Jazz Musical Instruments

01
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Trumpet

trumpet
Dizzy Gillespie performing in New York City. Don Perdue/Getty Images

Different styles of music calls for different types of musical instruments. Take a look at some of the world's most famous artists playing commonly used instruments in jazz music.

Although the trumpet underwent changes during the Renaissance, it has been in existence far longer than that. Used at first for military purposes, studies show that ancient people used materials such as animal horns for similar purposes (i.e. to announce danger). Trumpets and cornets are used interchangeably in jazz music.

More About the Trumpet
Profile of the Trumpet
History of the Trumpet
Parts of a Trumpet
Types of Trumpets
Buying a Trumpet

02
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Saxophone

saxophone
Wayne Shorter performing in the East Room of the White House during the 20th anniversary of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz on September 14, 2006. Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images

Saxophones come in a variety of sizes and types: like the soprano saxophone, the alto sax, tenor sax and the baritone sax. Considered to be newer than other musical instruments in terms of its music history, the saxophone was invented by Antoine-Joseph (Adolphe) Sax.

More About Saxophones
Profile of the Saxophone
Saxophone History
Before You Buy a Saxophone
Types of Saxophones
Parts of the Saxophone

03
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Piano

Thelonious Monk performing in Montréal (Québec), 1967. Photo Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

The piano is one of the most popular keyboard instruments for both children and adults. Most of the famous classical composers were piano virtuosos such as Mozart and Beethoven. Aside from classical music, the piano is used in other music genres including jazz.

More About the Piano
Profile of the Piano
Different Types of Pianos
Guide to Piano Brands
Before You Buy Your First Piano

04
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Trombone

trombone
Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival held in in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 30, 2006. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The trombone descended from the trumpet but it is shaped and sized quite differently. One interesting fact about learning to play the trombone is that it is either played in the bass or treble clef. When playing in a wind band or orchestra, music is written in the bass clef. When playing in a brass band, the music is written in the treble clef.

05
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Clarinet

clarinet
Pete Fountain performing during the Mardi Gras celebrations on February 24, 2004 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

It was during the Romantic Period when the clarinet underwent great technical development and gained prominence. Composers such as Brahms and Berlioz composed music for the clarinet but this instrument is also used in jazz music.

More About Clarinets
History of the Clarinet
Types of Clarinets

06
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Double bass

double bass
Shannon Birchall from the John Butler Trio performing at the Enmore Theatre on November 27, 2006 in Sydney, Australia. James Green/Getty Images

The double bass is another member of the string family of musical instruments. It is larger than the cello and because of its size, the player needs to be standing while playing it. The double bass is a mainstay in jazz ensembles.

About the Double Bass
Profile of the Double Bass
Parts of the Double Bass
Sizes of Double Bass
Double Bass Playing Techniques

07
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Drums

drums
Roy Haynes performing during the Grand Opening Celebration of Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center on October 20, 2004. Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

The drum set is an essential part of any jazz rhythm section; it includes the bass drum, snare drum and cymbals, among others.