Mogens Andresen






The components of the orchestras of the Viennese classic era were the same instruments that we see in the Symphony Orchestras of today. The Continuo group disappeared, the Strings became the basis of the orchestra, and the Wind components got standardised. The group of Woodwind instruments existed (some of them or all together) of: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, and from about 1770 also of 2 clarinets. The group of Brass instruments existed of 2 French horns, often with 2 trumpets. Later the group was enlarged by 3 trombones and the horn group was extended to 4. Timpani were almost always there and were sometimes accompanied by side drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle and various other instruments. The trumpeters and horn players had big trouble though when they had to change between instruments or tubes to change the pitch of the various music pieces they had to play.



Fig. 1 MOZART WITH ORCHESTRA. Drawing from around 1770 by Johann Zoffany (1733-1810)? To the left: 2 hornplayers


Trumpet/French horn in D

note                                      sound


Fig.2 TRANSPOSING: To make it easier for trumpeters and French horn players to ”switch”, their parts were written in ”C” major. If one should play in ”D”, there only stood ”in D” in the part and the player should switch to another instrument or change a tube to get the right pitch.



The beginning of the 18th century shows various trumpet concertos of real virtuous playing, especially in the trumpet upper registers, for example by Johann Melchior Molter, Johann Wilhelm Hertel, Leopold Mozart and Michael Haydn – the latest goes up to the 24th natural tone. These pieces were written for the German and Austrian Trumpeters of the Court, being the last trumpeters who could manage the difficult Clarion playing method.

The Trumpeter Corpses of the Court were now on their way out. Altenburg (see under Baroque) praises their quality and defends their privileges. He was a trumpeter himself but became a lawyer and he knew how to choose his words, but the development had both musical and social grounds. At this time quit a few small Courts were suppressed, and with them their Trumpeter Corpses, that bore the Clarion tradition. The status as Solo- instrument disappeared, and the trumpet became a real tutti-instrument. What we know about the orchestral instruments at the time of Beethoven, we have for a big part learned from the German music scientist and pedagogue Franz Joseph Fröhlich (1780 – 1862). He stated that the trumpet pair in an orchestra existed of one Clarion player and one Principal player, so the old names were still alive, but this configuration was dangerous for a dominant 2nd trumpet. The parts were seldom higher than the 12th natural tone, and the problematic 11th, that was no problem in the Baroque, was abandoned by Beethoven.



Fig. 2 NATURAL TRUMPET IN G FROM 1806.  The trumpet comes with six crooks for F (U-shaped), E (U-shaped), E-flat (U-shaped plus small coil), D (U-shaped plus large coil), C (U-shaped plus one large and one small coil), and B-flat (U-shaped plus two large coils). Engraved on garland in script: Michael Saurle in München 1806


When you look at a real Viennese Classic trumpet part, as for example in a symphony by Haydn or in a piano concerto by Mozart, it can really look so spartanic that one may wonder whether the composer even wanted to have trumpets in his piece. But as soon as you hear the music it is immediately clear that the trumpets (and timpani) almost gild the orchestral sound and give the music its character. The trumpet kept its fanfare-like expression – mostly in the tutti parts, but sometimes as a soloist, like in Beethovens Leonora overture.






To overcome the limitations of the natural harmonic series of the trumpet, 3 old ideas came up again, although in a new form.


At around 1775 new attempts to build trumpets with holes, just like the Cornett, see the light, though this time with a key system to close the holes (like woodwind instruments). It was the Viennese court trumpeter Anton Weidinger (1767-1852) who developed a trumpet with 5 keys. He did not invent it as some have believed. He developed his own instrument (Klappentrompete) that could play chromatically based on earlier examples of keyed trumpets. Weidinger’s teacher was  (Oberhof und Feldtrompeter)  – Chief Court and Field Trumpeter in Vienna, a position Weidinger later would assume. fist weidinger was employed in the military, in 1792 was  In the Mannella Theater i Vienna and 1799 he joined the Imperial and Royal Court Trumpeter Corps (Hoftrompeterkorps).


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Fig. 3 KEYED TRUMPET The keyed trumpet was pitched in G, and had extra tubes to obtain a lower pitch. Normally one should move the holes when changing the pitch by expanding the tube, (impossible of course) . To eliminate intonation problems the trumpeter could alter the fingering for different tuning. And it was a success, the keyed trumpet got a rather positive verdict! The brilliant trumpet sound was now supplied by a soft woodwind- sound. Nowadays we know that the keyed trumpet had a few defects, especially the holes were too small. The positive approach could also well be because of the ”ideal” sound of that era: they just did not expect a ”smooth” or ”even” sound.  

