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Brass Instruments

With enough brass instruments you can build a whole brass band; you just have to find enough people to play them all. From trumpets to tubas these instruments can be found almost anywhere music is played. You play brass instruments by putting your lips to the cup and blowing. This produces a vibrating column of air which the instrument amplifies to produce music. The valves adjust the length of the air passage, changing the tone of the notes.

Stretch That Trombone

The first thing you notice when you see someone playing a trombone is the way the slide comes flying out like it's going to hit someone. Trombones are the only member of the brass family not to use valves. They use the slide instead, which adjusts the pitch by adjusting the length of the air passage.

Try a Trumpet on for Size

Trumpets are some of the most popular brass instruments, with a bright high sound. Like the trombone, a trumpet has a cylindrical bore; the otherwise largely similar cornet has a conical bore like many other brass instruments. Trumpets are popular in both brass and jazz bands, and often serve as lead instruments because it's so easy to pick them out in a crowd.

Go for the Horns

It's a good thing that the French horn has all those curves in the tube; if it was unrolled and laid straight out it would be almost twenty feet long. That would be more than a little unwieldy to carry. Like many other brass instruments it offers the warmth of a conical bore, producing a big sound that's perfect for playing outdoors or in large venues. The length gives the French horn the widest range of any brass. Other horns are similar but shorter.

Time for the Tuba

The biggest and deepest of the horns is the tuba. With its wide bore and thirteen-foot main tube it's the perfect instrument to lay down the bass line in a brass band, or even an orchestra. It has the biggest mouthpiece of any brass, and there's a reason why tuba players so often have puffy cheeks and red faces. It takes a lot of air to create that signature sound.

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