Trumpet, French trompette, German Trompete , brass wind musical instrument sounded by lip vibration against a cup mouthpiece. As a signaling device, trumpets have a very long history, dating back to at least 1500 BC; they have been used as musical instruments since the 15th century. They are played by blowing air through almost-closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound that starts a standing wave vibration in the air column inside the instrument. Since the late 15th century they have primarily been constructed of brass tubing, usually bent twice into a rounded oblong shape. There are several types of trumpet. The most common is a transposing pitched in B♭ with a tubing length of about 1.48 m (4 ft 10 in). Earlier trumpets did not have valves, but modern instruments generally have either three piston valves or, more rarely, three rotary valvs. Each valve increases the length of tubing when engaged, thereby lowering the pitch. A musician who plays the trumpet is called a trumpet player or trumpeter.