The trombone (Ger. Posaune, Sp. trombón) is a musical instrument in the brass family. Like all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player’s vibrating lips (embouchure) cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate. The trombone is usually characterised by a telescopic slide with which the player varies the length of the tube to change pitches, although the valve trombone uses three valves like those on a trumpet.
The word trombone derives from Italian tromba (trumpet) and -one (a suffix meaning "large"), so the name means "large trumpet". The trombone has a predominantly cylindrical bore like its valved counterpart the baritone horn and in contrast to its conical valved counterparts, the euphonium and the orchestral horn. The most frequently encountered trombones are the tenor trombone and bass trombone.
Today, the trombone can be found in wind ensembles/concert bands, symphony orchestras, marching bands, military bands, brass bands, and brass choirs. In chamber music, it is used in brass quintets, quartets, or trios, or trombone trios, quartets, or choirs. The size of a trombone choir can vary greatly from five or six to twenty or more members.
Trombones are also common in swing, jazz, merengue, salsa (Jimmy Bosch, Luis Bonilla, and Willie Colón serving as three prominent examples), rock (prominent examples: Bill Reichenbach and James Pankow), R&B, ska (prominent example: Don Drummond), and New Orleans brass bands (prominent example: Trombone Shorty).