Have you been asked to play a fanfare trumpet for the very first time or are you just curious about what one is? Our five intriguing facts will give you an insight into the brass familie’s most majestic instrument.
Fanfare trumpets are not as old as you think
Famously found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1324BC, the trumpet in the form of a resonating tube is justifiably called ‘ancient’, however the modern day valved fanfare trumpets favoured by todays military are much newer.
Between 1938 and 1959 London based Boosey and Hawkes made 492 three valved instruments known as Coronation Trumpets after the recent coronation of King George VI. The addition of three valves allowed players to achieve all the notes of the chromatic scale unlike the earlier instruments.
The older valveless trumpets are still played, most famously by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry.
They can play very loud
Unlike a coiled up trumpet or cornet, the resonance on a fanfare trumpet is largely uninterrupted as the vibration travels down a long straight tube. After all, these instruments are designed to signal the arrival of very important people so they need to be heard!
A word of warning, if you are playing a fanfare trumpet for the first time it might feel quieter to you as the sound is coming out a metre away from you but trust me, that is an illusion. There is a reason this conductor is standing so far away….
3. Fanfare trumpeters get the best views
You need a head for heights in this business. Fanfare trumpeters can find themselves on cathedral balconies, castle walls or ‘in the God’s’ of a theatre. Top tips for this role include:
Wear black socks and remove shoes so you can sneak away subtly at the end of your fanfare
take a torch in case you get stuck in a dark corner
use a lyre for your music, there might not be enough room for you and your trumpet let alone a music stand!