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Sentence to think about :  In the busy world of show business, it is not necessary to be a good musician to be familiar with the music.  Pierre Dac
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Sentence to think about :  The vase gives form to the emptiness, and music to silence.  Georges Braque
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Sentence to think about :  The real music is silence, and all notes are framed by silence.  Miles Davis
Sentence to think about :  The music, the most beautiful religion in the world where we are not threatened or promised.  Minou Drouet
Sentence to think about :  Jazz is what allows us to escape from everyday life.  Stéphane Grappelli
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The french horn

The horn

Double horn F / Bb, flag screw, painted gold

The valve horn or French horn is a wind instrument of the brass family sweet.

Even if he has a family resemblance with the hunting horn, the sound of this instrument is very different. It is sometimes majestic and triumphant, sometimes soft and slightly melancholy. The valve horn is present in the symphony orchestra, numerous chamber ensembles and orchestras in harmony and is also often solicited in the film music of all kinds, for cartoons and sound effects...

The mouth of the horn is small and conical inner shape, different from those of the trumpet and trombone are hemispheric and wider. This conical shape is found all along the tube up to the flag. We then say that this instrument is conical bore, as are all soft brass (the cornet, the saxhorns ...). This gives the sweetness pierces the sound of these instruments, unlike the cylindrical bore of brass light (like a trumpet) that produces a brighter sound.

The horn produces the notes in the range of vibrating lips on the mouth. His left hand active three (four or five) pallets (or more rarely piston) for changing the pitch. His right hand is placed in the bell to support the instrument. It also helps to correct intonation, or make sounds plugged. The performer can also be asked to use a damper to reduce the sound.

Two ways to play the horn clashed during the XXth century:

  • that very easily recognizable vibrato permanent (persistent trembling of his because of the performer). Represented in France by John Devemy example.
  • the more Anglo-Saxon with sustained notes (not shaking).

Today, as "Anglo-Saxon" is used by most professional horn players. However, horn players like Peter Damm, Hermann Baumann , Francis Orval and James Sommerville still use vibrato.


Early horns were made from natural conical pipes, such as animal horns or shells.

Those ivory called "olifants" or fallopian knight.

The animal's horn is quickly replaced by tubes designed by man. For example, the Indians were making straight trunks of wood.

The horn is an instrument found in many mountainous regions of Europe, in Finland, but also in Tibet.

First we will be gradually abandoned and replaced by metal. It will be possible to give its curved shape. In 1636, Father Mersenne describes a horn wound in seven spirals can play as many notes as the trumpet, or sixteen notes.

The horn was originally designed to transmit warning signals encoded, communicate messages, for ritual and magic. The warrior Roland (see The Song of Roland) calls for help using a horn.

It was then used in the Middle Ages to announce mealtimes and military marches.

The horn has undergone many changes since it was considered too small in the XVIth century, and too big under Louis XIV. It is finally the reign of Louis XV it acquires its final form.

From the war of 1741, the French infantry began using the borrowed horn Hanoverians.

In the middle of the XVIIIth century, French makers add in the sound circuit segments of additional tubes (called body parts) to change at will the fundamental and obtain new series of harmonics .

The three piston valve horn was not invented until the XIXth century. The latest development is the horn in F (for single horn), in F / Bb (for double horns) in B or F / Bb (for triple horns, rare).

Different types of horns

Viennese Horn
  • The hunting horn in Eb transposing instrument is used for hunting with hounds, the bands of the regiments of Alpine, in batteries, bands, just as the trumpet prescription.
  • The hunting horn, transposing instrument in D, is intended to ringtones to revere. Instrument legendary hunting and princely homes. The hunting horn differs from the horn by his tone .
  • The natural horn, horn of harmony not using the system palettes, or pistons, to get the whole range. It includes a set of "colors" pipes of suitable length for each tone. For each tone, horn player gets all the notes of the scale by stopping more or less the flag with his hand.
  • The Alphorn is softwood. It is carved into the trunk of a tree grown in the mountainside, to get a bent shape.
  • The Wagner tuba or saxotrombas, form close to the tuba, but played by horn players.
  • The Viennese horn, used traditionally in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • The mellophone is a horn that is shaped like a trumpet (used then the flag in front) and used in the orchestras of jazz and marching bands (including the U.S.).


The 2007 Guinness Book of Records ranked the horn of the two musical instruments more difficult to play (the other being the oboe).

(Source: - copyright authors - article under GFDL)

Creation date : 11/02/2009 13:07
Last update : 04/04/2009 16:32
Category : Files - Instruments-Brass
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