In 1796 Joseph Haydn wrote his Trumpet concerto for Weidinger, both as an act of friendship as to his interest in innovation.The 28th of March 1800 the concerto was performed for the first time at the Imperial and Royal Court Theatre. Until then, Haydn’s writing for the trumpet had rarely risen above the level of providing harmonic support or underlining a particular Affect. Now he took a closer interest in the new potential of Weidingers organisirte Trompete (organized trumpet), writing a trumpet part for him that was totally unlike the traditionally type of writing with the instrument. In this concert , thrills, chromatic runs and diatonic melodies replaced the standard fanfare motifs. The Concerto disappeared together with the keyed trumpet (when in the 19th century it was superseded by the Valve Trumpet) but it reappeared again in 1908, and has been the uppermost favourite piece of trumpeters and the audience.

By around 1803 Weidinger had succeeded in interesting johann Nepomuk Hummel also to write a piece. It was written 1803 and his Concerto a tromba principale received its first performance at the Esterhazy court on 1 January 1804 to great acclaim. The concerto was originally in the key of E Major, but to day often played in the key of E Flat Major. Weidinger himself is believed to have reworked the piece, at least in part, in order to adapt the writing to the instrument’s technical capabilities. Hummel also wrote a Trio for trumpet, piano and violin for Weidinger; unfortunately this is now lost.

The keyed trumpet disappeared from the musical scene by the 1840s. During the 1820s the valve trumpet in the area around Vienna displaced the keyed trumpet. Only in Italy did it find a temporary refuge in the operas of Rossini and Meyerbeer. The Italian brothers Alessandro and Antonio Gambati made a tour around Europe in the 1820ies, as soloists on the instrument, and up till 1840 the keyed trumpet was used in military music in Austria and Italy. Although Weidinger, however, got some  success and he toured in public halls throughout Germany, England and France.


The technique of hand-stopping was taken from the French horn, and introduced in 1777 by a court trumpeter in Karlsrue Michael Woggel.( He bent the trumpet to make it easier to reach the bell). The technique was rather simple, by putting 3 fingers of the right hand into the bell, the natural tones would be a semitone lower. The stopped trumpet became extremely popular in Germany, France and Spain until about 1840. Three well-known German virtuosos on the stopped trumpet were a certain Zenker which 62 solo performances by Zenker are recorded from 1818 to 1833, Johann Heinrich Krause was active between 1821 and 1827, and Karl Bagans, Krause’s successor as Royal Prussian Chamber Musician, who published a short article about the stopped trumpet. 




Trumpeters using this hand stopping technique could go very far. In 1829 the Preussian chamber musician Karl Bagans wrote an article, showing this melody, which according to him easily could be played on a stopped trumpet.



Both Beethoven and Schubert used this stopping technique in some of their orchestral works, by lowering the 5th natural tone with a semi tone, that means a written E flat. Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) writes in his famous Treatise on Instrumentation NEVER to let a trumpet start with a stopped note, and to use the technique only in loud nuances.



In the late part of the 18th century a third type of trumpet came along, which grew to utmost popularity in England: The Slide Trumpet, a natural trumpet in F to which was added a backward moving double slide (like the trombone) with an automatic return mechanisme joint.

. It was, as stated by the first known slide trumpeter John Hyde, invented by himself, although he mentions in his Preceptor for the Trumpet and Bugle Horn (1799) that Richard Woodham – an instrument maker from London – was the first to make such trumpets. the slide could lower each natural tone by one or two semitones. It was different from the keyed trumpet and the stopped trumpet, by the fact that this slide trumpet had the same sound as the natural trumpet and therefor perfect for the Oratorio in the Baroque (which were ever so popular in England). Henry Purcell used a slide trumpet in his Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, the English Flatt Trumpet. This trumpet had a double slide. One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of the slide trumpet was the authority of the important trumpeters: father and son “Thomas Harper”, Sr. (1786-1853) and Jr. (1816-1898) both ”stars” in the music life of London.




fig. 5 Natural trumpet in F by George Henry Rodenbostel, London, before 1789/90, converted into a slide trumpet by Richard Woodham, London, before 1797/98. The earliest surviving English mechanical slide trumpet and possible prototype of the design that dominated English trumpet manufacture for a century..











Fig. 6 THOMAS HARPER, SR. Lithography from his Method for the Slide Trumpet, 1836. The Slide trumpet was pitched in F, and had tubes that could lower the pitch. The ”slide” was the bend next closest to the mouthpiece. It was used with the left hand and it moved back with a spring lock. The slide could lower each natural tone by one or two semitones.









THOMAS HARPERS “SIGNATURE MELODY”  – Thomas Harper often wrote this little tune together with his signature, and it is just perfect for an English Flatt Trumpet.





