The Classical Horn

by Anneke Scott

The natural horn is a brass instrument with no valves. The notes available are the notes of the harmonic series, like an arpeggio with the notes closer together at the top of the instruments range. The particular notes are dependent on the length of the instrument. The longer the length of instrument the lower the resultant set of notes, the shorter the length the higher the resultant set of notes. A series of coiled crooks are used to change the length and therefore the key of the overal instrument. For much of the baroque repertoire we use smaller natural horns and play with the flared bell in the air but for the classical repertoire we put our hands in the bell of the instrument. This is so that we are able to augment the notes of the harmonic series by manipulating the right hand in the bell of the instrument, using a technique known as hand stopping. This gives the natural horn an even greater range of colours and notes.

Anneke talks about and demonstrates her natural horn by Marcel Auguste Raoux (Paris, 1820).