Unprofitable Instruments

Tromba Marina

Tromba Marina engraving

The Baroque trumpet marine is a marvelous instrument. Its single string is nearly two meters long, and is played entirely with harmonics. A vibrating bridge amplifies the sound and creates a brassy buzz. This instrument is a copy of an extant instrument by Johann Ulrich Fischer in 1720.

  • Maple body, seven-stave back, carved head
  • Sitka spruce soundboard
  • Blacksmith-made ratchet and pawl
  • Removable neck, optional
  • Internal sympathetic strings (21), optional

Tromba Marina, front view

Tromba Marina, back view

Gallery

Playing the Tromba Marina

Showing resting position on shoulder

Three tromba marinas

Three tromba marinas (back)

Detail of back of instrument

Detail of decorative dragon

Detail of decorative lion

What does it sound like?

In the spring of 2001 I was able to work with the 7th grade orchestra at Chippewa Middle School, and perform a few movements of "Suite d' Air" by Prin. Here is an audio clip.

Tromba Marina in concert

Here is another audio clip of the solo trumpet marine.

Air on the Tromba Marina