The ancestors of the modern trumpet have been a part of human culture for a very long time. Old trumpet-like instruments played by ancient peoples were made of conch-shell, animal horn, wood or metal. Throughout history the trumpet has been used to sound alarms, gather people together, as a call to war, and to add luster to parade music. Like the violin, the trumpet is the smallest member of its family and plays the highest pitches with its bright and vibrant sound. Today's modern trumpet is a slender brass pipe with three attached valves, which is curved and bent into long loops. If you stretched out the trumpet to its full length, it would be 6 ½ feet long! There are 2 to 4 trumpets in an orchestra and they play both melody and harmony and also support the rhythm. You play the trumpet by holding it horizontally, buzzing your lips into the mouthpiece, and pressing down the three valves in various combinations to change pitch.