The method of playing in duets, which was common for French horns could easily be used in the symphonic orchestras, and the French horn became the leading brass instrument in the orchestra. It was rather difficult though for the horn player to be able to play the whole register and it became common to specialise in a “high” horn player (corno-alto) or a “low” player (corno-basso). These 2 categories used different mouth pieces, and there was 2 mm difference in the width of these mouthpieces. The French horn also got a leading role as a solo instrument, and it was more and more used in chamber music.



Fig. 7 FRENCH HORN WITH DIFFERENT TUBES TO LENGHTEN THE INSTRUMENT. These tubes lengthened the distance between the mouthpiece to the bell. Anton Joseph Hampel (1710-1771) a horn player in Dresden, together with the instrument maker Johann Werner, came with the so-called Inventionshorn. This horn used sliding crooks inside the loop, to achieve a fully chromatic instrument.


Fig. 8 DIFFERENT MOUTHPIECES FOR THE FRENCH HORN TO PLAY HIGH OR LOW. FROM “MÉTHODE POUR LE COR, BY FRÉDÉRIC DUVERNOY, PRINTED 1802. Top: Instruction drawing. Buttom: Mouthpieces for high horn and low horn. The high and low horn are switched.




The biggest renewal of horn playing came in the middle of the 18th century with the discovery of a technique that made it possible to make corrections in the tones, simply by putting a hand in the bell. The above mentioned Anton Joseph Hampel, a horn player, born in Prague but working at the Dresden court, is credited for the development of the ‘hand-muting’, or ‘hand-stopping ’ technique. He discovered this technique when he was experimenting with mutes. The technique goes as follows: The right hand, slightly formed as a cup is placed in the bell of the instrument with the back of the fingers touching the bell throat. The pitch gets higher by pulling the hand out, and down when putting the hand further in, (about one half or even a whole step). When putting the hand still further in the bell the pitch gets a half-tone higher, but the sound will be sharper. That is what we nowadays call for Stopped Horn.

The consequence of the technique was a change in the sound of the French horn. Even with the hand in the ”neutral position” the open baroque sound changed into a more soft and romantic sound, and that strengthened the opinion of the French horn as an instrument to describe ”nature”. Later this quality was used in an exceptional way by Carl Maria von Weber (1786 – 1826) in the opera The Hunter’s Bride (1821) (der Freischütz). This ”new” sound made the French horn suited to play with other instruments, strings and woodwind as well as the other brass instruments. This ability to ”play together with other instruments” made a lot of composers (to be on the safe side) to overdo their parts, so they had to play all the time. The tones of the stopped horn are not even, there is a big difference between the open and stopped notes, and the horn player who mastered the technique was seen as a true wizard.



Fig.9 FROM BEETHOVEN’S  SONATA FOR FRENCH HORN AND PIANO.  One of the methods, for composer as well as for the player, was to play pronounced on the open safe notes and softer on the stopped notes. In the beginning of Beethoven’s Sonata the phrasing is almost build in in the use of the open and stopped notes. The first two phrases in forte are ”safe” natural tones, and after that the hand stopping method is used in the lyrical part in piano.





The French horn got immense popularity as a solo instrument and the setting in corno-alto and corno-basso duos got its continuation in a range of double concertos by (amongst others): Leopold Mozart (1719 – 1787), Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809), Antonio Francesco Rosetti (1746 – 1792) and Friedrich Kuhlau (1786 – 1832). Hampel himself was a corno-basso in one of the most famous horn duos together with Carl Haudek (1721 – 1800?) on corno-alto. Another famous duo was Johann Palsa (1752 – 1792) and Carl Türrschmidt (1753 – 1797).



Fig.10 COR MIXTE. When being a solo horn player ( a corno-alt0 or a corno-basso) one could get into trouble, when playing in the middle register. So particularly in France a 3rd category came into being, COR MIXTE. Around 1770 C. Türrschmidt and the Parisian instrument maker Joseph Raoux developed a French Horn, the COR SOLO, especially for this middle register. (in a way an improved version of the Inventionshorn) The extreme registers were not necessary and with this instrument you could play in the keys of D till G. After some time though the key of F became the most popular, even if the piece was not written in this key.  Later the valved horn overtook this key as standard key.

In the Viennese Classic time an incredible lot of Solo Horn concertos was written. Not only by the above mentioned composers of the double horn concertos (not Kuhlau though) but also by Édouard Du Puy (1770-1822), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) and Carl Maria von Weber (1786 – 1826). Especially Mozart’s solo pieces for French Horn and orchestra, 4 Concertos and a Rondo, are well known, these are written for Joseph Ignaz Leutgeb (about 1745 – 1811) from Salzburg who was a close friend of the Mozart family. When Leutgeb in 1777, after having travelled to Paris, Frankfurt and through Italy, moved back to Vienna and bought a house, it was financed by a loan from Leopold Mozart. It is also said that he owned a cheese shop, to expanded his methods of income, but this was a sausage shop, owned by his father in law -Leutgeb never owned a cheese shop. Leutgeb continued to work as a horn player.  A press review of one of Leutgeb’s performances in Paris (Mercure de France) indicates he was a fine performer: the reviewer said Leutgeb was a “superior talent”, with the ability to “sing an adagio as perfectly as the most mellow, interesting and accurate voice”.

