This article should really be about German horns, because believe it or not French horns were actually first developed in Germany!
It’s one of those instruments that had an inauspicious beginning, because due to the harsh sound, nobody wanted to use it indoors, so it was first used by the French nobility during hunts.
But you know what they say about not despising small beginnings. Shaking off that humble start, the French horn rose to become the leader of the brass section, which is where it is today. Not bad for a former hunting horn.
French horns are brass instruments with coiled tubing and a flared bell. They generally use rotary valves, which route the air into the tubing and cause the changes in the pitch of the instrument. It consists of 3 valves, which are played using the left hand. You don't have to pay full price to get a great one either, you can find cheap french horns for sale online.
French horns have actually changed a lot over the years. It really gained in confidence and began to blossom once it was included in the orchestra. The tube and bell were the first to change. The tubing got longer, (it is now actually 20 feet long if uncoiled), the bell became wider, and crooks and valves were added.
Like other members of the brass family, it has rotary valves, but it is the only one that has a funnel-shaped mouthpiece. Let’s do a quick lesson and look at the various types of French horns available:
Single French horn: This horn is generally a part of an orchestra. It has 3 or 4 rotary vales and a conical bore. Best used for lower ranges.
Double French horn: As the name suggests, this is actually two horns, but in one frame. The two sets of tubing produce two different sounds. One tubing produces a higher, livelier sound, while the other has a deeper, mellow tone.
Triple French horn: This is actually the most expensive of the lot, and also the heaviest.
Vienna French horn: Generally, French horns use piston or rotary valves for changing pitches, but the Vienna horn use pumpen valves. The horn is used primarily in Vienna in orchestral and classical music.
Marching French horn: This musical horn is very popular in formation marches. They are much lighter in weight than the other horns, which is great considering you might have to march for long periods and play at the same time.
There are several brands of French horns available such as Conn, Holton, Palatino, and Yamaha. When making a purchase it is a good idea to try out several different types.
Listen until you hear the sound that you like, because some persons can actually sound better, depending on the type of horn they are playing. To ensure that your horn is well protected, choose one with a shiny lacquer finish.
The lacquer finish will protect the horn from rust and corrosion. In addition, make sure to get a thermoplastic case for extra protection.
Incidentally, in case you are still wondering, the horn as we know it today was completed in France so that’s the reason why it’s known as the French horn. Another mystery solved! Now you can buy a cheap french horn for sale and know exactly what you are getting.