Keyed trumpet

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Keyed trumpet
A keyed trumpet at the Reid Concert Hall Museum of Instruments in Edinburgh
Brass instrument
Other namestrompette à clefs (fr); Klappentrompete (de); tromba a chiavi (it)
Classification brass
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 423.211
(regular bore keyed chromatic trumpets)
Inventor(s) Anton Weidinger
Related instruments

The keyed trumpet is a brass instrument that makes use of keyed openings in its bore rather than extensions of the length of the bore as the means of playing all the notes of the chromatic scale. The instrument's popularity reached its high-point around the turn of the nineteenth century; but it waned with the emergence of the valved trumpet in the early nineteenth century and it is rarely seen in modern performances. Prior to the invention of the keyed trumpet, the prominent trumpet of the time was the natural trumpet.


The keyed trumpet has holes in the wall of the tube that are closed by keys. The experimental E keyed trumpet was not confined to the natural notes, but was chromatic in all registers of the instrument. [1] Before this, the trumpet was commonly valveless and could only play a limited range of “harmonic” notes by altering lip pressure. These harmonic notes were clustered in the high registers, so previous trumpet concertos could only play melodies at very high pitches.

There is also some discrepancy over who created the E keyed trumpet, as it is claimed that “the Viennese court trumpeter, Anton Weidinger invented the keyed trumpet” [2] though elsewhere it is insisted that although “the invention of the keyed trumpet has been ascribed to the Viennese, Anton Weidinger, who is said to have constructed it in 1801... the instrument itself is older than that, as Haydn's concerto was written five years earlier.” [1]


Due to its physical characteristics (bore, bell, historical mouthpiece), the keyed trumpet is closer in tone to the natural trumpet than the valved trumpet. It was once said to have sounded like a "Demented Oboe... despite Haydn's efforts, the keyed trumpet had no real success- the explanation may be that the holes detracted from the brilliant tone of the instrument.” [1]


J. Haydn – trumpet concerto

In 1796 Joseph Haydn wrote his Trumpet Concerto for Anton Weidinger and it was performed on 22 March 1800 at the Imperial and Royal Court Theatre. The piece begins with the broken triads and fanfare motifs common to trumpet music of the time (perhaps as a jibe to the audience who had come to see this exciting new kind of trumpet), but follows with chromatic runs and diatonic melodies not possible on the valveless natural trumpet.

The highest note in the Haydn trumpet concerto is high concert D, or high E on a B trumpet, or a high B on E trumpet for which it was written.

J. N. Hummel – trumpet concerto

Like Haydn, Johann Nepomuk Hummel wrote his Trumpet Concerto for Anton Weidinger. It was written and performed in 1803 to mark his entrance into the Esterházy court orchestra in 1804, following Haydn. There are places, primarily in the second movement, where Weidinger is believed to have changed the music because of the execution of the instrument. It is unknown whether this was in agreement with Hummel.

See also

Related Research Articles

Brass instrument Class of musical instruments

A brass instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips. Brass instruments are also called labrosones or labrophones, from Latin and Greek elements meaning 'lip' and 'sound'.

Classical period (music) Genre of Western music (c.1730-1820)

The Classical period was an era of classical music between roughly 1730 and 1820.

Cornet Musical instrument

The cornet is a brass instrument similar to the trumpet but distinguished from it by its conical bore, more compact shape, and mellower tone quality. The most common cornet is a transposing instrument in B, though there is also a soprano cornet in E and cornets in A and C. All are unrelated to the Renaissance and early Baroque cornett.

French horn Type of brass instrument

The French horn is a brass instrument made of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. The double horn in F/B is the horn most often used by players in professional orchestras and bands. A musician who plays a horn is known as a horn player or hornist.