Fig.11 From the last movement of MOZART’S 4th HORN CONCERTO




As a remembrance of the horn as a huntsman’s instrument, all Mozart’s Horn Concertos end with a rondo in 6/8th. Mozart liked making fun and supplied his notes with personal mocking comments to Leutgeb, for example:

Allegro for strings –  Adagio for horn

Just before starting – it is you M. Funny

One bar pause – now you can breathe!

After repeating the theme – did we not finish? Oh you mean pig!

After several times repeating the theme – and now, please help me God, for the fourth time




Left.: FRÉDÉRIC NICOLAS DUVERNOY (1765 – 1838) was a big star in the musical life in Paris, and highly valued by Napoleon Bonaparte. As an example of his fame it was written on the tickets to Gaspare Spontini’s opera ”La Vestale”(1807) (The Vestal Virgin) that the ”Solos on the French Horn are played by M. FRÉDÉRIC DUVERNOY” – otherwise there were no names on the tickets. Duvernoy was a professor at the Conservatoire de Paris from 1795 till 1817.

Middle: LOUIS FRANCOIS DAUPRAT (1781 – 1868) Succeeded Duvernoy as a professor at the Paris Conservatory from 1817 till 1842. In his ”Méthode pour cor alto et cor basse” he describes the art of playing the Hand Horn as such: If you don’t understand the imperfections of the horn, you never can make it to the perfect instrument it is”.

Right: JACQUES FRANCOIS GALLAY (1795 – 1864). He too was a hand horn virtuoso. He especially is known as a perfectionist on the two middle octaves on Cor mixte. He succeeded his teacher Dauprat as a professor at the Paris Conservatory from 1842 till 1864. The illustration fig. 9 is from his horn school.


Fig.13 GIOVANNI PUNTO (1748 – 1803).   Hampel and Haudek not only were known as capable horn players, they were capable teachers as well. Their star pupil of almost epoch-making standard was JAN VACLAV STICH from Bohemia. As a young boy he was send to study music by Count Joseph Johann von Thun, at which estate his father was bonded. He stayed at the Court for four years, but was rather a troublemaker and at age 20 he ran away with four friends. The Count got very angry and hired soldiers to catch his prodigy, or at least to knock out his front teeth to prevent him to play the horn. Stich came to Italy, and changed his name to GIOVANNI PUNTO. From there he started to travel through Europe as a soloist with great success. Mozart wrote the horn part in his “Sinfonia Concertante” for Punto, the same did Beethoven with his Sonata for horn and piano op.18. The premiere of this piece was performed by Beethoven and Punto, but the piece was finished very late and Punto had to play most of the piece a prima vista!


Fig. 14 2 LUIGI BRIZZI (1737-1815) , Bolognia, Italy – was the head of three generations of distinguished horn players and probably teacher of:


Fig. 15 LUIGI BELLOLI (1770-1817), Italy. Today, the hornist family Belloli almost has fallen into oblivion. Luigi Belloli, principal horn at the Scala Opera, his brother Agostino Belloli, Giuseppe Belloli and the two sons Luigi Bellolis, Giovanni and Giacomo . Everyone worked as hornists in different orchestras of Italy.

Fig. 16  BENEDETTO BERGONZI (1790-1839) – was one of Luigi Bellonis pupils, hornplayer, composer and inventor from Cremona, Italy.  To improve the natural horn then in use, Bergonzi in 1822 applied keys similar to those used on the keyed bugle in order to obtain a chromatic range. However this keyed corno da caccia, was different from other keyed instruments in one respect: its “trombini”, which were kinds of small bells to amplify the sound issuing from the four key holes and make it sound more like that coming out of the bell. Twice Bergonzi submitted his “new” instrument to competitions that were aimed at promoting national enterprise and organized by the Imperio Regio Instituto di scienze, lettere ed arti di Milano. After failing the test the firs time, the instrument was awarded a silver medal on 7 October 1824.  

Fig.  17  Left: BEGONZI’s CORNO DA CACCIA, RECONSTRUTION.Right: closeup of the “TROMBITINA” – NELL. (Note that the actual key has been removed only to illustrate how the trombino might have appeared. Imagine what four of them would have looked like!) The sound is not changed appreciably on the reconstructed model horn and the problem of how to configure the lever and key inside the trombino has not been pursued. 









Fig. 16   PIANO CONCERTO PLAYED AT THE  ZÜRICH MUSIC SOCIETY HALL 1777, among others 2 horn players.

