Instruments | Trumpet & Horn | Late Baroque | Classical
The context in which the trumpet was played – solo and in trumpet ensembles – did not alter greatly in the Renaissance. Meanwhile, its compass expanded upwards. Then in the Baroque period, the bell throat became progressively narrower and, like the horn, it was provided by makers with purpose-built extra lengths of tubing. These could be fitted to extend the length of the instrument pipework and thus allow it to play notes appropriate to the key of the music.
During the seventeenth century, the trumpet began to be included in mixed ensembles. Previously part of a musically illiterate tradition, trumpeters now learnt to read music and match their sound to the indoor company of string and woodwind players. Whereas before they had placed a premium on loudness, now they found themselves praised for playing quietly. Many of the orchestral trumpeters of this period ‘doubled’ on French horn. Horns (which may have been developed in seventeenth-century France, although this is not certain) can be heard in Handel’s Water Music (1717) and it is likely that J. S. Bach’s cantatas include a horn part.
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