A member of the brass family, the French horn is played in orchestras, chamber works, and wind or military bands, or for great emotional effects in composing film scores. It creates a range of sound from the very soft to very loud, mellow and smooth to harsh and blaring, although it's more distinctive for its full and rich sound.
The French horn is quite versatile, blending in woodwind and brass quintets, and has an ability to play different styles of music, with some pieces (such as the 2-horn concerti by Strauss, and the 4-horn concerti by Mozart) specifically written for it. This means that horn players, even if they are playing in a group, would have the opportunity to play the instrument solo.
There is 18 feet of coiled tubing in the French horn, and it all flares at the end with a large bell. Like all the other brass instruments, sound is made by buzzing the lips into the mouthpiece, with the fingers of the left hand depressing the three valves. The type of sound can be changed by the player putting the right hand in the bell, which is curving downward.
The French horn, as its name suggests, came from the French hunting horn that evolved as a musical instrument during the 16th century operas. Modifications to the bell were made in the 17th century, at which time the English called it the.' Before the mid-18th century, the horn was a monotone instrument until a German musician applied movable slides to change the key of the horn. It was also around this time that it was discovered that placing a hand over the bell, called stopping, lowered the tone.
Due to how the French horn is made, beginners with no prior experience with other musical instruments may want to start with a single "B flat" or "F" horn for their music lessons at home. As the student advances, a double horn can be a more fitting instrument.
There are between 2 to 8 French horns in orchestras, but often not as many horn players to fill the need, so as they become professional musicians, horn players are considered highly valuable. If you love to play in an ensemble while enjoying the spotlight for a solo performance, the French horn will give you that opportunity.
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