History and Facts about "Trombone Musical Instrument". The earliest incarnation of the trombone appears to be an instrument called a sackbut back in the 1400s. Similar instruments existed in the 1550s by the same name. Their designs are similar to the modern trombone, though the funnel was wider than the modern trombone. Those instruments were tenors. By the early 1600s, alto, base and contrabass versions of the trombone had emerged. They sometimes had crooks to alter their pitch and range. Contrabass trombones had a double slide to create their deep range. Unlike the piano, there was no single, standard version of the instrument in the Middle Ages.
Trombones were widely accepted, and they were played in bands and churches. Trombones continued to be part of church music until the mid-1800s. They started to appear in orchestras in the 1700s. Trombones were associated with strong emotions like heroism, passion, religious fervor and barbarism. They were some of the loudest instruments in the band at the time.
By the mid-1800s, the bell size increased to create louder notes. This improved its performance in orchestras, which were increasing in size.
By 1900, the trombone was showing up in early jazz bands. By the 1930s, the trombone’s design and range was standardized. There are five different trombone ranges today: soprano, alto, tenor, bass and the deeper contrabass. The contrabass is capable of a BB flat. Soprano trombones exist, but they tend to be classified as trumpets. The piccolo trombone is rare. The alto trombone is used less frequently than it was in the 1800s, replaced in orchestras today with the alto horn.
The standard trombone design has valves, but not all trombones have a slide. Adolphe Sax created a six valve trombone in the 1870s. These six valves corresponded to six slides. Rotary keys were added in the early 1800s.
The number of trombone players in jazz bands also settled for a routine count of four, along with four trumpets and a drummer.