The golden age of high-pitched trumpets was the baroque period. For baroque musicians, the sound ideal was the human voice. The clarino notes, which were extremely difficult to play on the long baroque trumpet, sounded delicate and clear, like a flute, and resembled the treble, the highest-pitched singing voice of the period, more than any other instrument. The baroque clarino notes are the next step in taking the human voice up toward heaven, and thus symbolize man’s striving for God.
In this quest for perfection the art of clarino playing – of playing the highest naturals in the trumpet’s range – was literally carried to new heights.
The clarino playing technique gradually replaced deep military trumpets as symbols of court representation. The higher-pitched trumpets were regarded as refined and noble; clarino playing was associated with high standing and social status, because the musicians played at court – for emperors and princes – and not for the “peasant rabble”.
Bach trumpet in F, Mainz, Germany, brothers Alexander, perhaps 1952. Specially developed in 1934 for performances of J.S. Bach’s music (Musikinstrumentenmuseum Schloss Kremsegg, Austria, Streitwieser collection)