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Here Comes The...Trumpet: State Trumpeters Test New Kit

‘Smith-Watkins’ brass instrument makers have received a commission from the Ministry of Defence for 20 new fanfare trumpets.

The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry have paid a visit to a small workshop in Yorkshire to test out some brand new kit.

‘Smith-Watkins’ brass instrument makers make everything by hand and a few months ago they received a commission from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 20 new fanfare trumpets.

These will be used at state occasions, which could potentially include the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Dr Richard Smith, Managing Director at Smith-Watkins said: "The history of these particular instruments, as far as I can tell, goes back at least to the 13th century when they were straight instruments and very long, and very awkward to play.

"Ever since then, they have been used for royalty, and emperors, to announce the royal person is coming in."

State Fanfare Trumpet

The instruments were originally six feet long, making them incredibly difficult to play as well as march with. In the following century, they were bent into an 'S' shape and are now more of the style of trumpet we see today.

Each trumpet only has a few playable notes and was traditionally used as a signalling instrument to give calls to the troops on land and at sea.

Now they are routinely played at events of great national significance, including the Troop of the Colour, the State Opening of Parliament and the Festival of Remembrance. 

In total 20 Smith-Watkins fanfare trumpets will be made and so far five have been created.

Members of the Household Cavalry arrived at the workshop in North Yorkshire to try out the first five.

Staff Corporal Philip Bishop explains what they're looking out for when testing them out.

"There could be tiny holes in it which you will notice because the sound won't be as strong. There also could be bits of debris left inside from the manufacturing process."

State Fanfare Trumpet

After testing the first five state trumpets Corporal Russ Danckert described them as "great." 

"The state fanfare trumpet is a more natural trumpet so it's very different to something you would normally play. It's quite an unusual specific instrument."

In the weeks to come the order will be completed and so far the Household Cavalry seem happy with the results. 

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