The sackbut is an early version of the trombone. It is thought that its name comes from two French words – sacquer (to draw out) and bouter (to shove) – describing the action of the player’s arm, moving the metal slide back and forth to play different notes.

The sackbut has a smaller bell opening than the modern trombone and has a softer, mellower sound. The instruments came in different sizes including soprano, alto , tenor, and bass – just like the voices in a choir. They were often played in groups, with many different sized sackbuts playing together, or with other instruments such as cornetts and organ as a support for choral music.

This sackbut was made in Nuremberg in 1594. At this time Nuremberg was particularly famous for making very high quality brass instruments.

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Video: Susan Addison play the tenor sackbut