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The History Of The Trombone

First there was the trumpet because people have known for centuries how to make a sound by blowing into a tube.

Then the slide trumpet was developed because valves live far in the future and no one has figured out how to adjust the tone with just a mouthpiece.

Over time the slide trumpet evolved into the trombone that we know today.

Howerver in the Middle Ages the instrument first became known by its French name, which used the French word push and pull, for obvious reasons.

When the instrument came to England they anglicized the French and we all know what happens when something gets anglicized.

The result was that for several centuries the instrument was known as the Sackbut because this was Renaissance England no one seemed to notice the incongruity of the name.

All the best churches and Cathedrals had a group of Sackbut players.

Known as a Sackbuttocks! :D

This was ususally a quartet or trio to accompany the choir on Sunday. Traditionally they would perform in an alcove near the rectory.

Composers wrote concertos and quartets for the Sackbut. Most famous was the composer Anus Sharman, who traveled around England and after spending some months among the English, wrote: "Breaking the wind is for Sackbut timpani"  
before fleeing to France.

Undeterred, musicians throughout England would brag about being a professional Sackbut player or a virtuoso on the Sackbut.

It is said that the Scots invented the bagpipe simply an attempt to overcome this problem.

Royal Command performances were ordered. And the players answered something like "Yes, your honor! I will be happy to play with my Sackbut for your entertainment".

This set the tone for several centuries of Royal Elegance.

But all good things must come to an end.

During the 19th century, queen Victoria was not amused by the Sackbut nor all that was implied. Players were forced to play their instruments underground for some years and only refered to their instruments
obliquely.

As a result the name Trombone eventually won out!

PS: We have some of the best Trombone players tees on the planet, like this one below, you can find the whole collection if you go to the main menu and type "trombone" into the search box. Check it out! Or click on the photo to get the one below directly.

 



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