This family of instruments can play louder than any other in an orchestra or band and can be heard from very far away. Brass instruments are essentially long pipes that widen at the end to make a bell-like shape.

Each Brass instrument is shaped differently and the pipes are twisted and widened to create different sounds.

Like the woodwind family, brass players use their breath to produce sound, but instead of blowing into a reed, players vibrate their lips by buzzing them against a metal cup-shaped mouthpiece.  The mouthpiece helps to amplify the buzzing of the lips, which creates the sound.  Most brass instruments have valves attached to their long pipes; the valves look like buttons.  When you press down the valves, they open and close different parts of the pipe making it longer or shorter and therefore changing the pitch of the note.  Brass players also change the pitch and sound by buzzing their lips harder or softer.

The only brass instrument without valves is the trombone which has a slide; trombone players shorten and lengthen the slide to alter the pitch of the note.

The brass family members that are most commonly used in an orchestra include the trumpet, French horn, trombone, and the tuba.  Other brass instruments are also found in brass bands, concert bands or wind bands such as the Tenor Horn, Flugel horn, Baritone and Euphonium.

  • Trumpet player in concert


    The trumpet is much more than a musical instrument. In fact, the trumpet is a part of world history. For thousands of years, the trumpet has played an essential role in almost every civilisation on the planet.
  • Three primary school cornet players in concert


    The Cornet is most commonly found in Brass Bands and has a warmer, broader sound than a Trumpet . It is similar to the trumpet and plays the same notes but is distinguished from it by its conical bore, more compact shape.
  • Flugel horn

    Flugel Horn

    The Flugel Horn is known for its darker, mellower sound often described as bridging the gap between the trumpet and french horn and used in brass bands to fill in between the sounds of a cornet and tenor horn .
  • Action shot of Tenor Horn

    Tenor Horn

    The tenor horn is a valved brass instrument (in E♭) which has a predominantly conical bore like the baritone horn and flugelhorn . It uses a deep funnel- or cup-shaped mouthpiece.
  • Primary school baritone section in concert


    The baritone horn, or commonly just called baritone, is a low-pitched brass instrument mostly found in Brass and Wind Bands. It has valves and a bore that is mostly conical but it has a narrower bore than the similarly pitched euphonium .
  • Euphonium


    The Euphonium looks like a small tuba . It is also a low-pitched brass instrument mostly found in Brass and Wind Bands. Its flaring conical bore gives the euphonium a full and velvety sound.
  • Trombone


    The trombone is the only instrument in the brass family that uses a slide instead of valves to change pitch. A standard trombone is made of long thin brass pipes.
  • French Horn

    French Horn

    The French Horn produces a wide variety of sound ranging from very loud to very soft, and from harsh and blaring to mellow and smooth.
  • Youth orchestra tuba section


    The tuba is the largest and lowest brass instrument and anchors the harmony not only of the brass family but the whole orchestra or band with its deep rich sound.

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