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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!) What the valves of the horn do is to divert the air flow into longer or shorter sections of tubing.
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