In the Viennese Classic period there are almost always two horns in the orchestra, but Beethoven extended the group to three horns in his Symphony No. 3, Sinfonia Eroica, (Heroic Symphony) (presented in the well know ”Horn Trio” in the Scherzo), and to four horns in his Symphony no. 9. After some time four horns became common and from the beginning the group was divided in two pairs, each with its own pitch – which gave more possibilities in the use of the natural tones. That is why 1st and 3rd horn play the high parts and the 2nd and 4th horn the low parts. This is still the case even with the valve system, which makes this division not necessary.



The horn easily melted with the different chamber music ensembles – often with outstanding parts to play, as in Mozart’s Horn Quintet (horn, violin, two violas and cello), A musical Joke (Ein musikalischer Spass) (two horns and string quartet) and Quintet for piano and winds in e flat major, in Beethoven’s Quintet for piano and winds, Sextet for two horns and string quartet op. 81b and Septet op. 20 (violin, viola, cello, double bass, clarinet, horn and bassoon), and in Schubert’s Octet in F major (like Beethoven’s Septet, with an extra violin). Later the horn became a standard instrument in the strength of the Wind Quintet (flute, hobo, clarinet, horn and bassoon).


Fig. 16  TOWN MUSICIANS PLAYING FOR A WEDDING. Painting on panel from a farm in Grimstrup, Denmark. Left a cellist, right. a horn player. In Denmark and Germany town musicians had privileges in offering music at weddings. They performed for the guests’ arrival, during dinner (to “play to the table”) and to dance. From the mid 1700s until the 1800s hornists often played with strings and woodwinds – as in chamber music.



In the ”Time of the Hand Horn” pieces were written for ensembles that existed of utter horns. Just from chamber music, like the beautiful Horn Trios by the Czech-born Anton Reicha (1770 – 1836) till music, played by big uniformed Horn ensembles like “The Danish Livjaegerkorps’ Orchestra“,(the Royal Danish Corps of Volunteers’ Orchestra) that worked from about 1785 – 1850, with horns with different pitches that could produce all tones as clear natural tones.


Fig.17   MARCH and HUNTING PIECE by Johannes Frederik Frøhlich (1806-1860) FOR 9 HORNS – is the Pearl in the repertoire from  The Danish Livjaergerkorps’ Orchestra. It is written  for: 2 horns in G, 2 horns in F,  one horn i E, one horn in Eb, one in horn i D og 2 horns in C.


Another rather grotesque solution was “The Russian Hunting Music” (1750 – 1830), an orchestra that only had straight horns, and each musician only had to play one tone! They could play in three octaves, and could play 1/8ths in an allegro tempo without any difficulty (as they say).


Fig. 18  THE RUSSIAN HUNTING MUSIC OF THE ZSAR – only straight one-tone horns, from small descant horns to big bass horns, on holders.


About 1760 a new design came along in connection with the new military corpses, the horn in the shape of a half-moon. In England the instrument got its folded trumpet design around 1800, the so-called Bugle – in Denmark with the name of Signal-horn. Over time the Bugle replaced the trumpet as a signal-instrument and it became the most widely used military instrument right up to our time, and it is still used a ceremonial instrument.



Fig.  19  SIGNAL-HORN. from top left: Half-moon horn, infantery soldiers with hornplayer from Hamburg 1835,bugle player from the USA.  and natural horn,  Bottum: , German hornplayer with half-moon horn Hamburger Bürgerwehr 1816,   folded bugle, hornplayer from the 10 Bayrischen Linien-Infanterie-Regiment 1825,


Fig.   HORN PLAYER FROM THE FRENCH LA GARDE IMPÉRIALE 1800 – 1810. Painting by Hoffman

Fig. 17 TEXT TO THE ”REVILLE”. The amount of different signals is plentiful, and as the bugle is without valves or other pitch-altering devices and therefor limited to notes within the harmonic series, the kind of signal can be difficult to remember, which counts for the various texts to the various signals. 

I can’t get ‘em up,

I can’t get ‘em up,

I can’t get ‘em up this morning;

I can’t get ‘em up,

I can’t get ‘em up,

I can’t get ‘em up at all!

The corporal’s worse than the privates,

The sergeant’s worse than the corporals,

Lieutenant’s worse than the sergeants,

And the captain’s worst of all!

I can’t get ‘em up,

I can’t get ‘em up,

I can’t get ‘em up this morning;

I can’t get ‘em up,

I can’t get ‘em up,

I can’t get ‘em up at all!


Ever since the European Post was established in the 1600rds and until the time the mail was brought to the people’s front door, the arrival of the horse-drawn post coaches was announced by the postilion playing a signal on the post-horn. It was a little spiral formed horn, but in England (like the hunting horn) it had a straight form.
TYSK-POST-1024x582 copy

 Fig. 20 POST COURIER from Austria with a spiral horn (1648)


Fig. 21   ENGLISH POST COACH, with the postilion playing on a straight horn. (about 1814).


