Presentation of the


Here is some important information to know about the instruments you will discover during the European Crafts Days exhibition.

The horn

Wind instrument, brass family


A bit of history

Evolution of the instrument

The horn is today inseparable from the modern symphony orchestra, yet this was not always the case. Originally, this one, like the hunting horn, moreover often confused until the seventeenth century, is aninstrument related to hunting and battlefields as evidenced by the Song of Roland (eleventh century).

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the horn undergoes significant changes that allow it to integrate orchestras, then become a solo instrument. Indeed, at the end of the seventeenth century, a Nuremberg maker, Friedrich Steinmetz, managed to reduce the dimensions of the instrument by winding it two and a half times on itself in order to bring ease to musicians. Subsequently, horn players also begin to hold it differently, downward, which allows them to obstruct the bell in various ways with the hand in order to raise or lower the sound by a semitone.

In the early nineteenth century,horn player,Heinrich Stölzel and oboist Friedrich Blühmelequip the horn with piston, facilitating the use of the entire chromatic scale. This one is then called horn of harmony. Today it offers a wide variety of extremely soft or, on the contrary, powerfully heroic timbres.


It gets its name from the horns with which the first forms of horns were designed. In both German and English, the horn is called a horn (as is the animal horn).


The horn player produces the notes of the scale by vibration of the lips on the mouthpiece. His left hand activates the rotating keys and valves to change the pitch. The right hand is placed in the bell to support the instrument and to correct the pitch. The instrumentalist may also be required to use a mute to attenuate sounds.

The horn’s range extends over three and a half octaves.

Listen to the sound of the horn


Neighbor in the …

Percussions, violin, trumpets, clarinets

Holding the Instrument

The horn can be played seated or standing. The left hand holds the main branch at the main winding, and, if necessary, operates the valves. The right hand, on the other hand, is housed in the bell. It is mainly used to hold the instrument. In all cases, the role of the left hand is to hold the instrument facing the mouth, without crushing the mouthpiece on the lips. The effort is therefore more vertical than horizontal.


The horn is made of copper as indicated by the name of the family to which it belongs.

The horn, instructions for use - Orchestre de Paris
The horn, instructions for use - Orchestre de Paris
[Figures de Notes] Le cor, mode d’emploi

Some composers

The French horn is capable of both accompanying the subtlest instrumental or vocal solos or taking on solo parts.

Early in the late eighteenth century, many concertos were composed for it, such as the Concerto in D major H VIId.3 by Joseph Haydn (1762) or the First Concerto, in D major, K 412 by Mozart in 1782.

The French horn also quickly became part of chamber music with, for example, Beethoven’s Septet for Winds and Strings, in E-flat major, Op. 20 (1800).

Many twentieth-century composers wrote for this instrument, led in particular by the great British horn playerDennis Brain (1921-1957) such as Benjamin Britten with the Canticle III “Still falls the Rain” from (1955).

Benjamin Britten - Canticle III "Still falls the Rain" (1955)
Benjamin Britten - Canticle III
Canticle III, Still Falls the Rain