Brass Instrument - Instruments in This Family

Thinking of starting a brass band? You'll want to know all of the best brass instruments. This list of brass instruments includes horns, trumpets, bugles, cornet, flugelhorn, the trombone, tuba, and more. Any well-known musical instrument in the brass family is included, along with photos when available. Many of the world's most important genres like jazz and orchestra wouldn't be possible without brass instruments. The sounds that emanate from these instruments are some of the most soothing, relaxing (and also fun) sounds that you can imagine.

Would Louis Armstrong have succeeded with the trumpet? Maybe, maybe not. But the fact that he became an internationally renowned musician says something not only about his great talent, but his mastery of brass instruments. The same goes for the iconic Duke Ellington and Fats Domino. Types of brass instruments are some of the most classic instruments like the baritone horn and many others.

  • The alto horn is a brass instrument pitched in E♭. It has a predominantly conical bore, and normally uses a deep, cornet-like mouthpiece. It is most commonly used in marching bands, brass bands and similar ensembles, whereas the horn tends to take the corresponding parts in symphonic groupings and classical brass ensembles.
  • Baritone horn
    Photo: user uploaded image
    The baritone horn is a low-pitched brass instrument. It is a piston valve brass instrument with a predominantly cylindrical bore like the trumpet and uses a wide-rimmed cup mouthpiece like that of its peers the trombone and euphonium. Like the trombone and the euphonium, the baritone can be considered either a transposing or non-transposing instrument. In the UK the baritone is frequently found in brass bands. The baritone horn in the United States is common in school and university bands, the baritones found in school inventories often being older models as the instrument over time is yielding in popularity to the euphonium. A person who plays a baritone horn is a baritone player or ...more
  • Buccina
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    A buccina or bucina, anglicized buccin or bucine, is a brass instrument that was used in the ancient Roman army, similar to the Cornu. An aeneator who blew a buccina was called a "buccinator" or "bucinator". It was originally designed as a tube measuring some 3.4 to 3.7 meters in length, of narrow cylindrical bore, and played by means of a cup-shaped mouthpiece. The tube is bent round upon itself from the mouthpiece to the bell in the shape of a broad C and is strengthened by means of a bar across the curve, which the performer grasps while playing to steady the instrument; the bell curves over his head or shoulder. The buccina was used for the announcement of night watches, to summon ...more
  • Bugle
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    The bugle is one of the simplest brass instruments, having no valves or other pitch-altering devices. All pitch control is done by varying the player's embouchure. Consequently, the bugle is limited to notes within the harmonic series. See bugle call for scores to standard bugle calls, all consisting of only five notes. These notes are known as the bugle scale.
  • The contrabass bugle, usually shortened to contra, is the lowest-pitched instrument in the drum and bugle corps hornline with some marching bands making the switch to the instrument. It is essentially the drum corps' counterpart to the marching band's sousaphone: the lowest-pitched member of the hornline, and a replacement for the concert tuba on the marching field. It is different from the other members of the marching band and drum corps hornlines in that it rests on the shoulder of the player, rather than being held in front of the body. Because this orientation can obstruct standard headgear, it is not uncommon for contrabass players to wear a beret instead of whatever else the rest of ...more
  • The cornet is a brass instrument very similar to the trumpet, distinguished by its conical bore, compact shape, and mellower tone quality. The most common cornet is a transposing instrument in B♭ though there is also a soprano cornet in E♭. Both are unrelated to the renaissance and early baroque cornett.