Around the 1800rds the post horn in Germany got a finger hole, and when that was open, the pitch was raised by a fourth. Later the post horn got valves at well. The post horn became popular as a folk instrument, and sometimes it was used outside its original role. Mozart used the instrument in his Serenade no. 9 in D major (Posthorn Serenade), and in his German Dance no. 3 (Sleigh Ride), and Gustav Mahler used it in his Symphony no. 3.



Fig. 22  POST SIGNAL from ”Winterreise”. The song by Schubert: ”Die Post” (The mail coach), from the song cycle ”Winterreise” (Winter Journey) is based on a post signal.














Fig. 23 GERMAN POSTHORN WITH KEYS from the  1800 s



Fig. 23   LOGOS with POST HORN. The post horn is history, but it is still alive in the post logos of various countries. From left to right: Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the German Railway-post.





The instrument maker William Bull, who worked in London from about 1671 until 1712 advertised at he had trumpets and French Horn for sale. This is the first time the name ”French Horn” is used,  and it became the English name for the instrument.

Danish:                                                                    Valdhorn

Norwegian and Swedish:          Valthorn

German:                                                                  Waldhorn

Dutch:                                                                      Waldhoorn

Finnish:                                                                    Käyrätorvi

Hungarian:                                                              Vadaszkürt

Italian:                                                                     Corno

French:                                                                    Cor (el. cor allemand)

Greek:                                                                      Ceros

Chinese:                                                                  Yuen ho

Taiwanese:                                                              Fa kuo how

Polish and Czech:                                                  Rog

Russian:                                                                   Baptxopha

Spanish:                                                                   Trompa (el. cuerno)

African:                                                                    Franse Horing

English:                                                                    French Horn, (the English Horn – ”Cor Anglais”- belongs to the Oboe-family, and has nothing to  do with the French Horn)


When horn players talk with each other about their instrument, they will always use the name HORN, but when they speak with other people they will use the official name (Wald Horn or French Horn etc.). In 1971 »The International Horn Society« suggested at the correct official name should be HORN…….But this will probably take a lot of years. (When a Jazz-musician says: “I will get my horn”, he means that he is getting his saxophone, trumpet, trombone or tuba).



After queen Maria Theresia got to the throne of Austria and Hungary (1740) the advanced trombone playing went on at the court in Vienna, culminating in two concertos for alt trombone and orchestra by Georg Christoph Wagenseil (1715 – 1777) and Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736 – 1809). Apart from this both Leopold Mozart and Michael Haydn wrote serenatas for orchestra with some parts for the alt trombone as a solo instrument. In the same tradition the 20 year old W.A. Mozart composed the 1st act to a church opera: Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebotes (KV 35) (the Obligation of the First and Foremost Commandment) with the aria Jener donnerworte Kraft for tenor, obligate alt trombone and strings.



Fig. 24   ALT, TENOR OG BASS TROMBONE from the 1800rds. The trombone players of the Renaissance and Baroque should be able to play in two pitches, but now they needed only one pitch which was not very high. When the slide was completely in, the pitch got only a halftone higher than before. That is why the trombone trio in the Viennese school existed of an Alt trombone in E flat, a Tenor trombone in B flat and a Bass trombone in E flat.

Apart from Vienna and some parts of Northern Italy the trombone lived a kind of hidden life in the orchestras, and the playing was bad. The English composer and music historian Charles Burney (1726-1814) tells us how difficult it was to find trombone players to the Haendel festivities in 1784: “Among these, the sacbut, or double trumpet, was sought; but so many years had elapsed since it had been used in this kingdom, that, neither the instrument, nor a performer upon it, could easily be found”.

The trombone was saved through its Biblical use as a producer of the “sound from the other side” – from heaven or from hell (se trombone under BAROUQUE). It happened first at the Opera. One of the first who used one as such was Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714 – 1748) in the opera Orpheus and Eurydice.  There is a development showing in W.A. Mozart’s operas. In Idomeneo there is a trombone, that on stage in some places accompanies the sea god Poseidon.  In Don Juan the trombones accompany the dead commander (being the statue at his grave), first alone back stage, but later when the statue visits Don Juan, they are in the orchestra.

In Die Zauberflöte, (The Magic Flute) the trombones are part of the orchestra, they are in the Overture, and in other places they give a sacral sense to the music. In some works for choir and orchestra the trombone got a natural role in the orchestra to double the voices in the choir. Joseph Haydn has trombones in his Creation, but in The Seasons he first adds the trombones and the clarinettes after the premiere.

There is a solo in Mozart’s Requiem in the Tuba Mirum. People thought it rather unique, but it was just a follow-up of the trombone tradition of that time in Vienna.

