The French horn is considered by many (especially French horn players!) to be the most difficult instrument to play in the orchestra. A highly-expressive instrument, the pitch is altered by placing one hand inside the ‘bell’ (i.e. end) while pressing valves with the other hand. The horn or French horn consists of about 3.6m of narrow tubing wound into a circle.
(Number played in a concert: usually 5.)
The trumpet produces a bright and brilliant sound and is the highest-pitched of the brass instruments. As with other brass instruments, the player ‘buzzes’ the sound through the mouthpiece. The three valves change the pitch. The trumpets sit in front of the trombones and tuba towards the top right of the Orchestra.
(Number played in a concert: usually 2-3.)
The trombone is the ‘middle’ instrument of the brass family and produces a more mellow sound than the trumpet. Uniquely amongst instruments in the orchestra, the pitch is altered by means of a slide which changes the (nearly 3 metres) length of the tubing.
(Number played in a concert: usually 2-3 including, sometimes, a bass trombone.)
The tuba is the lowest-sounding member of the brass family. The pitch is changed by valves and the sound travels along nearly 5 metres of tubing.
(Number played in a concert: usually 1.)