Thursday, November 28, 2019

History of the french horn free essay sample

The modern orchestral brass French horn was an invention based on early hunting horns. Horns were first used as musical instruments during 16th century operas. During the 17th century, modifications to the bell end (larger and flared bells) of the horn were made and the cor de chasse, or French horn as the English called it was born. The horn has its origin in the pre-historic days, along with the trumpet that is considered anthropologically older. Men have blown through the horns of dead animals, especially that of the domesticated buffalo/cow to produce sounds that can echo for miles around. Hence the name. This was originally used as a communicator while hunting. The curved shape of the horn was developed further down the line in wood and then in metal, a bell added at the end to give it the megaphone effect, like the trumpet, till the immediate predecessor of the modern French horn came into being around the 15th Century. We will write a custom essay sample on History of the french horn or any similar topic specifically for you Do Not WasteYour Time HIRE WRITER Only 13.90 / page The French horn was christened thus in England. But strangely enough, the Frenchmen called it the German horn and the Germans called it the hunting horn. But the English name finally stuck. The predecessor of the French horn is one you might see in a movie featuring bloodhounds and hunters on horses. The Frenchmen used it extensively in the 16th Century. In the mid-17th Century, composers such as Pietro Cavalli and Jean-Baptiste Lully used these in operas. Handel in Water Music and Bach in Mass in B Minor and Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 also used these hunting horns in the 18th Century, which was what they were known as then. Then there were improvisations. The crooks were invented and added. Crooks are pieces of different-sized, coiled tubing that are attached to the lead pipe of the horn. They alter the pitch to a desired key. These were the horns that were used extensively by classical musicians such as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. The more sophisticated, rounder, and mellower sound of this horn blended with that of the gentler string and wind sections of the orchestra, without sounding dominating or martial like the trumpet or its variants of those days. The horn also sounded more sensuous. From Beethovens days, there have been three horns in the orchestra. The first horns were monotone instruments. In 1753, a German musician called Hampel invented the means of applying movable slides (crooks) of various length that changed the key of the horn. In 1760, it was discovered rather then invented that placing a hand over the bell of the French Horn lowered the tone called stopping. Devices for stopping were later invented. In the 19th century, valves instead of crooks were used, giving birth to the modern French Horn and eventually the double French Horn. It is debatable if it is possible to trace the invention of the French Horn to one person. However, two inventors are named as the first to invent a valve for the horn. According to the Brass Society, Heinrich Stoelzel (1777-1844), a member of the band of the Prince of Pless, invented a valve which he applied to the horn by July of 1814 (considered the first French Horn) and Friedrich Bluhmel (fl. 1808-before 1845), a miner who played trumpet and horn in a band in Waldenburg, is also associated with the invention of the valve. According to A Brief History of Horn Evolution, Double French horns were invented by both Edmund Gumpert and Fritz Kruspe in the late 1800s. German Fritz Kruspe, who has been credited most often as being the inventor of the modern double French horn, combined the pitches of the horn in F with the horn in B Flat in 1900. Then came the valves, in 1813. Like with the trumpet, valves changed everything. Each of the valves enabled the player to change the pitch and the range of notes that could be played, making crooks unnecessary. The horn now had eight or more feet of tubing coiled round, with three valves regulating the pitches. But composers such as Beethoven wrote exclusively for the old natural horn. The valve horn of those days changed the tonal colour slightly, which made Berlioz forbid the valve-fitted horns from playing in his compositions as late as 1840. In his Symphonie Fantastique, he wanted only natural horns to play (later on, he admitted that it was more nostalgia rather than the tone colour that played its part). Thanks to Berliozs reputation as the father of modern orchestration, this edict went on to delay the formal induction of the valve-fitted horns into the orchestra, though the horn players were using these from the time they were invented. The horn is today an important part of the orchestra. The three horns in the orchestras of today keep playing together for much of the time, giving the orchestra a harmonic richness with their tone. It is hard to find a significant composition from Mozart to Stravinsky where the horns have not had melodies and lengthy parts to play throughout the composition. The concertos by Mozart for the horn are among his best written for any instrument.

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