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Elements of Brass Instrument Construction: Périnet Valves

Piston Valves

The piston valve consists of a cylindrical outer casing (a) and the piston (b) inside, which fits tightly within the outer casing. The valve loop (c), as well as the main tubing (d), are soldered to the outer casing. The piston is perforated with ports (e) that lead the air stream either straight through the main tubing or into the valve loop. The valve loop is disengaged or engaged by the up-and-down movement of the piston within the casing that aligns the ports either with the main tubing or the valve loop.

Example of a top-sprung Périnet valve

Périnet Valves

The Périnet valve is named after François Périnet, the Parisian who invented this type of piston valve in 1838 and patented it the following year. The valve loops are arranged in such a way that the inlet tubing is positioned on a different level than the outlet tubing. The piston is held at rest by a spring, which is placed either on top (top-sprung) or below (bottom-sprung) the piston. The Périnet valve is now the standard for trumpets in most countries (except Germany and Austria), and is often simply called the "piston valve."

Photograph of a top-sprung Périnet valve with removable baluster and spring.

Top-sprung Périnet Valve

Parts of a piston valve (letters refer to diagrams at right):

a = valve casing
b = piston
c = valve loop with slide
d = main tubing
e = port
f = touchpiece, finger tip, lever
g = valve stem
h = top valve cap
i = baluster
k = lower valve cap
l = return spring
m = guiding slot in stem/piston
n = key
o = keyway for piston valve guide in casing


Note: darker areas indicate ports at the back of the piston.

Top-sprung Périnet valve

Bottom-sprung Périnet Valve

Parts of a piston valve (letters refer to diagrams at right):

a = valve casing
b = piston
c = valve loop with slide
d = main tubing
e = port
f = touchpiece, finger tip, lever
g = valve stem
h = top valve cap
k = lower valve cap
l = return spring
n = key
o = keyway for piston valve guide in casing

Note: darker areas indicate ports at the back of the piston.

Bottom-sprung Périnet valve

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