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Overview

The focus of this column will be on horn sections, which frequently consist of a mix of brass and woodwind instruments. Although there are many instruments in the brass family — including trumpet, cornet, trombone, French horn, euphonium, and tuba — I'll concentrate on trumpet and trombone and sax because they're the ones you'll most frequently encounter.

When you will record in the studio 98.5% of the time the musicians will show up with: Bb Trumpet, Bb Flugelhorn (type of trumpet), Bb Tenor or Bass Symphonic or Jazz Trombone (with or without F valve), Eb Alto Sax, Bb Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax and Soprano Sax.

Here is a Short description of each instrument (Parts of these decsriptions were taken from wikipedia

The Trumpet Family

The most common type is the B-flat trumpet, but C, D, E-flat, E, F, G and A trumpets are also available. The C trumpet is most commonly used in American orchestral playing, where its slightly smaller size gives it a brighter, more lively sound than the B-flat trumpet.

Each trumpet's range extends from the written F sharp immediately below Middle C up to about three octaves higher. Standard repertoire rarely calls for notes beyond this range, and the fingering tables of most method books peak at the C (high C) two octaves above middle C. Several trumpeters have achieved fame for their proficiency in the extreme high register, among them Anthony Gorruso, Michael McGovern, Lew Soloff, Andrea Tofanelli, Bill Chase, Roger Ingram, Maynard Ferguson, Wayne Bergeron, Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Faddis, Cat Anderson, James Morrison,and Arturo Sandoval.

The smallest trumpets are referred to as piccolo trumpets. The most common of these are built to play in both B-flat and A, with separate leadpipes for each key. The tubing in the B-flat piccolo trumpet is one-half the length of that in a standard B-flat trumpet. Many players use a smaller mouthpiece on the piccolo trumpet. Because of the smaller mouthpiece size, endurance is often limited and the sound production technique is different from that used on the B-flat trumpet. Almost all piccolo trumpets have four valves instead of the usual three: the fourth valve lowers the pitch, usually by a fourth, to facilitate the playing of lower notes. Dominic Derasse, Maurice André, Håkan Hardenberger, and Wynton Marsalis are some well-known piccolo trumpet players.

The bass trumpet is usually played by a trombone player, being at the same pitch and using a similar mouthpiece. Bass trumpet is played with a trombone or euphonium mouthpiece, and music for it is written in treble clef.

The modern slide trumpet is a B-flat trumpet that has a slide instead of valves. It is similar to a soprano trombone. The first slide trumpets emerged during the Renaissance, predating the modern trombone, and are the first attempts to increase chromaticism on the instrument.

The pocket trumpet is a compact B-flat trumpet. The bell is usually smaller than a standard trumpet and the tubing is more tightly wound to reduce the instrument size without reducing the total tube length. Its design is not standardized, and the quality of various models varies greatly. It can have a tone quality and projection unique in the trumpet world: a warm sound and a voice-like articulation. Unfortunately, since many pocket trumpet models suffer from poor design as well as cheap and sloppy manufacturing, the intonation, tone color and dynamic range of such instruments are severely hindered. Professional-standard instruments are, however, available. While they are not a substitute for the full-sized instrument, they can be useful in certain contexts.

There are also rotary-valve, or German, trumpets, as well as alto and Baroque trumpets.

The trumpet is often confused with its close relative, the cornet, which has a more conical tubing shape compared to the trumpet's more cylindrical tube. This, along with additional bends in the cornet's tubing, gives the cornet a slightly mellower tone, but the instruments are otherwise nearly identical. They have the same length of tubing and, therefore, the same pitch, so music written for cornet and trumpet is interchangeable.

The flugelhorn is a valved bugle developed in Germany. It has a conical bore. The bugle had no valves and therefore could produce only the natural harmonics of the tube. The design pitch was was typically middle C or B-flat. The flugelhorn has tubing that is even more conical than that of the cornet, and an even richer tone, and is mellower than a trumpet. It is sometimes augmented with a fourth valve to improve the intonation of some lower notes.

More about the trumpet family and sound clips here

The Trombone Family

The trombone is actually closely related to the trumpet in sound, though it does not change pitches with a system of valves, but rather with a movable slide which is used to change its length.

The tenor trombone has a fundamental note of B flat (though tenor trombones with C as their fundamental note were almost equally popular during the mid-19th century in Britain and France) and is usually treated as a non-transposing instrument (see below). As the trombone in its simplest form has neither crooks, valves nor keys to lower the pitch by a specific interval, trombonists use seven chromatic slide positions, each of which progressively increases the length of the air column, thus lowering the pitch.

