Brass Trumpet (Wurlitzer)
Brass Trumpet (Wurlitzer)
Compton Trumpet
Compton Trumpet

The dynamics of the orchestral instrument are difficult to imitate and whilst the role of the organ trumpet is also to reinforce the ensemble or provide a striking solo, the tone varies equally.

Metal, tapered resonators, or spun brass bells.

Pipe metal trumpets, on theatre organs, span a range from restrained smoothness to spiky fire. Brass trumpets, something of a Wurlitzer speciality, have a characteristic loud ‘coo’ but are not as strident as their appearance might suggest. Because of this range, the tonality is noted below against the typical stop names for each builder. W = Wurlitzer, C = Compton, Ch = Christie.


Trumpet (W)

Of pipe-metal, a relatively quiet and smooth stop which in the better examples develops a slight edge imitating the tounging of the trumpeter. Such examples benefit from good tremulation. Sometimes referred to as a ‘Style D trumpet’ after the Wurlitzer models they most frequently appeared on.

If brass (and there is no way of telling from the original stopkeys), are louder and with a characteristic timbre induced by the brass bell. Whilst perhaps not totally convincing in an untremulated chorus, they are a distinctive and useful solo stop and ensemble-builder with tremulant.

Trumpet (C)

Loud, assertive chorus reed with plenty of harmonics, capable (untremulated) of putting real fire into a convincing straight chorus. Equally, when combined untremulated with the Tuba, can produce quite explosive interjections and fanfares. Those examples lucky enough to enjoy a deep tremulant also ‘come to life’ as a lyrical solo stop, almost cello-like in the tenor.

Trumpet (Ch)
Orchestral Trumpet (C/Ch)

Usually the keenest, most fiery trumpet. Approaching an English Horn in harmonic development and attack, they have a more balanced structure of overtones that allows blend with the ensemble at pitches other than 16′.

Muted Trumpet

Bright reed stop used for both solo and ensemble work. Specified by John Compton and frequently found on smaller instruments, fulfilling a hybrid role between colour and chorus reed, not unlike the incisive role of the orchestral muted brass.

Metal; flared resonators with small regulating slot and bell.

Midway between English Horn and Orchestral Oboe in tonality and power. On larger instruments with ‘large’ Trumpets, stops of this construction would be labelled ‘Orchestral Oboe’.

French Trumpet (W)

Wurlitzer’s closest attempt at a Compton Trumpet, but with a slight nasality.

French Trumpet (Ch)

Close equivalent to Orchestral Trumpet, found especially on later Christies.


16′ extension of the stop.