Why a 3-Valve Trumpet is Actually 7 Trumpets: How the Trumpet Works (animated GIF)

Each time you press a valve, you change the length of the trumpet, which changes the available notes. Basically, with the valves, you’re accessing 7 different bugles, or 7 different lengths of tubing. There are actually 8 valve combinations (0,1,2,3,12,13, 23, 123), but the 3 and 1-2 combinations are essentially the same. Here’s an animated GIF of how the air is routed through a piston valve trumpet:

Valve 2 (shortest): = 1/2 step
Valve 1 = whole step
Valve 3 (longest) = 1 1/2 step

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