Have you always wanted to play a brass instrument but can’t decide between the trumpet and flugelhorn?
It can be hard to choose between the two, but you can consider a few things to make your choice:
How to Choose Between the Trumpet and Flugelhorn:
To choose between the trumpet and flugelhorn, consider the popularity, sound, register, and cost. Think about those factors as they relate to each instrument. Individuals should then think about their preferences regarding those factors.
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Is the Trumpet or Flugelhorn Easier to Play?
In general, the trumpet is easier to plan than the flugelhorn.
Trumpets have a cylindrical bore, which means the diameter of the tube doesn’t change for much of the length of the trumpet. However, the flugelhorn has a conical bore, in which the diameter slowly gets bigger.
The conical bore requires more intonation practice, which can be difficult, especially for beginners. If you want to play the flugelhorn, you’ll need to develop good control of your embouchure so that you can keep the instrument in tune.
It doesn’t help that the flugelhorn has a V-shaped mouthpiece instead of a C shape. That design means that your lips need to be exact to get the right note and a good sound.
Another difficult aspect of the flugelhorn is its mellow sound, making it harder to project over an ensemble or throughout a large performance hall.
Which of the Two Instruments Is More Popular?
The trumpet is more popular than the flugelhorn, but plenty of people still want to play the flugelhorn.
Trumpets are one of the instruments that students can play in a beginner’s band, which makes them popular among younger musicians. Also, in collegiate and community ensembles, trumpeters are frequent members.
While flugelhorns are part of bands and even orchestras, they aren’t as common. Some wind ensemble pieces don’t have a flugelhorn part, but they almost always have a few trumpet parts.
You’ll also find more trumpet teachers than flugelhorn teachers, so if you want to start with a more popular instrument, the trumpet is for you.
However, the flugelhorn is growing in popularity. In the 1930s, the flugelhorn made its first appearance in jazz bands, and now you can play it in jazz and classical groups.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Each Instrument?
New trumpet players can learn the basics within three to four months by practicing daily.
However, learning more advanced concepts may take a couple of years. Learning the flugelhorn will take about the same amount of time, though it can take longer to master the instrument.
No matter which instrument you select, you will need to learn how to buzz your lips. It will also take time to develop the stamina to play for long periods with no breaks.
You may find that you can learn the trumpet a bit more quickly because intonation is easier, but if you like the flugelhorn more, you may be more willing to practice it and can then learn in it less time than the trumpet.
If you learn one first, you may find that it doesn’t take as long to learn the other. Both instruments share the same range, fingerings, and transposition, so you don’t need to relearn those aspects.
What About the Price Differences?
In general, trumpets are more affordable than comparable flugelhorns.
While not as many people play the flugelhorn, there is quite a demand for a good model. Because of that, flugelhorns tend to cost more than trumpets at the same level.
Student trumpets start at around $250, while professional trumpets cost more than $5,000.
Starting at roughly $350, beginner-level flugelhorns aren’t that much more expensive than similar trumpets. Professional flugelhorns can cost as much as $4,400.
Intermediate trumpets can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,300 or more. Meanwhile, a good intermediate flugelhorn almost always costs close to $2,000.
Fortunately, there isn’t a huge difference in price between a trumpet and a flugelhorn at the same level, but you may want to save up a little more money if you want to buy a flugelhorn instead of a trumpet.
X Tips to Help You Choose Between Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Of course, you can get recommendations on what you should play, but musicians may suggest you play the instrument they prefer, and that might not work as well for you.
Think about the following things to help choose between the trumpet and flugelhorn:
1. Consider Popularity:
Whether you want to be like everyone else or not, you should consider the popularity of both instruments.
Since the trumpet is more popular, you can easily find a place to play it with others. Also, you won’t have much trouble finding music specifically for the instrument.
On the other hand, you may face more competition when auditioning for ensembles. If you play the flugelhorn, you might be one of a few people auditioning, so your odds of landing a spot are higher.
Consider if you want to stand out from the crowd or if you want to be part of a larger section.
2. Think About Ensembles:
When playing music with others, it’s important to consider what ensembles the trumpet and flugelhorn are in.
The trumpet is very common and is a standard member of orchestras, wind bands, and jazz groups. It’s also a common part of the mariachi band.
Flugelhorns are popular in British bands, and they show up in jazz bands, but they aren’t as common in wind ensembles or orchestras as the trumpet. So if you want to play in those types of groups, you may want to start learning the trumpet.
You should also consider chamber groups and other settings where you may want to play music. Then, you can make sure to choose a group of music that has a flugelhorn part.
3. Compare Registers:
The trumpet and flugelhorn share the same basic written range, and since they’re both in Bb.
They also share a sounding range, but the trumpet can go much higher, especially in the hands of a professional or advanced student. On the other hand, the flugelhorn is stronger in the lower register.
When choosing which instrument to play, think about the register you like to hear and what you’d prefer to play. If you love the sound of a trumpet solo wailing over a jazz band, the trumpet is going to fulfill you.
However, if you like the more mellow tone of the low register, you might prefer to play the flugelhorn. The conical bore can help you get a good, warm tone on the instrument.
While you can get low and high notes on both instruments, each has its strengths. So think about the range you’d prefer to play to help choose the right instrument for you.
4. Consider the Sound:
Along with the registers, you should consider the tone quality that the trumpet and flugelhorn offer.
The trumpet has a brighter sound that can cut through a group. It can be easy to hear the trumpet even in the middle register, so it’s a good instrument for aspiring soloists.
However, the flugelhorn isn’t as bright or piercing. Instead, it sounds dark and warm, and it can sound amazing in the low part of the register.
If you prefer to play harmonies and support other musicians, the flugelhorn can be great. You can still project your sound, but you don’t have the pressure of a trumpet soloist.
5. Know Your Budget:
While the prices aren’t significantly different, it can help know how much money you can spend on an instrument.
It can be easier to find a good trumpet for less money. New and used models are almost always available, and there are typically more trumpet models for sale than flugelhorn models.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more and shop around, you can find a good flugelhorn, but it will most likely cost more than a similar trumpet.
However, you may find used flugelhorns available at a fraction of the price. So be sure to compare the two instruments within the same level.
Then, you can determine if one is better for your finances than the other.
6. Think About Lessons:
Taking private lessons can help you learn the trumpet or flugelhorn more efficiently.
If you want that guidance, you need to research teachers available online and in your local area. Because the trumpet is more common, you’ll probably have an easier time finding a good trumpet teacher.
Some trumpet teachers may also teach the flugelhorn, but not everyone will. You may need to travel farther or look at more lesson websites to find a good flugelhorn teacher.
Be sure to consider your schedule and budget so that you’ll have the time and money for lessons. Then, you can search for a teacher who will offer lessons on the instrument you want.
If you’re looking to play a brass instrument, the trumpet and flugelhorn are both great, but be sure to consider their similarities and differences to decide for yourself which instrument is right for you.