Sunday, May 30, 2010

#297 Spain...Thanks Antonio!

Within the series devoted to Musical Instruments, the 0.34€ stamp issued in 2010 features the trumpet, a wind instrument belonging to the family of brass-wind instruments as it is made of a metal alloy.

The trumpet has a cup shape mouthpiece with brass tubing bent twice into an oblong shape. The trumpet has a roughly cylindrical bore which results in a bright, loud sound. The bore is actually a complex series of tapers, smaller at the mouthpiece receiver and larger just before the flare of the bell begins; careful design of these tapers is critical to the intonation of the instrument. As with all brass instruments, sound is produced by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound into the mouthpiece and starting a standing wave vibration in the air column inside the trumpet. Trumpets also have three piston valves, each of which increases the length of tubing when engaged, thereby lowering the pitch. The first valve lowers the instrument's pitch 2 semitones, the second valve 1 semitone, and the third valve 3 semitones. Used singly and in combination these valves make the instrument fully chromatic.

The origins of the trumpet, as those of the flute, go back as far as the history of Humanity. The trumpet and the bugle are believed to derive from the ox’s horn which is still in use in hunting. The first trumpets were made out of bamboo, hollow plant tubes and of sea fish shells. Later on, with the discovery of metals, they began to be made out of bronze or thin sheets of steel up to this day when they are made of an alloy of metals.

The piston trumpet was first used in 1835 by composer Helévy in his opera “The Jew”, and since then it has been used in all its variations and musical styles.

The next 0.45€ is the first stamp in the Musical Intrument series featuring Saxophone.

The saxophone is named after Antoine Joseph Sax, best known as Adolphe Sax, a Belgian-born instrument maker. He invented the saxophone in 1840 when attempting to improve the sound of the clarinet. The saxophone, belonging to the family of the woodwind instruments, was intended to form a tonal link between the strength of the brass instruments and the quality of the wooden ones. The tenor saxophone, like all saxes, is in essence an approximately conical tube of thin metal, usually brass. The mouthpiece of the tenor saxophone is very similar to that of the clarinet. Due to the sound it makes, it was classified under the woodwind instruments rather than under the brass wind ones since its acoustic resonances are made by a vibrating reed and by the different sounds made by pressing a number of keys. It was first introduced as an orchestra instrument by French composer Jules Massenet in some of his operas. The saxo, as other musical instruments, has developed with time and became very popular to the general public through its frequent use in jazz music since the 20s and 30s.

Amongst the simple reed instruments are the clarinet, the bugle, and the bagpipe. The saxophone, depending on the sound it produces can be: soprano, alto, baritone and tenor this latter featuring in the stamp. It is a XX century piece belonging to the Museo Interactivo de la Música (MIMMA) in Málaga.

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