The heraldic trumpet or Clarion

“… doppo della adunanza sonarono tutte le campane, e le trombe
 e fù anco bandito che tutte le compagnie ballassero
 per la venuta del signor Braccio,
 e molta gente del contado concorse nella città”
ms 1211 Biblioteca Augusta di Perugia
Annali di Perugia nel 1407 sino al 1600 – Timoteo Bottoni(o)

… after the assembly all the bells and trumpets rang
And it was also established that all the companies should have danced
For the arrival of the Lord Braccio,
And many people from the countryside reached the City
manuscript 1211 Augusta Library of Perugia
Annals of Perugia in 1407 until 1600 – Timoteo Bottoni(o)

The word “heraldic trumpet”, more specific and pertinent of the common word “Clarion”, referred to a musical instrument of the “tubicines” family, brass instruments which passed through the roman epoch until nowadays: ancient but refined instruments, with loud sound and difficult to play.

From the “buccine”, long and bell-bottom shaped, hang off banners and standards, usually marked by emblems or inscription which revealing the belonging reign, city, noble family or guild.

The sound, coming out from a mouthpiece, external or in the pipe, take advantage from the natural sequences of the harmonic, produced by the increasing of the internal pressure.

In the Medieval and Renaissance iconography the instrument has been represented to give strength to the scenes augmenting the evocative sensation of the sound or the drama of the event. In the realistic pictorial traditions, the appearances and materials of those brass instruments were different depending on the prosperity of the surrounding and the painters. They changed from simple and linear shapes to elaborate high-ranking handicraft and jewellery objects. Starting from humbler materials as brass, copper, lead and wood they can also be made even of ivory and silver with golden pendants. The ancient instruments, ancestors of the modern ones, recalled animal horns and big shells appearances.

Associated to the bell of the Comuno (ancient form of municipality) and to the drums, the heraldic trumpet was used to scan solemn and celebration moments, while during the battles to underline the stride of the garrison, exalting the troops order. The distinct and vivid sound of high volume, perceptible from far away, is the auditory expression of the mythical figures’ strength, like Aeolus, Triton or captains of the past.