Biblical Brass

Brass instruments go back to at least Biblical times—the ancient Hebrews had them. But being a nomadic shepherding society, making metal tubes would have been beyond them. In fact, making metal pipes received its big impetus in the late Middle Ages to make gun barrels that didn’t blow up, and plenty of them. It’s odd to think that without some medieval Smith & Wesson we might not have trombones today.

Meanwhile, although the ancient Hebrews didn’t have metal pipes, they did have sheep aplenty, and rams horns by the cubic cubit. From which they made a simple trumpet called the ‘shofar’. One wonders at the battle of Jericho, if the walls hadn’t come tumbling down to the sound of hundreds of shofars, if the inhabitants wouldn’t have come running out covering their ears and surrendering instead.

Fortunately for us, our brass players this morning left their shofars at home and brought their modern trumpets, trombones and tuba.