The sound of trumpets has been echoing around the world for centuries. The first trumpets were made from hollow branches or reeds. They were used to frighten away evil spirits, to make mournful sounds at funerals, and in the evening to appeal to the Sun to return the next day. In some parts of Switzerland, the alpenhorn still sounds for daily ceremonies and festivals.
Early Africans used horns to send messages over long distances. In present-day Nigeria, horns are still sounded at celebrations. In the Americas, the Inca used trumpets made of shell and ceramics in their ceremonies. like bronze Benin, c. 1550, royal horn players at museums. Both the Egyptians and the Hebrews used metal trumpets.
The Bible says that when Joshua fought the battle at Jericho, the blast of seven trumpets made the walls fall down. Today, at the ceremony to celebrate the Jewish New Year, the shofar is sounded. Carved from a ram’s horn as in ancient times, the sounding of the horn reminds Jewish worshippers of their ancient origins.
Trumpets as we know them are shaped like those used in Europe in the 1500s. Some musicians feel that the peak of trumpet performance has come only recently from the contributions of America’s great jazz musicians, such as Wynton Marsalis and Chuck Mangione.