How does the physics of the trumpet work

Trumpet school: how does the sound come about?

Understanding how your instrument works and how it is set up is very helpful in learning to play the trombone. That is why in this post we will show you how exactly the sound of the trumpet is created.

The trombone sound body consists of a cylindrical tube with a conical bell. The trumpet, shown as a straight pipe, is 4.12 meters long. The air present in the pipe is called the column of air. A sound is created when this column of air starts to vibrate and stimulates the metal body (instrument) to vibrate. The vibrations run through the tube to the end of the bell. They are known as longitudinal waves. A considerable part of the waves is thrown back from the end of the bell. The waves traveling back and forth overlap and are called standing waves.

The fundamental vibration of a brass instrument depends on the length of the pipe. The speed of the oscillation determines the pitch. It is called the frequency. The number of oscillations within a second is given using the unit of measurement »Hz« (Hertz), named after the physicist Heinrich Hertz. 440 Hz therefore means 440 oscillations per second. The tone volume or the tone depth of an instrument depends on the inner diameter (scale length) of the tube. The geometric shape of the bell is decisive for the timbre (light, dark).


Keywords: wind instruments, learning to play the trombone