10 Fascinating Trombone Facts

Were you aware that left-handed trombonists must play the trombone the same way as right-handed ones? If you play the trombone, you already know how one-of-a-kind it is. Although some individuals only hear it in marching or jazz bands, its rich and smooth sound can be enjoyed by anyone. Here are some captivating facts about the trombone.

The Trombone was Invented in the 15th Century

The trombone was first created in the 15th century and has definitely made its mark in music history. However, the initial design, which was essentially a modified trumpet, is not the same as what we have today. At that time, it was named the sackbut and had a narrower bore and much smaller flare. It also lacked a water key, bell curve tuning slide, and slide lock. Although both musical instruments are similar, you cannot play the traditional sackbut repertoire on the modern trombone.

The First Public Performance of a Trombone Occurred at a Wedding

During the banquet of the Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold’s wedding to Princess Margaret of England in 1468, musicians were dressed as animals. The trombone player was dressed as a he-goat and played publicly for the first time.

Beethoven Changed the Fate of the Trombone

During the early 18th century, churches, military bands, and the courts of aristocrats were the only places you could hear the trombone. It was mainly used for serious occasions but rarely for secular events. Composers of that era saw the trombone as a sacred instrument and treated it as such. That’s until Beethoven changed the game. He included the trombone in a secular symphony, Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 (Fate), for the first time in 1808. Other times Beethoven used the trombone include Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (“The Choral”) and Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68″ (Pastoral Symphony). Therefore, the trombone took center stage in the 19th century thanks to his influence.

The Trombone is Sometimes Referred to as “The Voice of God”

Due to its perfect tone, Beethoven and other composers frequently refer to the trombone as the voice of God. Carlos Chavez, a 20th-century South American composer, said the trombone exerted significant influence over the entire orchestra.

The Trombone Can Mimic the Human Voice

The trombone has a remarkable range similar to that of the human voice. Even now, modern composers highlight this similarity to the human voice. To achieve this effect, they may use a plunger mute in Jazz. Charlie’s parents and teachers in the Peanuts cartoon series used a trombone to make the “Wah-Wah” sounds.

The Trombone is Not Left-Hand Friendly

Left-handed trombonists must play the trombone the same way as their right-handed counterparts. It may be challenging initially, but with practice, it becomes easier.

Some trombone players who are left-handed may opt to place the instrument over their right shoulder and use their left hand to move the slide. This technique may look awkward to those who have never seen it before. Have you ever witnessed a person playing the trombone left-handed?

Well-known jazz trombonist Locksley Wellington (Slide) Hampton was right-handed but played with his left hand because his first trombone was configured for left-handed play.

The word “trombone” has Italian origins.

The term “trombone” has its roots in the Italian word for trumpet, “Tromba,” which originated in the 18th century. The suffix “-one” means “large,” so the word “trombone” directly translates to “large trumpet.”

The trombone is the only brass instrument with a slide.

Brass instruments, such as the cornet, tuba, and French horn, share one common feature: valves. Pressing down on a valve changes the pitch of the instrument. However, the trombone has a seven-position slide instead of valves. Sliding from one position to the next alters the pitch.

The oldest surviving trombone is over 472 years old.

The Schnitzer family was one of the most respected makers of musical instruments during the 16th century. Its members were musicians and crafted various instruments, including trumpets and trombones. The Germanisches National Museum in Nuremberg houses tenor trombones made by Erasmus Schnitzer in 1551.

Trombones can be expensive.

While modern plastic trombones come in various colors and are budget-friendly, high-end models can cost a pretty penny. You may spend over $10,000 on an exceptional instrument. Nevertheless, some argue that it is the price to pay for superior craftsmanship.

The trombone is well-known for its ability to stand out in a band and add flair to any song. It is a versatile instrument that fits well in bands and orchestras. As the backbone of the marching band, the brass instrument deserves all the love it receives.


1. What is a trombone?

A trombone is a musical instrument that belongs to the brass family. It is made of brass tubing that is flared at one end and has a sliding section called the slide that changes the pitch.

2. Who invented the trombone?

The trombone was invented in the 15th century by Flemish craftsmen. However, the modern design of the trombone was developed in the 19th century by German instrument maker Christian Friedrich Sattler.

3. What are the different types of trombone?

There are various types of trombones, including the tenor, bass, alto, and contrabass. The tenor trombone is the most common type and is used in orchestras and bands.

4. What is the range of the trombone?

The trombone has a range of approximately two and a half octaves. However, some advanced players can extend the range up to four octaves.

5. How is the trombone played?

The trombone is played by buzzing into the mouthpiece and using the slide to change the pitch. The player uses their lips to create a vibration that produces the sound, and the slide is used to change the length of the tubing and, therefore, the pitch.

6. What genres of music feature the trombone?

The trombone is featured in a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, and pop music. It is often used in brass bands, orchestras, and marching bands.

7. What famous musicians play the trombone?

There are many famous musicians who play the trombone, including J.J. Johnson, Wycliffe Gordon, and Bill Watrous. In addition, many jazz and swing bands feature trombone players as part of their lineup.

Rate article
Add a comment