Kids' Commute: Weird Instruments - Sackbut

May 5, 2015

Learn about "Weird Instruments" this week on Kids' Commute!

This week on Kids’ Commute, get ready for some weirdness! From the Sackbut, to the Hurdy-Gurdy, to the Theremin, we’re going to have fun exploring some of the craziest and weirdest instruments on the planet! 

Are you ready to get “weirded out?!”

The sackbut is a very old form of a trombone. It’s so old, that it dates back to the 1400’s. Like a trombone, the sackbut has a slider, a long piece of metal that you push back and forth. This either shortens or extends the tubes of the instrument, thereby changing the pitch of the instrument. 


The term “sackbut” most likely came from either from French or Spanish words, meaning to “push” or “pull.” Again, remember the action required to play the trombone- that will give you a great idea of the pushing and pulling motion. 

Now, it also sounds a lot like the trombone, but it has a bit more of a “reedy” sound to it, like a woodwinds instrument.

Does the sackbut sound a little funny to your ears?

Music piece for today:
Sonata by Giovanni Priuli, performed by the QuintEssential Sackbut and Cornett Ensemble

Here's a video from the Piffaro Renaissance Band, explaining how the sackbut works:

Listen to the Kids’ Commute live on Classical IPR every weekday morning at 7:40am or listen to the archived episode at the top of the post.