A Deeper Look into the Use of Brass in Instruments

A brass tube is a popular metal product for making musical instruments such as trumpets and trombones. Because brass is durable and malleable, it contributes uniquely to diverse sounds and tones.

However, manufacturing musical instruments of brass isn’t as easy or as straightforward as, say, installing plumbing.

Material Attributes

The grade of the brass–its level of hardness and flexibility–can affect how the instrument produces and projects a sound. For instance, darker brass, that containing more copper than brighter brass, produces a darker sound, meaning overtones are spread more evenly across the frequency spectrum. Brighter brass, on the other hand, creates higher-frequency overtones.

Too much softness in the brass alloy may detriment the instrument’s response while a harder grade may provide a greater response. Manufacturers should take into account the way musicians play and the genre (e.g., jazz, baroque, orchestral, swing, pop, classical) to determine which attributes should comprise a brass instrument.

Gauge

The material gauge is another critical factor in the manufacture of a brass musical instrument. With a thicker gauge, a musician can produce heavier, richer sounds with a high projection quality–suitable for a bass trombonist who plays from the rear of a symphony. Meanwhile, a jazz trumpeter who projects the sound through a microphone will likely benefit from an instrument with a lighter gauge.

The composite of brass used for musical instruments affects the instrument’s quality of sound. As the manufacturer, it’s your responsibility to consider all of the variations in order to produce applicable products.

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