I'm more wondering about the upper register here, but I suppose this applies to pedal notes also. Is the trumpet's range theoretically unlimited? Is there anything (besides the player) that potentially could limit the range of the trumpet?

  • I'm guessing the physical size of the instrument will limit the minimum wavelength it can produce, and probably it would shatter or melt at a high enough frequency. Except for the fact that you probably can't put enough energy into it for that via any normal means, you just wouldn't get a sound out of it.
    – user28
    Oct 12, 2012 at 14:50

1 Answer 1


As Matthew indicated in his comment, once the wavelength of the sound gets smaller than the diameter of the tubing, the trumpet will no longer behave like a column of air. This means that, at these wavelengths, the trumpet will not support the resonance modes that make up its behaviour at normal frequencies. I.e. not sound like a trumpet (to the extent that it sounds at all).

  • With a standard bore of .450", that is roughly 11.5 mm, and with sound speed of 340 m/s (is that the correct value to use here? Should it be affect by the air speed?), that limit is right below 30 kHz. The human ear is said to be able to hear frequencies up to 20 kHz.
    – Gauthier
    Jun 24, 2014 at 8:24
  • Yes, that is pretty much the logic.
    – Dave
    Jun 24, 2014 at 13:01

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