I am new to trumpet, bought one recently and here's what I found:

The trumpet looks like Bb kind: Looks like it is a Bb trumpet

I googled Bb trumpet fingerings (e.g. this) and they all say that all open valves (and lowest note) should give me C note.

However, the lowest note on all open walves on my trumpet sound Bb, I checked it with the piano.

So the question is: what am I doing wrong? Is that the trumpet or my bad playing?

1 Answer 1


Don't worry, everything is as expected.

Trumpet is a transposing instrument. If you play the note that a trumpeter would call 'C', it's really a Bb. We say that a trumpet is written a major second higher than it sounds.

You're not the first person to be confused by this. If you search for terms like 'transposing instrument' and 'concert pitch', you'll find out a lot more information. There's various historical and practical reasons why this is the case.

Some very quick examples I found on this topic:

Could B♭ instruments be built in C? Why are they in B♭ in the first place?

Why do instruments have a key?

What is a transposing instrument?

Trumpet - Should I think in concert pitch or not?

Which tone names should I learn on a transposing instrument like a saxophone?


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