The flugelhorn is a unique brass instrument of German descent. Developed in the early 19th century some historians believe it is a member of the saxhorn family and was developed by Adolphe Sax while others believe it derives from the valve bugle and was designed by Michael Saurle. One of the earliest known jazz musicians to play the flugelhorn was Joe Bishop who was a member of the Woody Herman band in 1936. Several albums were also recorded with the instrument by Clark Terry in the 50s and 60s. Today many jazz and brass bands around the world employ flugelhorn players. Some popular flugelhorn players include Mike Metheny Guido Basso and Lee Loughnane of the legendary rock group Chicago.
The flugelhorn has many similarities to the trumpet and cornet (all three instruments are pitched to Bb) - in fact many trumpet and cornet players can pick up the flugelhorn quickly. Two noticeable differences between the flugelhorn and the trumpet is the flugelhorn's larger bell and slightly darker tone (its sound is sometimes described as being halfway between the trumpet and the French horn). The Flugelhorn's conical bore profile also gives it a free blowing nature and a mellow tone that's ideal for lyrical passages. Typically the flugelhorn has three piston valves and its finger system is akin to other brass instruments. With that being said flugelhorn models can be found with four piston valves and a rotary valve. Student intermediate and professional flugelhorns are very easy to come by on today's music market. Some popular brands include Yamaha, Kanstul, Getzen, and Bach