Have you ever wanted to learn or try the baroque trumpet?  This post will help get you started.

Baroque Trumpet in a nutshell:

Trumpets in the baroque era did not have valves; different pitches were achieved using the embouchure alone.  Only the notes along the harmonic series were playable, and notes outside of this had to be bent up or down to sound in tune (not an easy feat!  To hear one of the few trumpeters that plays without vent holes, i.e. the real deal, check out Jean Francois Madeuf performing Brandenburg LIVE here).

Nowadays, most baroque trumpeters play instruments modernized with vent holes, which helps tremendously with intonation and accuracy.  There are 2 basic types of vent-hole systems used on modern baroque trumpets: the 4-hole system and the 3-hole system.  I happen to prefer the 4 hole system (as recommended by John Thiessen, who got me interested in the instrument.  Listen to his performance of Bach’s Cantata 51 here or embedded below).

I found it surprisingly difficult to find a good 4-hole fingering chart online, so I made a basic one you can download after signing up here.


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PS The 3-hole system fingering chart is now available.  Get it here.

Happy trumpeting!


Here is a picture of a true copy of a baroque trumpet–no holes, just lots of tubing, a bell and a massive mouthpiece.

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Check out this live performance of John Thiessen playing JS Bach’s Cantata 51, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen with Voices of Music and Soprano Laura Heimes: