Fanfare Trumpets

Welcome to the Fanfare Trumpet section of the Smith Watkins website.

 All 40 British military bands have the capability of producing a fanfare team of about 7 players. There are four sizes of fanfare trumpets in common use today. In a team of 7 players, the British army use 4 B-flat trumpets, 2 B-flat tenor fanfares (similar to tenor trombones) and a bass fanfare pitched in B-flat / F, like a modern bass trombone. Click here to learn more about the history of Fanfare Trumpets

The bands of the Royal Air Force have a similar arrangement whilst the Royal Marine Bands (and some foreign bands) use the addition of a soprano fanfare to give a brighter sound. Having several teams, these bands often use 14 or more instruments at one time.

Since 2000, Smith Watkins has been making up to date instruments to replace the old Besson/Boosey & Hawkes range which, with the 'G' bass, has become obsolete. Click here for design details of Fanfare Trumpets since 1937

Whatever their musical length, the physical length from mouthpiece rim to bell end is exactly the same for each instrument, as is the position of the banners, giving perfect symmetry when played together. The sight and sound of these instruments is quite spectacular, whether on the parade ground or at a Royal celebration.

tenor herald
Click to view our Valved / Chromatic Range Click to view our Natural / Herald / Cavalry Range

Originally conceived by Ricordi and made by Orsi for Verdi's opera in 1836, one valved 'Aida' trumpets made by Hawkes & Son were used by the British army for fanfares prior to the 1930's.

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The Senior Director of Music at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall, Lt Col Hector Adkins (1921-1943), found these instruments unbalanced when supporting a banner so he designed a set of 3-valved chromatic fanfare instruments in which much of the valve tubing is put to the back of the instrument.

These variously pitched fanfare trumpets, sometimes called 'Coronation Trumpets', were made by Boosey & Hawkes for the coronation of George V1 in May 1937. The photograph shows the trumpets and drums of the Royal Military School of Music on the organ loft of Westminster Abbey as the new King departs by the Great West Door.

The instruments were sold under both the Boosey & Hawkes and Besson names until 1999 when they were deleted from the catalogue. Besson (London) closed in 2005 and the name 'Besson' was sold to Buffet Crampon (France) in 2006.

In 1948, two sets (14 instruments) of fanfare trumpets made from silver for the Royal Marines Music Service were dedicated as a Second World War Memorial. The bells are inscribed with the names of the ships in which the men died. These instruments, which are now rarely played, can be seen in the Royal Marines Museum in Portsmouth UK.

In 2000, the Royal Marines and Royal Air Force commissioned Smith-Watkins to create a new range of Fanfare Trumpets using 'state of the art' design techniques. These instruments are used throughout the Brtish Forces, the USA, Middle East and Australasia.

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