Historical development of the Horn - Philipp Dangas

Historical development of the Horn

Graphic on Horn in F can be enlarged. It is link-sensitive [clickable].

Horn in F in a small representation

The term "horn" in a broader sense includes all cup, funnel and cup mouthpiece instruments. In its original form, the horn had a conical tube, just like nature's animal horns. It should be noted in particular that today's distinction between horn and trumpet instruments according to the either conical or cylindrical shape of the tube only emerged with the development of today's orchestral instruments, i.e. in the last 3 centuries Romans of particular importance.

These were above all the "bucina", the "tuba", the "lituus" and the "cornu". All of these instruments were played with the cup mouthpiece. The Dresden horn player Anton Joseph Hampel is credited with having developed the type of today's French horn through several changes from the „Corno da caccia“.

Around 1753 Hampel developed the stuffed tones technique decisively and taught it as one of the best teachers of his time on this instrument also to his students. During this time, other solutions were sought to replace the tamping technique. The last drastic change in the horn (like the other brass instruments) was the invention of the valves, which were invented around 1813 by the horn player Friedrich Blühmel . The horn player and mechanic Heinrich Stölzel, who had also developed a valve horn independently of him, agreed with Blühmel on his rights and patented his invention on April 12, 1818. While the tuning of the valve horns was initially set to F, attempts were soon made to build instruments in Bb, which responded better and more reliably in the high register.

In 1897 Eduard Kruspe and Bartholomäus Geisig from Erfurt constructed the first double horn, here the tunings were F and B combined in one instrument and could be selected with a switching valve. These instruments are blown to this day and form the standard of today's orchestral instruments.

A great and lively sound example of the horn in F [Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart]
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The use of the horn in music
Music composer's Work Style of music
Robert Schumann Concerto for 4 horns Orchestra
Arnold Schönberg Chamber Symphony opus 9 Orchestra
Johannes Brahms Symphony No.1 in C minor Orchestra
Richard Strauss Ein Heldenleben Orchestra
Richard Wagner Das Rheingold (Prelude) Opera
Carl Maria von Weber Der Freischütz Opera