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Thread: Early Horns

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    Did you know that early horns were just a metal tube wound a few times with a bell-shaped opening? They were first used by huntsmen, who could play them using only one hand, and made a limited set of notes by changing the frequency of the vibration of their lips. Different notes are still made by changes in lip vibration today, but this is helped, of course, by 3 to 5 valves that are pressed in different combinations, to make more notes possible.

    In the mid 1700's, the player started using two hands to play the horn, and it didn't only consist of wound brass tubing. There were also a set of crooks, pieces of brass tubing of various lengths, that the horn player inserted and removed during the performance to make the horn able to play higher or lower notes. The player also put his hand in the bell, and the hand became like an extension of the tubing, for a different set of harmonics. This was when the horn first started to be a melodic instrument.

    It was not until 1815 that the horn was reworked and given valves. THe F- horn became standard, and had three valves. The problem with the F-horn though, was that the higher it went, the more precise the player had to make the differences in embouchure, to keep the nortes in tune, and it was difficult. So some started using a higher horn-- the B-flat. There was heated debate on the merits and flaws of each until close to 1900, when a German horn-maker by the name of Kruspe, decided to combine them to make the double horn. THe double horn is the F and B-flat horns combined into one instrument with a valve for the player to switch between them. (Much easier than crooks&#33 What the valves of the horn do is to divert the air flow into longer or shorter sections of tubing.

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    That's very interesting, baroque. I remember recordings with authentic instruments like Vanhal symphonies. The brass is amazing, it blows you away. It is very very strong and deep vibrating. Wonderful.

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    In the Penn State Baroque Ensemble, last semester, we had 2 "natural" horn players join us for one of our concerts. It was quite an experience. Especially, since I used to also play the F Horn. They let me try it, and dang, it's much more difficult...
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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    You play the horn, Max? That&#39;s awesome, I wished I could play it....

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    **used to*** I haven&#39;t for years... But I could probably pick it up again, then again...
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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Must be fun, so your horn still in a corner of your room? Pick it up, and post some recordings with it , i would love to hear it.

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    Junior Member max's Avatar
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    actually, I never owned my horn, I always rented it....

    I still have the mouthpiece and valve oil though&#33;
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    That&#39;s cool, Max, that you used to play the horn&#33; That is one instrument I really want to learn someday&#33;

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    I remember in a concert in our school how some people only used the mouthpiece and a hose to use it as a "horn". Was kinda funny but worked, of course no ventiles but still the natural scale.

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    [FONT=Arial][SIZE=7]

    I have a Bb/F Double Horn for 9 month I do still enjoy, I play that it quite difficult control of the mouthpiece. I like Mozart&#39;s Horn Concerto and Richard Strauss as well.

    My name is Martin Booth . I&#39;m 25 year old, I play Bassoon, Trombone and Oboe.
    My life is I like music very much as classical as well.



    Originally posted by Daniel@Aug 9 2004, 08:59 AM
    I remember in a concert in our school how some people only used the mouthpiece and a hose to use it as a "horn". Was kinda funny but worked, of course no ventiles but still the natural scale.
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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Hi Martin&#33; (Honda )

    Strauss&#39; Hornconcert is great&#33; He knew how to write for horn, actually his daddy was 1st horninst in Munich, and the works are dedicated to him...

    What pieces do you play with your 3 instruments? Are there much trombone concerts out there?

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    Talking

    Well, Daniel.

    The Trombone have a concerto of composer is Leopold Mozart&#39;s Wolfgang&#39;s father, Albrechtsberger, Wagenseil and Michael Haydn make composer of trombone concerto by Alain Trudel, Trombone and Director Northern Sinfonia. I enjoy listen his music and Trombone Concerto record by Naxos. The bassoon I carry on for 3 yrs and 9 month and Horn in 9 month and Oboe about less 4 month those Oboe and Trombone I only have fun on music, Daniel.

    Cheers

    Martin

    Originally posted by Daniel@Sep 23 2004, 04:41 PM

    Hi Martin&#33; (Honda )

    Strauss&#39; Hornconcert is great&#33; He knew how to write for horn, actually his daddy was 1st horninst in Munich, and the works are dedicated to him...

    What pieces do you play with your 3 instruments? Are there much trombone concerts out there?
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    Interesting...reminds me of orchestration lesson all over again. Crooks, valves and the development of the piston system and the science of sound. It&#39;s amazing how much transition has undergone in the past 400 yrs.

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    I play the horn, and love the sound it makes. Our brass section is horrendously small, so I double on mellophone to up our brass sound in certain songs, but horn is stilll my favorite. I tried writing a song for natural horn in F, but it didn't turn out so well.

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    I used to be a freelance horn player and played in many,many different groups under many conductors.
    The crooks on the old natural horns were for playing in different keys. Each crook was
    a different length, making it play all the overtones of the notes, C,D,E E flat, F,G,A,B flat etc.
    Every time a horn player played something in a different key, he would have to remove the crook in the key of this or that movement of a symphony,concerto,sonata or concerto and change on to a different crook. This can be done in seconds.
    In each key,the notes of the harmonic series extend from the lowest note, or fundamental,
    on to the higher notes. The widest intervals start from the fundamental to the next note at the octave, and the intervals gradually get smaller until you go to the very top of the range.
    That's why playing high notes is so treacherous on the horn; the higher the note, the less
    difference in lip pressure you have, and it becomes very easy to miss a high note if you're off by only a tiny fraction of lip pressure.
    But the invention of valves, for horns and trumpets in the early 19th century,made it possible for a player to play all the notes of the scale by using the valves to change onto different lengths of tubing. It was no longer necessary to switch to a different crook every time one played in a different key.
    In the mid 18th century,natural horn players found out that one could play certain notes outside the harmonic series by closing off the bell with the palm and changing the pitch.
    Previously, one could only play the notes of the harmonic series and there were gaps between the notes which made it impossible to play all the notes of the scale.
    But the additional pitches made possible by closing off the bell with the palm, or "stopping" the notes had a kind of muffled sound markedly different from the natural notes.
    Later, when the use of valved horns became universal , the stopped notes were still used by composers for special effect, and have been ever since.
    But the use of natural horns and trumpets has been revived in recent years by orchestras using period instruments, such as the Academy of Ancient Music, the London Classical Players, and the
    Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment etc.

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