The origins of the Trombone
Other similar instruments
Trombones were long ago used for soprano and alto parts
It seems that trombones were been made in a variety of ranges approximating the ranges of the human voice, and at one time there were soprano, alto, tenor, and bass trombones. However, soprano trombones were no longer in use from the Baroque period (from the 17th century to the first half of the 18th century), and now trombones are often used only for tenor parts.
Incidentally, trombones have a range extending one octave lower than that of trumpets, giving trombones a somewhat wider range.
Various different trombones
The range chart of the trombone
The tenor trombone is the standard trombone
The standard trombone is the tenor trombone. It is used in a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, wind-instrument music, jazz, and pop music.
* Trombones are generally played by extending and shortening the slide, which changes the length of the tubing and thus the pitch of the sound. The slide needs to be extended farther and farther from the body to reach positions far from the body, so some unique technology is required to play the instrument smoothly. Tenorbass trombones, introduced in the next section, are designed with an extra attachment of tubing that allows the same pitch to be played without the player having to extend his or her arm so far.
Tenorbass trombones: Also recommended for smaller players
Tenor trombones are equipped with a piece of tubing called an "F attachment" and feature an expanded bass range. Using an "F attachment" provides another benefit: the instrument can be played without having to use positions far from the body. This makes these instruments well-suited for beginners and smaller players. However, large bore tenorbass trombones require the player to be able to blow a lot of air into the instrument. They are therefore suited only for advanced players. Medium bore instruments are recommended for beginners.
Bass trombones demonstrate their strength in the bass range
Bass trombones feature an even wider tube than tenorbass trombones, and are equipped with one or two pieces of tubing to supplement its bass range. Other than the tube being wider, these instruments are generally identical to tenorbass trombones. However, they use a mouthpiece with a larger diameter to make it easier to produce lower sounds.