The trumpet is a cylindrical instrument, made of brass bent into a rough spiral, with valves to assist in changing the pitch, or frequency. Sound is produced by vibrating the lips, which vibrates the column of air in the trumpet. The sound is projected outward by the bell.
The trumpet is closely related to the cornet and flugelhorn, both of which are conical in shape rather than cylindrical, and have more mellow tones, but are in the same pitch range. The piccolo trumpet is a trumpet that plays one octave above the regular trumpet. There are also rotary-valve, or German, trumpets, as well as bass and Baroque trumpets. The trumpet evolved from non-valved horns, such as the bugle.
The trumpet comes in many keys, the most common being B-Flat, followed by C, E-Flat, D, and A. The piccolo trumpet plays in either B-Flat or A. Its tone is metallic and clean.
The trumpet was originally used for military purposes, like the modern bugle, and different tunes corresponded to different instructions. In medieval times, trumpet playing was a guarded craft, its instruction occurring only within highly selective guilds. The trumpet players were often among the most heavily guarded members of a troop, as they were relied upon to relay instructions to other sections of the army. Eventually the trumpet's value for musical production was seen, particularly after the addition of valves, and its use and instruction became much more widespread.
Today, the trumpet is used in nearly all forms of music, including classical, jazz, blues, and more recently, pop, ska, and funk. Among the great trumpet players are Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Doc Severinsen, Jon Faddis, Maynard Ferguson, Phillip Smith, Wynton Marsalis, and on flugelhorn, Chuck Mangione.