The crumhorn is a capped reed member of the woodwind family. During the Renaissance, it was at its peak and it was revived in modern times. It has an unusual bent shape because it resembles the letter J. There are some people with presumptions that this is so to direct the produced sound to the crumhorn player.

Often, the crumhorn is wooden. It has a cylinder-shaped bore and a double reed which has a cap made of wood. The wooden cap is pierced by a slit where the lips of the player rest.

Etymology

Its name, crumhorn, originated from the German word Krumhornn or Krumphorn which means bent horn. This could be connected to the word crump, an old English word, meaning curve. This is also the derivation of the crumpet cake, a curved pastry, and the word crumpled. Cromorne, a French term similar to crumhorn, is a woodwind with a contrasting design.

Sound production

A twelfth is overblown by the crumhorn rather than an octave. That can be seen through the reed that covers the edge of the resonating tube and through the cylindrical bore. The reed vibrates as the player blows which causes a wave through the bore.

The length of the pipe is not the only factor that affects pitch because the breath pressure does too. This requires crumhorns to be at a fixed dynamic level when played and shortening notes implies crumhorn dynamics. The change in pitch of sound produced by the bagpipe while the player fills the bag is comparable to the variation in pitch caused by breathing changes.

Crumhorn music is commonly played by a consort of crumhorns because of limited range. A consort of crumhorns is a cluster of instruments with different pitches and sizes. Crumhorns are meant to copy the vocal quartet with bass, tenor, soprano, and alto. It has pitches in F and C.

The instrument has a naturally sharp sound that gives a good effect in the modern ensemble. The tone which is from nasal humming to rich buzzing depends on the way their reeds are voiced.

Structure

Crumhorns are made of wood which was hollowed, packed with sand, and closed. The bottom is steamed to become soft and bent to form a J shape. The bell is then hollowed out to be conical with the goal of increasing volume and sound production.

The reed is made of cane. This cane is folded and attached to a short tube called staple which is placed in the wooden pipe’s top. Access to the high notes comes with enormous difficulty because of the lack of reed control of wind capped instruments. Its range only encompasses the fundamental sounds made by consecutive opening of the horizontal holes. There are larger but rarer types of the crumhorn that widens the range by one to two notes down through auxiliary holes.

Possible origins and early use

In Europe, the crumhorn was used in the 1300’s to the 1600’s. It is said to originate from the chanter of bagpipes and the bladder pipe.

These could have been possibly played at the court of England’s King Henry the Eighth because he owned twenty-five pieces of the instrument. In Great Britain, crumhorns were not as popular as in the Continent where a small group of music for crumhorns has been kept. It was used in modern times by Richard Harvey and Brian Gulland from the rock group named Gryphon.

 

The trombone is a wind instrument that is a member of the brass family. The differentiating characteristic of the trombone is a telescope-like slide which is controlled by the player to change pitches with the exception of the valve trombone with three valves. Similar to other brass instruments, the vibrating lips of the player makes the air inside the trombone to vibrate and this produces sound.

The instrument’s name is derived from the Italian word tromba meaning trumpet and –one which means large. Thus, it is literally named large trumpet. Both the trumpet and the trombone have generally cylindrical bores.

History

The creation of the trombone dates back more than six hundred years. Its original design was somewhat imitated from sackbut, an Old English instrument. The term sackbut originated from the French saquer which means pull and bouter meaning push. Trompone is the Italian for sackbut and this is most probably the basis of the word trombone. At first, there were four types of trombones – soprano, bass, tenor, and alto.

At some period in the 19th century, trombones were constructed with valves similar to most brass instruments but this was short lived. It has a major difference from other brass instruments – the trombone sounds exactly as how it is written.

It is the sole modern brass instrument in the orchestra which has the ability to play all of the chromatic scale’s notes. Despite that, trombones were not included in the early orchestras because most composers and musicians thought these were solely suitable for solemn melodies.

Nowadays, trombones are played in symphony orchestras, military bands, big bands, and brass bans. Aside from those, the trombone is also played in smaller musical ensembles such as brass quartets or trios and trombone quartets or choirs. These instruments are also commonly used for different music genres such as salsa, rock, swing, and jazz.

The trombone in the 20th century

In the fist half of the 20th century, the trombone remained popular and widely used in the orchestra through works of various prominent artists like Leonard Bernstein, William Walton, and Richard Strauss.

Trombone gained a higher level of significance in chamber and solo music when new composers gave it outstanding parts in their works in the second half of the century.

In the second half of the century, new composers began giving back to the trombone a higher level of importance in solo and chamber music. New composers got a chance to establish a wider range through pieces such as the Sequenza V of Luciano Berio and the Sonata by Paul Hindemith. Improvements such as increase in mouthpiece, bell and bore measurements, variation of materials, different mute types, and new kinds of valves led many developments in the structure of the trombone.

Types

There are various types of trombones. These are the contrabass trombone, bass trombone, tenor trombone, alto trombone, soprano trombone, and sopranino and piccolo trombones.

Playing the trombone

There are seven possible positions of the trombone. To vary the pitch, the player adjusts the lip shape. The contracting or relaxing of ones lips changes the sound produced by the trombone. With the ability to do a glissando, it can also go up and down notes with ease and play all notes in the middle by simply controlling the slide.