Many modern tenor trombones include an extra attachment of tubing - about 3ft or 1m in length - which lowers the fundamental pitch from B flat to F. It is engaged by using a trigger or valve (these instruments are not to be confused with the three-valved valve trombone). This type of trombone is typically built with a larger bore size (0.525" or 0.547") and is known as a B flat/F trombone, F-attachment trombone, or trigger trombone. Trombones without this feature have become known as straight trombones

The modern bass trombone is pitched in B flat. It is identical in length to the 9' B flat tenor trombone and was developed from the 19th century tenorbass trombone, but has a wider bore to aid in the production of a fuller, weightier tone in the low register and one or two valves which, when engaged, lower the key of the instrument. The bass trombone is the most powerful individual instrument in the brass band. The characteristic blare of a bass trombone fortissimo is a familiar and essential part of the horn section sound

The range of the modern bass trombone is fully chromatic from the lowest fundamental with the valve attachment tubing deployed, potentially as low as C1 or B flat1, up to C5 or higher, depending on the player. It is usually scored in the range B flat2 to B flat5.

The alto trombone is pitched in E flat (occasionally with a D or B flat rotary valve attachment) or F, a perfect fourth or fifth higher than the tenor trombone and was commonly used from the 16th to the 18th centuries as the highest voice in the brass choir, though it declined in popularity from the early 19th century, when the trumpet acquired valves and trombones became an established section in the symphony orchestra, and it was replaced by a tenor trombone as the range of the parts can usually be covered by the tenor instrument. While some first trombonists have used the alto trombone as indicated, it was unfashionable from the mid-19th century to the late 20th and has only recently enjoyed something of a revival.

At 21" long the small soprano trombone is usually pitched in B flat an octave above the tenor and built with a bore size of between 0.450" and 0.470" and a trumpet-sized bell. It appears to have been created in the late 17th century, from which the earliest surviving examples date. It was used in German-speaking countries to play the treble part in chorales, and this tradition survives in the Moravian trombone choir at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. And yes it is the same picture as the slide trumpet...

Valve trombones always have the same tonal range as their slide trombone equivalents, though a somewhat different attack, due to the extra resistance caused by the valves. They are built in either short or long form. Some musicians consider them difficult to play in tune, although a small minority prefer them to the more common slide trombone. The valve trombone has been built in every size from alto to contrabass, though it is the tenor valve trombone which has seen the most widespread use.

The superbone, This unusual variation of the trombone has both a slide and valves. It was first manufactured in the early 20th century, and was at one time known as a valide trombone, but is now best known as a superbone, thanks to the influence of jazz musician Maynard Ferguson, who used it in his band

More about the trombone here and here

The Saxophone Family

The saxophone was developed in the 1840s by Adolphe Sax, a Belgian-born instrument-maker, flautist, and clarinetist working in Paris. While still working at his father's instrument shop in Brussels, Sax began developing an instrument which would form a better tonal link between the clarinets and brass instruments in contemporary military bands, an area which was considered sorely lacking.

the saxophone family, consists of ten sizes of saxophone of which the E♭ baritone, B♭ tenor, E♭ alto and B♭ soprano have proved the most popular of all

The alto is the third smallest of the saxophone family. The alto is the most common size of saxophone, and is also the size most commonly included in classical compositions. Because of its prevalence, the alto saxophone is the most common choice for beginners learning to play the saxophone. The second most common saxophone used by beginners is the tenor; teachers often suggest either an alto or a tenor for a beginner depending on their physical size, as well as their preferences.

The tenor saxophone became best known to the general public through its frequent use in jazz music. It was the pioneering genius of Coleman Hawkins in the 1930s which lifted the tenor saxophone from its traditional role of adding weight to the ensemble and established it as a highly-effective melody instrument in its own right. Many prominent jazz musicians from the 1940's onwards have been tenor players. The strong resonant sound of Hawkins and his followers always in contrast with the light, almost jaunty approach of Lester Young and his school. Then during the be-bop years the most prominent tenor sounds in jazz were those of the Four Brothers in the Woody Herman orchestra, including Stan Getz who in the 1960s went on to great popular success playing the Brazilian Bossa nova sound on tenor saxophone.

The baritone saxophone is the largest saxophone commonly seen in modern ensembles. The baritone sax is most famous as the horn that Lisa Simpson plays on the American TV series "The Simpsons". The baritone player usually plays rather simple rhythms in order to maintain the musical pulse of the group. Often, this consists of quarter notes on beats one and three in 4/4 time. The baritone plays a notable role in many Motown hits of the 60s, and has often been heard in the horn sections of funk, blues, and soul bands. Also, it is sometimes also used in rock music. For example, it is featured along with a tenor sax in "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd from the album "Wish You Were Here".

The soprano is the second in size of the saxophone family. Pitched in the key of B♭, the soprano saxophone plays an octave above the commonly used tenor saxophone. Musicians especially known for playing the soprano saxophone include jazz musicians John Coltrane (most notably on the landmark album My Favorite Things) and smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G.

More about the saxophone here