Italian] trombone
[French] trombone


Last Updated: 2013-07-24 15:23:16