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Trumpa Fáda

original dates to circa 200 BC

Trumpa Fáda – (long trumpet as Gaeilge). Key of B

The ‘trumpa fáda’ is the longest of the Iron Age trumpet family of Ireland and Britain. It is unusual in that two people are required to play and parade it. The bell or conical end is held up above the head of the carrier in front on a pole, while the player follows behind. It was made by John Creed in Glasgow in 2002 for a project to examine a number of reproductions of ancient instruments. Copies of horns and trumpets from antiquity were tested for their acoustic properties by Prof. Murray Campbell, Physics and Astronomy Department in the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. As part of the testing, John Creed attempted to use the original method of riveting rather than welding to fashion the two tubes. The original had 1,094 rivets holding it together. It soon became apparent that this much riveting was not viable in terms of the hours required to craft it. Prof.  Murray Campbell was approached for his opinion on whether welding would affect the musical properties of the new instrument. He advised that it would not change the musical properties having the tube welded together instead of rivets along it’s length. To this end the instrument was welded. After the testing, the trumpa fáda was given over to the keeping of Ancient Music Ireland. In 2016 during a detailed examination of the original instrument a comparison was made between the two. It became apparent that the reproduction was 5 cm shorter than the original instrument. Consequently, this extra length was added and the tuning on the reproduction became accurate.

O’Dwyer, S. Ancient Music and Instruments of Ireland and Britain. Pages 67-84 and 133-152.


In 2014 it was decided to look again at the original trumpet to seek evidence of wear on its surface which might indicate the way in which it had been presented.  The opportunity was also taken to conduct lazer metal analysis on the alloys in the two tubes.   An endoscope would allow for the rivet heads on the inside of the conical tube to be observed close-up.  There were three obvious areas of wear on the trumpet.  Two on the cylindrical tube indicated the position of the players hands.  The third was on the inside curve of the conical tube behind the open bell which indicated the place where a bracket on the top of a pole would have been positioned to hold up the trumpet.

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