Pitched to Bb, the soprano trombone was developed in the late 17th century and its high pitch made it ideal for playing the treble part in chorales. By the late 18th century, it was used often in orchestral music and many famous jazz trumpet/cornet players were spotted playing it in the 1920s, including Louis Armstrong and Freddie Keppard. Soprano trombones are definitely among the least common members of the trombone family, but a few well-known and respected brass instrument manufacturers still produce soprano trombone models today.
The soprano trombone is also known as a slide trumpet - in fact, it has a near-identical tone to the standard Bb valve trumpet. There are, however, some differences between the soprano trombone and the trumpet. The major difference between the two instruments is that the soprano trombone has a free-blowing feel, which makes for terrific tone production. Typically though, music for the instrument is written as if it were to be played by a trumpeter.
For a perfect example of what kind of soprano trombones can be found on today's market, look no further than the Miraphone 63 Soprano Trombone / Slide Trumpet. Boasting a .430-.450" dual bore, a 4.75" yellow brass bell and nickel-silver outer slide, this quality German-made soprano trombone is perfect for playing Moravian trombone music and it even comes with a deluxe molded plastic case. Give the Miraphone 63 a shot and see for yourself why many consider it the best soprano trombone in the world today.
Sure, the tenor trombone and bass trombone are the most popular - but that's just what makes the soprano trombone all the more charming and fascinating. If you never played the soprano trombone but are strongly considering taking up this unique brass instrument, there's no better time than now to see what you're missing.