French Trumpet English

While Irwin lists this name as simply a synonym for Trompette, a few sources treat it more specifically. Skinner writes:

a reed of normal scale having parallel or untapered shallots with full-length openings developing brilliance in the tone. The French Trumpet is essentially a low-pressure reed, and its quality is the result of efforts to produce power with a light wind, such as could be developed with a bellows operated by hand or foot power. The tone is not well suited to small, unresonant buildings, but in large buildings with good acoustics will provide a striking brilliance to the Swell. The 16' French Trumpet on a 5 inch wind, makes an ideal double reed for the Swell organ, free from the usual heavy thickness of the conventional double reed. A fine example of this reed will be found in Trinity Church, Boston [Massachusetts, USA].

Regarding the French Trumpet of the theatre organ, Strony says:

This stop appeared on instruments by many builders. There were as many different results. Some examples are very similar in color to a Wurlitzer Brass Trumpet. Indeed, the pipes are flared similarly to the Brass Trumpet. Other examples breathe fire, and lean more toward the English Post Horn.

Al Sefl reports that this stop appeared on Wurlitzer's “Gaumont special” organs going to the United Kingdom, and had a more traditional construction and scaling than other Wurlitzer trumpets. Why they chose to label the rank “French” is not completely understood, as this same rank was named simply “Trumpet” on their church and home installations in the USA.

See also Brass Trumpet, Style D Trumpet.


Osiris contains 19 examples.

French Trumpet 8', Swell; Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Los-Angeles, California, USA; Skinner 1928.

French Trumpet 8', Swell; Princeton University Chapel, Princeton, New Jersey, USA; Skinner 1927.

French Trumpet; Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn, London, England; Wurlitzer 1937.


Irwin[1]: Trompette. Skinner[1]: XII French Trumpet. Strony[1]: French Trumpet. Private correspondence.
Copyright © 2001 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
FrenchTrumpet.html - Last updated 6 January 2002.
Full Index