Spectral characteristics of the baroque trumpet: a case study

Helena Daffern, David Martin Howard

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


The baroque trumpet like many reconstructed or original historical instruments is very difficult to play compared to its modern day equivalent. It is commonly accepted that historically informed performances need a specialist baroque trumpeter performing on a specialist instrument in order to achieve the desired sound. Particularly, there are certain timbral characteristics and expectations concerning the range of dynamics employed that are highlighted by today's early music conductors and players as being unique to and expected of the baroque trumpet. An opportunity arose to record a world-renowned baroque trumpeter playing original trumpets from 1780, 1788, 1912 and 1967 in the fully (6-sided) acoustic anechoic chamber at the University of York. Due to his strong instinct as a player that the mouthpiece is the most significant timbral characteristic of the instrument, performances on the later two trumpets were recorded using two different mouthpieces. The spectral characteristics of each of the instruments and the impact of changing the mouthpiece are analysed in terms of the spectral correlates of audible differences integral to the sound quality of each.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2012

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