What is the Brass Family?

 Beginning Music Guide: The Brass Family

What is the brass family? What does the brass family have in common? The brass family is a group of wind instruments which includes trumpets, trombones, French horns, euphoniums, and tubas. Is the brass family right for you? Read on to find out. 

The brass family encompasses a wide variety of sound, from the bright brassy tones of a trumpet to the more mellow sound of the French horn. Brass instruments are played by making a buzzing sound with the mouth against the mouthpiece.


brass rehearsalTry listening to the different members of the brass family to find out which sound you like the best.


Most beginning band students are given the opportunity to play the trumpet or trombone moving to larger brass instruments, such as French horn, euphonium, and tuba, after playing for a few years. 



This guide will share a few fun facts and some information about each of the most common brass instruments to help you learn more. If you are a student or parent of a student choosing an instrument, this is the perfect guide to read to decide which brass instrument to choose. 


 The Trumpet 


1.) The trumpet has three valves, which are pressed with the fingers. The valves are called piston valves.


2.) The trumpet also uses slides to create sound.


3.) The flugelhorn and cornet are relatives of the trumpet.





The Trombone 


1.) The trombone has a hand slide, which is the long part extending beyond the trombone’s bell.

2.) Instead of valves, the trombone has slide positions which produce different notes.


French horn



The French Horn 


1.) The French horn has rotary valves, instead of piston valves. 

2.) There are both double and single French horns. You can tell the difference by noticing whether there is one or two sets of tubing on the horn. 





The Euphonium


1.) The euphonium is the second-largest of this series of brass instruments. 


2.) It uses piston valves, which are pressed up and down.

3.) The euphonium is sometimes called the baritone or baritone horn.



The Tuba


1.) The tuba is the largest of this series of instruments. 

2.) The tuba creates the base of the sound in a band due to its low tones.




Listen to the sounds of the different brass instruments to decide which one you should play. Each instrument has a unique sound and a unique place in the ensemble, or musical group, you play in. In next week’s post, we will talk about the woodwind family, the other main wind instrument family.



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