Brass Instruments Used by an Orchestra

Brass instruments is a term used to describe a family of musical instruments made of brass. These instruments have long pipes with a mouthpiece and a broad ball-like end. Although their predecessors were made from tusks, animal horns, shells, or wood, modern brass instruments are made entirely from brass.

While playing brass instruments, you have to buzz your lips against the mouthpiece, thus creating the sound. These musical instruments have a configuration of valves used to alter the pitch of the music. Brass players, thus, should master the art of creating some harmony, which involves pressing different valves to create the right sound. If you play with an orchestra, here are some brass instruments that you are likely to encounter.


The trumpet plays a focal point in any orchestra band. Although it’s the smallest member of the brass family, it is known to play high pitches. Any orchestra should have at least two trumpets, which are used to play both harmony and melody. Notwithstanding, the trumpet can also be used to support the rhythm.

The French Horn

Initially from France, this brass instrument is known to produce many unique sounds that range from very soft to very loud. Like with the trumpet, the French horn is used to enhance the melody, harmony, as well as the rhythm. An orchestra should have anywhere from two to eight French horns.


The trombone, unlike other brass instruments in an orchestra, employs a sliding motion to change the pitch. Any orchestra usually has three trombones. Together, they are used to play harmonies in the same range. Their mellow tenor voice goes a long way in supporting the lower vocal lines, which often go unnoticed in any live performance.


A longstanding piece instrument in the brass family, the tuba is known for its deep rich sound. An orchestra mostly has a single tuba, which is mostly used to play harmony.