Cuivre in French means copper, I think.

In music it seems to be the name of the family of Brass instruments. Correct me in this if it is wrong.

In Sibelius, the trumpet has a property (regulated by a dial) called cuivre. What does it mean cuivre in this case?

The dial appears little in the instrument that is open. It is in Sibelius 7, though.

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2 Answers 2


Well, that may be a literal word-for-word translation, but the French for "brass" is ALSO cuivre (or specifically, cuivre jaune). Brass, of course, is an alloy that contains copper at varying levels.

The name for "the brass (instruments)" in French is les cuivres.

As for the dial you are seeing, I am unable to find that on my copy of Sibelius 6, running under either the English or French localization. Can you provide a screenshot of the setting in context?


After seeing this in context and doing a bit more research, it appears that in addition to the language definitions above, cuivre is also used as an indication for brass players to play with a "brassier" tone (i.e. harsh or overblown... you'll know it when you hear it--think drum corps. playing). So yes, it is a change in the sound, although not directly related to the proportion of copper in the brass alloy in this case -- just an emulation of a slightly different playing technique that results in a desired tone.

The Sibelius 7 instrument library pulls this property out of the regular instrument into one that can be adjusted independent of other variables (in older versions, you would expect to hear a brassy or overblown tone come into effect with an unreasonably high dynamic level like fff.)

  • I am using Sibelius7. Could it be that instruments are sometimes made with different types of brass (changing the proportion of copper) and somehow they are trying to model the change in the sound? Just guessing. Feb 1, 2014 at 2:56
  • The proper french term for brass (the alloy) is not cuivre but laiton. And son cuivré takes an accent. Son cuivre is weird and doesn’t really mean anything.
    – Édouard
    Feb 1, 2014 at 3:58
  • 3
    Just want to add here that cuivré is primarily used for horns to indicate to play with a "brassier" sound (that quintessential horn sound we love in movies!) Trumpets don't really do that sort of thing. Feb 1, 2014 at 16:33

Use your ears.

A few instruments in Sibelius 6 and 7 have these additional knobs in the mixer, designed to let the user modify the sound of the sampled instrument in some way. The most meaningful way to answer your question is this: What do you hear when you change the setting on the knob and play the music? Can you describe what it sounds like when the knob is turned all the way down, or set half-way, or turned all the way up?

  • The question is more about what is it, or maybe how is it actually done in the instrument. It is a different question what sound am I hearing than what is producing that sound. Feb 2, 2014 at 21:29

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