Showing posts with label horn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horn. Show all posts

Friday, July 22, 2016

Do You Want to Learn the FRENCH HORN?

The French horn is the second highest sounding member of the brass family and produces a full and mellow tone. It is the best known member of the horn family and the one you see most often in the orchestra.

French Horn - Photo Wikipedia
It consists of a tube of conical bore coiled into a spiral shape. At the blowing end its bore is around 1/4 inch wide ( 6.2 mm ) and it widens into a bell of about 11-14 inches wide ( 28 - 36 cm )
The french horn developed over the years in several stages as follows.

1.From the Hunting Horn or signalling instrument, which consisted of a tube bent round in a simple curve over the players shoulder. The french horn was used regularly in 18 century orchestras in music that need an outdoor, hunting sound.

2. By use of Crooks:
These were extra pieces of metal tubing add to the horn to create extra length. They were detachable and there were seven different sized ones.

The reason for addition of crooks was that composers wanted to write less limiting pieces for the french horn and the extra tube lengths created more notes and allowed the players to have music written in more keys.

3.By use of Three Valves:
These were introduced in 1830 with use of extra tubing built into the main body.They replaced the crooks as they served the same function. When the player press the valves either separately or in any combination extra sections of tubing are added and hence different notes. This invention provided the instrument as we know it today which is a flexible instrument that has a range of notes spanning over three and half octaves and the ability to play in any key. The french horn is usually pitched in the key of F

French horn players produce a sound the same way as any other brass instrument. The sound starts from a persons' lips buzzing into a mouthpiece. The air then vibrates through the tubing of the instrument. The less tubing the higher the pitch. The more tubing the lower the pitch. The pitch can also be changed by the tightening or loosening of a person's embouchure or mouth position. Hence when a player moves a valve or two or three in various combinations then this alters the tubing length and the note pitch. Placing the hand or a mute in the bell will also change the pitch.

French horn players read music written on the treble clef most of the time but the bass clef is used if the music is low and stays low.


The french horn is commonly found in orchestras and brass bands. There are no french horns in a marching band but french horn players play the mellophone which is also a brass instrument with three valves, operated with the right hand and fingering identical to that of a trumpet. A marching band needs projection of the sound in the direction that the player is facing and a mellophone has its bell in the front.

Dennis Brain, born on 17 May 1921 and died 1 September 1957 was a British virtuoso horn player. Much credit was given to him for popularizing the horn as a solo classical instrument. He recorded Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Horn Concertos with Herbert von Karajanthe, a conductor, and the London Philharmonia Orchestra.



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

From Ancient Horns To BRASS ENSEMBLES

Whether you are watching a parade, listening to an orchestra, or attending a jazz ensemble nothing can capture your attention more than when the brass instruments play. They are bold, rich, exciting, and majestic. They have a certain unique regal tone that commands people to sit up and take notice.

Soprano Cornet
Soprano Cornet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interestingly though, just because they are called brass instruments does not mean that they are just made of brass. Other materials that have been used in their construction include wood, cane, horn, tusk, clay, and even crystal. In addition, most saxophones and flutes and many clarinets are made of brass, but are categorized as woodwind instruments, not brass instruments.

Brass instruments have descended from ancient horns. Their first use was in military, royal, or hunting contexts. Curt Sachs reported that even around 1250BC the si-im was played which is depicted as a short and thick horn played with a large frame drum. There was evidence found that around 1400BC straight trumpets were played by soldiers. A trumpet-shaped music instrument was even found in Tutankhamen's tomb. It was not until the late 1600's that brass instruments acquired a new role as an art instrument. During this time, physical alterations were made to them to allow for improved ease of fingering and made blowing less effortful. These improvements enhanced their artistic role and they became a regular member of the orchestra.

By the 1830's the first brass bands came into existence, most notably in England, Wales, and the United States. The first one in the U.S. was established by Allen Dodworth in 1834 as the Brass Band of New York. Beginning in 1860, mechanical changes were made which gave every instrument a complete scale of notes throughout the range. With these enhancements brass instruments took on an even stronger, clearer, crisper sound. By 1900 there was an explosion in their popularity. Almost every park built a bandstand gazebo and some brass bands attracted 10-20,000 people. Their popularity declined after World War II, but increased again in 1960.

Today, brass bands, or brass ensembles as they are more commonly called, continue to include brass instruments such as French horns, trumpets, euphoniums, tubas, trombones, etc. These groups play classical, Broadway, show tunes, marches, and pop/rock music. Some ensembles are not such brass instrument purists and include other instruments such as woodwind instruments, percussion instruments, bass, guitars, or keyboards. With additional instruments, a wider array of musical mixes can be played, such as Dixieland, jazz, rock, blues, or funk. An advantage of being in a brass ensemble is that the players have the freedom to take on roles usually reserved for other instruments. When in a brass ensemble each player has a responsibility to work as a team so not one person or music instrument dominates the sound. The focus of the group is cohesiveness with one mutual goal and a flexibility to accept other's ideas.


Brass instruments have had a long history since ancient times. They have acquired popularity through their ability to produce a rich, bold, exciting sound and their prevalence in so many musical genres. When we hear brass instruments we tend to pay attention and listen. If you would like to pursue your musical aspirations, you will find highly crafted brass instruments at very reasonable prices at http://www.djmusicstore.co.


    By Dianna Joseph
    Dianna Joseph is the owner of DJ Music Store. She is a saxophonist, novice pianist, and novice guitarist. In addition, she is an occupational therapist who works with a host of disabilities utilizing sensory integration and neurodevelopmental therapy in combination with music and a variety of other techniques to assist these persons in achieving the highest level of function and quality of life possible.
    Article Source: EzineArticles