Generally Beethoven is getting credit for having introduced the trombone in the symphony orchestra, when using it in his 5th symphony, where the trombones come in in the last part. In his 6th symphony there are two trombones and in his 9th there are again three.



Fig. 25   BUCCINA  In the military orchestras the bell of the trombone often was formed like a dragon head.

It was a real renovation when the trombone in the late 1700rds came into the military music corpses. Here more ”sound” was needed, and the trombone got both a bigger bore and bell. Beside its sacral sound the trombone got an until now unknown powerful and dramatic fortissimo, which strengthened its reputation as “dooms day” instrument. Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869) writes in his “Treatise on Instrumentation” from 1844 about the sound of the trombone: “In my opinion, the trombone is the true head of that family of wind instruments which I have named the epic one. It possesses nobility and grandeur to the highest degree; it has all the serious and powerful tones of sublime musical poetry, from religious calm and imposing accents, to savage, orgiastic outbursts. Directed by the will of a master, the trombones can chant like a choir of priests, threaten, utter gloomy sighs, a mournful lament or a bright hymn of glory. They can break forth into awe-inspiring cries, and awaken the dead or doom the living with their fearful voice”. Berlioz wrote a big trombone solo for the French trombone virtuoso Antoine Dieppo in his Grande Symphonie Funebre et Triumphale.



Fig. 26   TROMBONES WITH REAR-FACING BELLS. Another phaenomena was the rear facing bell of the trombone. The construction was first of all for the ear, the sound was easier to hear by the marching musicians and soldiers in the back – but for the eye as well, for never has trombonists been painted and drawn that often as theese these uniformed military trombone players with their rear facing instruments .


As a last momentum of the old Town-musician tradition the trombone ensembles were used in church. This had been common amongst the Moravian Brotherhood (a religious community of refugees from Bohemia, living in Germany) since 1731, from which date there are kept some music books, most with Chorales, but also with some three part Sonatas, written for different combinations of Soprano-, Alto-, Tenor-, and Bass trombone.


Fig. 27 TROMBONE QUARTET FROM THE MORAVIAN BROTHERHOOD. The tradition with trombone ensembles has been kept in the USA up till our time. The picture shows a trombone quartet from Bethlehem Pennsylvania, USA, playing before the evening service in1888.  


Fig. 28  A picture of the trombone players of the Bethlehem Moravian congregation in 1867. The players are (from the left) Charles F. Beckel, Jedidiah Weiss and Jacob Till. The trombone on the empty chair is in homage to their deceased colleague Timothy Weiss.



In Austria it was common to have trombones playing Equali at funerals. Today we know this form of music from Beethoven’s three Equali for four trombones. These short chorales were played at Beethoven’s funeral in 1827, combined with a text, sung by a man’s choir. Above: the march at Beethoven’s funeral. Below: part, which shows the four trombone players.


Because of its presence in the military orchestras the trombone became immense popular. The instrument had been used rarely and it was as if a new instrument was born (which was not the case of course). The enthusiasm was not overall, a quote from Paris in 1802 says: ”Trombones, trombones, it is the best thing that happened for our new composers, it is like drums for children”. Charles Burney, who had been complaining before about the lack of trombones in London writes in 1805: ”People are now using trombones and large drums in operas, oratorios and symphonies, in such an amount that it has become a pestilence for the lovers of harmony and clear tones, because the vibrations of these instruments produce noise and no music what so ever.

Fig. 30  DANCE- AND ENTERTAINMENT- ORCHESTRA, PARIS 1828. The musician in the middle plays a trombone with a backward pointed bell. In Paris people started to use the trombone to strengthen the bass sound in the dance- and entertainment- orchestras, which altered the opinion of the trombone as a religious instrument. In 1819 a correspondent writes to the “Wiener algemeine Zeitung”: “This use, or rather misuse of this serious instrument – that according to the Bible shall sound at Doomsday, and of all instruments is chosen for this task – is not only common in this great Capital of France, but is now by the military orchestras extended all over Germany”.

In the end special trombone parts were made for pieces that originally were written without trombones! A review of Mozart’s Symphony nr.40 in g-minor, (originally without trombones), played in the German town of Hallé in 1830 says: I like to state that overall it was a fine concert, but many beautiful parts were overruled by the powerful trombones”.


In 1810 the English band master Joseph Halliday got a Horn with a hole in it, and when he found out that the pitch could be altered by closing the hole, a brass instrument was born anew. (he surely had never heard of the keyed trumpet) The new patented instrument was called the Keyed Bugle, (and to the honour of the Duke of Kent, who was the highest in rank in the English army, The Royal Kent Bugle.


Fig. 31   KEYED BUGLE. Keyed bugles with up till 12 keys were built, but 6 was most common. The pitch was C, but extra tubes could alter the pitch. The most important reason for its success was the fact that the mechanism functioned far better on this conical instrument than on the cylindrical trumpet. There was almost no influence on the sound, and it gave the instrument a great amount of possibilities.


