This family includes from highest
to lowest pitch, the trumpet, horn (or french
horn), trombone and tuba. Structurally
the brasses are similar. Each has a cup-shaped mouthpiece and ends
in a flared bell. Air travels through a tube which is shorter for
instruments of a higher pitch and longer for instruments of a lower pitch.
The length of the air column in which the air can travel is changed with
valves (the trombone uses a slide).
However, changing the length of the air column does not solely determine
the pitch of a tone. To produce pitches of different pitches with
the same fingering, players must also adjust the muscles of their lips
and the force of their breath.
The brasses can be bright in timbre like the trumpet, or rich and mellow like the horn. Each of the brasses can be muted to make a nasal tone, gentle or raucous, depending on the force used in playing.