In Shab. 36a (comp. Suk. 34a) it is noted that since the destruction of the Temple the names for the shofar and the trumpet had been confused. The same complaint may be made against the Septuagint, which generally renders the Hebrew "shofar" by σάλπιρξ, properly applicable only to the ḥaẓoẓerah, and against the English versions, which render it by "trumpet" or, still more incorrectly, by "cornet." In the Hebrew text the distinction between Shofar and trumpet is well maintained, as may be seen from such passages as Ps. xcviii. 6 and I Chron. xv. 28, where "shofar" and "ḥaẓoẓerah" are mentioned side by side.
In Num. x. 1 et seq. two trumpets of beaten silver are ordered to be made, and, according to II Chron. v. 12, the number was increased in Solomon's Temple to 120; while, judging from the representation on the Arch of Titus, in the Herodian Temple the number was reduced to the original two. Besides the shofar, the trumpet is the only musical instrument of the Old Testament concerning whose shape there is absolute certainty, there being extant a detailed description of it in Josephus and representations on the Arch of Titus and on a Bar Kokba coin. According to Josephus ("Ant." iii. 12, § 6), the trumpet was nearly a yard long and a little wider than a flute, with a slight expansion near the mouthpiece to catch the breath, and terminated in a bell. This description tallies better with the representation on the Bar Kokba coin than with that of the two trumpets leaning against the table of show-bread on the Arch of Titus.
The trumpet, like the shofar, was not so much an instrument of music as one of "teru'ah" (noise), that is, of alarm and for signaling. Its primary use was to give signals to the people and their chiefs to assemble and to break camp (Num. x. 5 et seq., 9, where the manner of blowing is specified so as to indicate the different signals intended); also generally to announce an important event and to aid in the joyous shouting of the people on festive occasions (II Kings xi. 14; Hos. v. 8; Ps. xcviii. 6, cl. 3). But its chief use, at least in later times, was religious; and it was therefore almost exclusively a priestly instrument (Num. x. 8, xxxi. 6; II Chron. xiii. 12, 14). It was sounded on New Moons; at the daily offerings; and during the pauses in the singing of the Psalms, when the people fell down and worshiped (Num. x. 10; II Chron. xxix. 26-28; Tamid vii. 3; comp. Ecclus. [Sirach] l. 16 et seq.; I Mace. iv. 40, v. 33). Altogether from twenty-one to forty-eight trumpet-blasts are said to have been sounded daily in the Temple (Suk. 53b). The sound of the trumpet also accompanied the joyous ceremony of water-drawing on the Feast of Tabernacles (ib. 51b); and a blast of trumpets announced the beginning and close of the Sabbath (ib. 53b; Shab. 35b). As the shofar was the instrument par excellence of New-Year's Day, so was the trumpet that of solemn fastdays (R. II. 26b; Ta'an. 15b, 16b).
From Neh. xii. 41 and I Chron. xv. 24 it has been inferred that there were seven trumpets in the Temple orchestra (comp. Stade's "Zeitschrift," 1899, p. 329).
- Adler and Casanowicz, Biblical Antiquities, in Report of the U. S. National Museum for 1896, p. 977;
- Brown, Musical Instruments and Their Names, New York, 1880;
- H. Grossmann, Musik und Musik-Instrumente im Alten Testament, Giessen, 1903;
- Pfeiffer, Die Musik der Alten Hebräer, 1779;
- Psalms, in S. B. O. T. (Eng. ed.) p. 220;
- Johann Weiss, Die Musikalischen Instrumente in den Heiligen Schriften Alten Testaments, Gratz, 1895.