How Can You Generate Trumpet Notes?

Before we start making trumpet notes we need to understand what valves are and their role in producing the sound.

Trumpets generally have three valves. These valves alter the tones that come out of the trumpet bell. They produce these tones within a particular harmonic series of the trumpet, based on the key of a trumpet.

The ability of the valves to produce different tones is due to their difference in tube length. A pro trumpeter can play and make trumpet notes without using the valves, but more on that later.


Do All Trumpets Have The Same Tube Length?

There is one simple rule that all brass instruments follow: “the longer the tube, the lower the pitch produced in that given harmonic series of notes.” Short tubes tend to produce brighter notes that longer tubes. This is why the piccolo trumpet and all other small trumpets have smaller tube lengths than the bass trumpet.


Can A Trumpet Be Played Without Using The Valves?

trumpet valvesIn order to get all the pitches you need, you have to change the harmonic series. Changing the harmonic series is quite easy, and all you have to do is change the pressure of your lips on the trumpet.

Apply pressure by tightening your lips to create a higher pitch or reduce the pressure by loosening the tension on your lips to get a lower trumpet pitch. The tightening of lips is also to increase the airspeed through the tubes to produce a high note.


However, one should be familiar with the harmonic series of a trumpet before trying to play them.
Harmonic series make trumpet notes and sounds more melodious than usual. But, only a few realize that one can play a harmonic series without using the valves – that’s right, no single finger on the valves.

All you have to do is follow the instructions mentioned above, and you should get it within the first three tries. Also, bear in mind that there are some trumpet notes that sound flat without using a valve.

So try to master playing with valves first, to get the concept behind using no valves.

Here are some things you should know as a beginner trumpeter.

  • Pressing the first valve is to lower the pitch by two semitones (a full tone)
  • Pressing the second valve reduces the pitch by a semitone (a halftone)
  • Pressing the third valve reduces the pitch by three semitones (a full tone and a half)



Playing the trumpet to create some nice tones would require some combinations – pressing one valve at a time might not produce some tones that you might require. These valve combinations require a degree of fingering exercises, and you are advised to start one as soon as possible.

To play the different notes, follow these instructions below:

  • A#/Bb: hold the first valve only
  • B: hold the middle valve (second valve)
  • C: do not hold any of the valves on a trumpet
  • C#/Db: hold the first two valves
  • D: hold the first and third valves
  • D#/Eb: hold the last two valves
  • E: press the first two valves
  • F: use the first valve only
  • F#/Gb: press the middle valve (second valve)
  • G: do not press any of the trumpet valves
  • G#/Ab: hold the second and third valves
  • A: press the first two valves

And that covers the basics of it!


Trumpet Fingering Chart

Below you will find a simple fingering chart, it is self-explanatory and can be followed quite easily by a beginner trumpeter.

Trumpet notes Fingering Chart



Trumpet Notes Fingering Chart Video Tutorial for Beginners

This is one of the best trumpet notes how-to video showing you the sheet music with notes to follow.

A must for any beginner to watch.



Trumpet Notes Conclusion

As you can see from the post above and the video tutorial, it is not that difficult to start making the first notes with your trumpet.

Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to follow any notes chart using the examples above and start making your first steps to becoming a pro trumpeter.


There are many more types of trumpets which you can read about in this comprehensive and detailed post. So, if you are looking for your first full-size trumpet or want another trumpet type, read on using the following link – Types of Trumpets