Contra Trumpet English
Contre Trompette French
Double Trumpet English

A Trumpet stop pitched an octave lower than normal, at 16' or 32'. Wedgwood and Maclean maintain that it is usually identical with or slightly more powerful than the Contra Fagotto. Hopkins & Rimbault characterize its tone as weaker than the unison Trumpet; Irwin calls it free, brilliant and fiery. Strony reports that “no theatre organ builder made a practice of building Trumpets that extended all the way down to 16' pitch”; thus theatre organ Double Trumpets ended at tenor C.


Tenoroon Trumpet


Osiris contains about six dozen examples of Double Trumpet, all at 16' pitch except for one at 32', and four at 8' and 4' which are ill-named extensions of 16' stops. Osiris also contains five examples of Contra Trumpet, all at 16' pitch, and thirteen examples of Contre Trompette, all in organs in the USA dating from the second half of the 20th century and all at 16' pitch except for one each at 32' and 8', the latter most likely a misprint.

Double Trumpet 16', Great; Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland; Hill 1861. This is the earliest known example.

Contre Trompette 32', Pedal; Central Presbyterian Church, Des Moines, Iowa, USA; Aeolian-Skinner 1964.

Double Trumpet 32', Pedal; Jordan Abbey, Bath, England; Hill, Norman & Beard 1972.

Contra Trumpet 16', Pedal; SS. Peter & Paul RC Church, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA; Austin 1955.

Contre Trompette 16', Recit; Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, California, USA; Ruffatti 1984.

Double Trumpet 16', Pedal, Great Solo; Riverview Roller Rink, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Wurlitzer. Note that contrary to Strony's report, this stop was full compass. The instrument is reportedly no longer extant.


Audsley[1]: Double Trumpet. Audsley[2]: I.XIII Double Trumpet; II.XXXVIII Double Trumpet. Bonavia-Hunt[1]: Trumpet. Grove[1]: Double Hopkins & Rimbault[1]: § 638. Irwin[1]: Contra Trumpet. Maclean[1]: Contra Fagotto. Strony[1]: Double Trumpet. Wedgwood[1]: Bassoon; Trumpet.
Copyright © 2001 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
ContraTrumpet.html - Last updated 21 April 2002.
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