A string instrument with the sound of a trumpet

La tête d'une licorne sculptée sur la trompette marine

The tromba marina (or marine trumpet) is an instrument used for accompanyment. Why does it have the strange name "Marine Trumpet"? No one knows exactly. "Trumpet", probably because the instrument plays the same range of natural harmonics as the early trumpets. "Marine", possibly a deformation of the word "Maria" because the marine trumpet would have been found in convents and used by nuns. The instrument is a bowed string instrument with one long string that is used to obtain harmonics notes.

L'ouïe décoré en forme d'une fenêtre gothique

The bridge is unique; it rests on two feet; one acting as a pivot and the other acting as a hammer striking the soundboard from the vibrations of the heavy string. This creates a very metallic sound and is accentuated by numerous sympathetic strings that resonate within the body of instrument; the overall effect is very similar to a real trumpet.

The body, neck and sculpted head of the instrument shown is from cherry, the soundboard is from red cedar and the decoration is from boxwood.


The tromba marina disappeared during the 18th century.