Trumpet vs. Saxophone: What Are the Similarities and Differences?

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The trumpet and the saxophone are both popular instruments in the band. You’ve probably heard of them but maybe never thought about the similarities and differences between the two.

There are many similarities and differences between a trumpet and a saxophone. Both are “aerophones” (wind instruments) and are often found in jazz and bands.

There are many similarities and differences between these two instruments. So let’s compare trumpet vs. saxophone to see more!

Compare Trumpet vs. Saxophone

Trumpet
Trumpet

Similarities

Material

The bodies of these instruments are commonly made from brass. There are some variations in some cases, but it is the basis for the two.

These instruments sometimes feature nickel or silver plating accents, and their common lacquer colors are gold, silver, or yellow. However, sometimes you will also come across an utterly black trumpet like the Tromba Pro Professional C.

Usage

In many cases, people use saxophone and trumpet in the same places. They frequently appear together in some kinds of instrumental ensembles, such as:

  • Marching band
  • Concert band
  • Jazz music
  • Small ensembles
  • Orchestral music
  • Popular music

Type of Instrument

Trumpet and saxophone both belong to the same type of instrument.

It is aerophones (wind instruments). This type refers to any instrument that utilizes air to produce its sound.

Difference

Age

The trumpet is one of the oldest wind instruments. It has existed in various forms for thousands of years. It is generally assumed that the trumpet appeared in the 1400s and became popular in the 1600s.

The saxophone is considered one of the youngest of the major band instruments.

In the 1840s, Adolphe Sax developed this instrument. He originally designed fourteen of them based on seven main types:

  • Soprano Sax
  • Sopranino Sax
  • Tenor Sax
  • Alto Sax
  • Bass Sax
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Contrabass Sax

Appearance

These two instruments don’t look the same.

  • Trumpet

The trumpet tends to be smaller and longer. It typically has a metal mouthpiece that is one tiny cup shape.

This mouthpiece should fit into the trumpet’s receiver. From this part, the trumpet’s tube wraps in one oblong oval, flaring into a unique bell shape.

The trumpet comes with some small slides which allow you to adjust the pitches of the valves or overall trumpet.

Three valves (buttons) let you add length to your trumpet’s tubing when pressing. They also help change the note.

  • Saxophone

A sax features a mouthpiece with a reed (typically wooden) on it.

This mouthpiece will go on the neck’s cork, which is a crooked shape. Then it will insert into the saxophone’s body.

Except for soprano sax, such as the SKY Bb Curved Soprano Saxophone, the saxophone body is one straight tube, with an elbow on its end, putting the bell back up and forward.

Size And Range

Saxophone
Saxophone
  • Trumpet

The trumpet comes with  1.48 m (4 ft 10 in) of potential tubing (when pressing all valves) and features a sounding pitch range of E3-Bb6.

  • Saxophone

The alto sax features 1.2 m (3.9 ft) of tubing and a sounding pitch range of Db3-Ab5.

Also Read: Piano vs. Harpsichord: Do You Know These Differences?

How to Make Sound

  • Trumpet

The trumpet player will use his lips to buzz (imagine imitating the sound of a fly with lips). The vibration of the air then comes from his lips.

  • Saxophone

The sax player will blow into the saxophone’s mouthpiece and over a reed which is mounted to the mouthpiece with a ligature. This reed will vibrate and cause the air to vibrate, leading to the air column inside his saxophone vibrating.

In short, the trumpet makes its sound by buzzing its lips, and the saxophone blows over a wooden reed which produces the sound of the sax.

Sound

Both instruments feature a rich and powerful sound. But we think the sound of the saxophone is rich, full, deep, and strong.

Meanwhile, the sound of the trumpet is mellow, dark, round, and soaring.

Trumpet vs. Saxophone: Comparison Table

 TrumpetSaxophone
Instrument FamilyAerophones (wind instruments)
Voice (Range)SopranoAlto
Sound creationBuzz lips into the mouthpieceVibrate reed on the mouthpiece
Number of KeysJazz, Orchestra,  Band, Brass Quintets,  Brass Bands.Jazz, Band, Popular music, Saxophone quartets.
Average Cost$3,000$5,000
Length Of Tubing1.48 m (4 ft 10 in)1.2 m (3.9 ft)
When was it invented?1400s1840s
MaterialCommonly brass with lacquer protection      

Trumpet vs. Saxophone: Which One Should I Play?

You should play an instrument that interests you, whether it’s the saxophone or the trumpet.

These instruments are all fairly easy to get started with for beginners and will get more complex in different ways.

The trumpet will take more muscular development, while the saxophone will end up with modern techniques and trickier advances.

Conclusion

You have reached the bottom of our article. Hopefully, it has given you an in-depth look at these two exciting instruments.