Pitch of brass instruments

The pitch of a brass instrument corresponds to the lowest playable resonance frequency of the open instrument. The combined resonances resemble a harmonic series. The fundamental frequency of the harmonic series can be varied by adjusting the length of the tubing using the instrument's valve, slide, key or crook system, while the player's embouchure, lip tension and air flow serve to select a specific harmonic from the available series for playing. The fundamental is actually missing from the resonances and is impractical to play on some brass instruments, but the overtones account for most pitches.

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The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. As with all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player's vibrating lips (embouchure) cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate. Unlike most other brass instruments, which have valves that, when pressed, alter the pitch of the instrument, trombones instead have a telescoping slide mechanism that varies the length of the instrument to change the pitch. However, many modern trombone models also have a valve attachment which lowers the pitch of the instrument. Variants such as the valve trombone and superbone have three valves similar to those on the trumpet.

Trumpet Musical instrument

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Natural horn Unvalved ancestor of modern-day horn

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Anton Weidinger was an Austrian trumpet virtuoso in the classical era, and a "k. k. Hof- und Theater-Trompeter". He was friends with Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Hummel.

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Marching brass

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Heinrich David Stölzel was a German horn player who developed some of the first valves for brass instruments. He developed the first valve for a brass musical instrument, the Stölzel valve, in 1818, and went on to develop various other designs, some jointly with other inventor musicians.

Joseph Haydn's composed the Concerto per il Clarino in 1796 for his long-time friend, the trumpet virtuoso Anton Weidinger. Joseph Haydn was 64 years of age. A favourite of the trumpet repertoire, it has been cited as "possibly Haydn's most popular concerto".

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Johann Nepomuk Hummel wrote his Concerto a Trombe Principale for Viennese trumpet virtuoso and inventor of the keyed trumpet, Anton Weidinger. It was written in December 1803 and performed on New Year's Day 1804 to mark Hummel's entrance into the court orchestra of Nikolaus II, Prince Esterházy as Haydn's successor. There are places, primarily in the second movement, where Weidinger is believed to have changed the music because of the execution of the instrument. It is unknown whether this was in agreement with Hummel.


The saxotromba is a valved brass instrument invented by the Belgian instrument-maker Adolphe Sax around 1844. It was designed for the mounted bands of the French military, probably as a substitute for the French horn. The saxotrombas comprised a family of half-tube instruments of different pitches. By about 1867 the saxotromba was no longer being used by the French military, but specimens of various sizes continued to be manufactured until the early decades of the twentieth century, during which time the instrument made sporadic appearances in the opera house, both in the pit and on stage. The instrument is often confused with the closely related saxhorn.

Horn (instrument) Family of wind instruments made of a tube

A horn is any of a family of musical instruments made of a tube, usually made of metal and often curved in various ways, with one narrow end into which the musician blows, and a wide end from which sound emerges. In horns, unlike some other brass instruments such as the trumpet, the bore gradually increases in width through most of its length—that is to say, it is conical rather than cylindrical. In jazz and popular-music contexts, the word may be used loosely to refer to any wind instrument, and a section of brass or woodwind instruments, or a mixture of the two, is called a horn section in these contexts.

German horn

The German horn is a brass instrument made of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell, and in bands and orchestras is the most widely used of three types of horn, the other two being the French horn and the Vienna horn. Its use among professional players has become so universal that it is only in France and Vienna that any other kind of horn is used today. A musician who plays the German horn is called a horn player. The word "German" is used only to distinguish this instrument from the now-rare French and Viennese instruments. Although the expression "French horn" is still used colloquially in English for any orchestral horn, since the 1930s professional musicians and scholars have generally avoided this term in favour of just "horn". Vienna horns today are played only in Vienna, and are made only by Austrian firms. German horns, by contrast, are not all made by German manufacturers, nor are all French-style instruments made in France.


  1. 1 2 3 Geiringer, K and Geiringer, I (1982) Haydn: A Creative Life in Music, p. 324-325
  2. Warburton, A (1867) Analyses of Musical Classics: Book 2. London, Spottiswoode, Ballantyre and Co Ltd