Looking at this orchestral performance of sinfonia from Bach's 29th Cantata (BWV 29), it is really curious to see the trombonists (?) holding the horn/trombone with one hand and the way they are standing with the other hand on their hip. You can see it at the start of the clip and then throughout the sinfonia (the first three and a half minutes).

First question, what instrument is that? Is it a trombone? Some type of a horn?

Second, why are they holding it like that? All three of them are doing it throughout the whole performance. Seems a little strange. Is it a stylistic thing? Is that how people held that instrument four hundred years ago?


1 Answer 1


It's a baroque trumpet, basically a historical version of a trumpet without valves. Probably they hold it like that because that was the way it was held at that time (think of musicians on a tower, announcing the arrival of the king or stuff like that...)

  • 1
    More specifically, baroque trumpets in D.
    – Luke_0
    Aug 12, 2013 at 13:43
  • The authentic Baroque trumpet, or natural horn, has no valves and no vents. Therefore it is possible to play it with one hand. It can only play the pitches of the D major scale; because there are no valves or vents, it is not possible to use the instrument to play additional notes or keys outside of D major.
    – user1044
    Aug 14, 2013 at 11:48
  • 2
    Also note that the Baroque trumpet is usually tuned to A = 415, which is a half-step lower than the modern A = 440. Thus it sounds to your ear like the trumpet is playing in the key of D-flat and not D-natural.
    – user1044
    Aug 14, 2013 at 11:50

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