French Horn Evolution

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The modern French horn has seen numerous developmental stages over centuries of evolution. Each stage of the development of the French horn expanded the musical potential of the instrument and provided composers with the opportunities to experiment with new musical possibilities. As the technologies of the horn expanded, becoming more complex and sophisticated, compositions for the French horn followed suit. The research question that this discussion focuses around is "How have compositions for French horn been influenced by the developments in French horn technologies and techniques?"As a French horn player, this investigation will provide me with an opportunity to be able to expand my knowledge and appreciation of my instrument.
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One member of the hunting horn family is the Oliphant. Also known as the “elephant horn”, the Oliphant was a carved ivory tusk and is believed to be of Asian origin, however, it reached Europe around the tenth or eleventh century. The Oliphant was decorated in hunting scenes that depicted fictional and nonfictional animals, featuring silver mounts that were added in the seventeenth century by the English that suggest a ceremonial role. However, the Oliphant is believed to have served as either a hunting horn or a wine horn originally.
By the early seventeenth century, two main types of hunting horns were in use. These hunting horns were simple tubes with a bell at the end that were designed to imitate the sounds of the animals and to be played while on horseback. The earliest hunting horns, The Lur (Figure 1), were used by the Scandinavians in battle. The Lur was intended to intimidate the enemy with its loud, obnoxious sounds. The origins of the French horn can also be traced to the “shofar” horns of the Middle East. Hunting horns mainly used as signaling devices during hunting. Horn makers wanted to increase the number of pitches that the hunting horns could produce. These horn makers began to experiment with the dimensions and build of the Lur, leading to the development of the Trompe de
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The instrument would be uncomfortably too close to the face in higher keys and, in lower keys, the horn would sometimes become so long that it was quite difficult to reach the bell of the horn for hand-stopping. Despite the faults of the master crook and coupler system, Charles Tully still recommended the crook and coupler system for beginning horn players in his Tutor for the French Horn in 1840.
The cons of the master crook and coupler system led to the development of the Inventionshorn. Instead of attaching to the mouthpiece, crooks called "inventions" attached to the middle of the horn. The issue, however, with utilizing inventions was trying to fit the different size inventions into the same space. The inventions horn was perfected by Anton Hampel and Johann Werner. The Inventionshorn was capable of the entire range of transpositions, making the horn regular member of the symphony

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