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The trumpet is a brass instrument that can be heard in orchestras and concert bands around the world, as well as popular music genres like rock and jazz. In fact, the trumpet has a history which stems all the way back to 1500 B.C. - although most early versions of the instrument were used for military and ceremonial purposes. The trumpet has a very higher register than any other brass instrument and many different types are available, the most common being the Bb trumpet (other keys include C, D, Eb, E, F and G).
Like all brass instruments, trumpets are played by blowing into a mouthpiece with closed lips. This creates a "buzzing" sound which is then controlled by pressing and releasing three valves to project various notes from the bell. The dimensions and size of the trumpet's mouthpiece will have the biggest impact on its resulting sound and playability. Other main parts of a trumpet are: the lead pipe (where the mouthpiece is inserted), main tuning slide (which raises and lowers the instrument's pitch), and the piston valves (used to change the length of the tubing).
Different types of metals will also influence the sound of a trumpet. Yellow brass is industry standard and delivers a cutting tone; gold brass is preferred for its full sound and excellent projection; and red brass delivers a mellow tone and is often used for the leadpipe on student models. Other common metals for trumpets are nickel silver (mainly for slides) and sterling silver (a favored metal for bells). Whether a player goes with a lacquered or silver-plated finish will come down to personal taste - many pros agree that silver-plated trumpets have a brighter sound compared to the darker tone of trumpets with lacquered finishes. Today's line of student, intermediate and professional trumpets is extensive - some respected manufacturers include Bundy, Verve, Yamaha, Allora, Bach, Getzen, Conn and Schilke.