It is no secret that Hip Hop music has taken many cues from other style of music over the years, like blues, jazz, classical and more. One of these genres has done a lot for the hip hop world, in the form of brass instruments like the trumpet, saxophone and percussive instruments. Without these amazing instruments, hip hop would not be where it is today, with the likes of many jass hip hop groups like the Pharcyde and A Tribe Called Quest playing a crucial role in the development of hip hop as we know it.

hip hop

What Are Brass Band Instruments?

Brass band instruments derive their name from the material they are made of brass. A brass instrument is an instrument that creates sound through sympathetic vibration of compressed air in a hollow resonator in accordance with the vibrational noise of the player’s lips. Brass instruments are also known as labrosones or plivables, in Greek and Latin both meaning ‘lip’ and ‘voice’. Brass is an alloy of aluminum, tin, zinc and phosphorus, and is primarily used for making pipes, bells, and metal drums. Brass is resilient, ductile, elastic and strong, and therefore it is flexible to mold.

Brass instruments consist of several different instruments separated by the lip piece that connects them to the main body of the instrument. The three different instruments are the snare, tympanis, and the bass drum. Each of these brass band instruments contains parts that enable the instrument to produce a specific sound.


The snare is the most popular and probably the most recognizable brass instrument. It is comprised mainly of a tube shaped drum, usually a reed, which has two to five pads that can be depressed or released. The tube can also contain a head, which rests on the top of the drum, and is used to make the sound of the snare. The instrument can have a deeper or brighter tone depending on the height and intensity of the pads pressed.

The tympanis is another brass instrument, and very similar to the snare. The tympanic contains no pads and functions more like a megaphone. It is the smallest of all brass instruments and is played by striking a chord on the sixth string. The instrument is most commonly used as a melodic instrument, with its round tone able to resonate all of the instruments in a band. It is also important for brass bands to be versatile, being able to perform stand up music as well as cover more ground.

The bass drum is perhaps the most versatile of all brass band instruments. A set of four legs are connected together at the end of each leg is attached to a drum head that usually contains a cylindrical housing, which holds the rest of the assembly together. Most sets consist of a hi-hat, a tom, and two cymbals, which can be expanded to a ten-piece orchestra. Other combinations of pedals exist, allowing a brass band to play a variety of songs.

brass band instruments

The Classics

There are other brass instruments that can be bought, but none are quite as versatile as the trumpet. Players need both pitch control and a good sound to be effective at playing a brass band. Most players will find that a set of brass instruments is sufficient to meet their needs, though those who enjoy playing lead or rhythm may want to expand their musical horizons. Alternatively, a horn section may be an option, though this is not for everyone. Whichever brass instruments you choose, you can be sure that they will bring a real sense of pizzazz and individuality to your ensemble.