Fig. 32 2 OLD PHOTOS OF KEYED BUGLE PERFORMERS. Left: The African American man in this early (around 1845) daguerreotype holding a keyed bugle. Right: Another performer on the keyed bugle was the bugler at West Point, Louis Benz, who was the post bugler for forty years from 1830-1870. 



Fig. 32   EDWARD “NED KENDALL” (1808 – 1861) was the leader of the Boston Brass Band and the last virtuoso on the keyed bugle. You could easily see the keyed bugle as a  “missing link”, but it was tremendous popular in all wind orchestras and it was often used as a solo instrument. It was popular for quit a long time even when instruments with valves got more in the picture. In 1865 there was a match between Patrick Gilmore, the cornet virtuoso, and Ned Kendall, the leading player on the keyed bugle. Gilmore won, but it was a close finish. (See Romantic II). In general the cornet won the battle over the keyed bugle, for even if it had the same possibilities, it had a better and cleaner sound, and it overtook all the functions of the keyed bugle.


Collins Kellogg tst[1]

Fig. 33   COLLINS KELLOGG – KEYED BUGLE PLAYER, USA, CAPTAIN ON A BOAT ON THE ERIE CANAL. FOTO FROM THE 1870s.  He played on a keyed bugle that could not only announce his arrival at the locks with a personal flourish, but also play tunes for his passengers.




Fig. 34  THE BASS HORN, THE RUSSIAN BASSOON AND THE SERPENT HORN: with a bell formed as a dragon head. Inside the dragon head was a red metal tongue that vibrated when you played the instrument. This model was popular in the military orchestras. These instruments were Serpents though. But they were easier to carry, they had more keys and the bell made of brass gave a better and bigger sound.


In 1770 came a new model of the Serpent. It was built like a bassoon and it was called a Russian Bassoon, the English version was called a Bass Horn, and the Italian version the Serpentone. They became immediately very popular in the military but they were also used in the Opera and the Symphonic orchestras, for example in the Overture by Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847: Meerstille und Glücklicher Farht (1828), and later in Wagner’s opera “Rienzi”. You can see that the instruments became more popular in a plan of the Orchestra of the Scala Opera in 1826, where there is a place for the Serpentone in the orchestra pit.



After the battle of Waterloo in 1815 the winning allied troops got together in Paris, and at the same time a so called Military Music Congress was held. When the Russian Count Constantin heard John Distin (1793 – 1863), the soloist on the keyed bugle, playing in the English “Grenadiers Guards Band” he became so enthusiastic about the instrument that he asked for one. Of course he could have ordered one from London, but he was to hurry back to Russia, and it was easier to have one made in Paris.

It was made by the Parisian instrument maker Jean Hilaire Asté (1775-1840) (also known as Halary), who in 1819 presented a whole family of keyed instruments, where amongst the bass instrument the Ophicleide (Greek- ophis: Snake, and kleis: Key).

Fig. 35   left:. OPHICLEIDE, right.: An ophicleide player from the Caussinus ophicleide school 1837

Like the Serpent was seen as the grandfather of the Tuba, the Ophicleide was seen as its father. It soon overtook the serpent in the wind orchestras and it got a place in the symphony orchestras, especially in France and Great Britain. In Germany the tuba was already in use, before the ophicleide got known. The sound of the ophicleide is a bit like that of the euphonium – but as the instruments from that time all were less powerful compared to the instruments of today, the ophicleide was a good bass instrument in the brass group, and like the euphonium, it got an important role as a solo instrument. Among the most known pieces with an ophicleide are the Overture of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn and Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. (the last piece with even two!) Some of the tones of the ophicleide are a bit unstable, and by using two instruments, pitched in C and B-minor, and letting them play unison, the ”bad” tones on one, will be ”good” on the other.

The use of the ophicleide in wind orchestras was so “normal”, that they stayed until the late 1800rds. At the ”Crystal Palace” Brass Band Competition in England in 1860 there was an orchestra with in total: 155 E-minor tubas, 2 B-minor tubas and 133 ophicleides!



Fig. 36   THE INDIANA BRASS KEYED BAND from Indiana, USA, recreates the early keyed band in the style of the bands from ca.1830.



Fig. 37   ENGLISH MILITARY MUSIC CORPS WITH SERPENT, about 1750. The player in the back plays a “ranket”, (also called “sausage bassoon”, German: “Wurstfagot). At the back of the group is a ”Turkish” percussion session, a popular percussion group that was used in wind- and in opera orchestras.


In the beginning of the 1700rds the military music corps existed of two oboes, two bassoons and two horns, it was later expanded with two clarinets. The Wind octet became immense popular in Vienna, and both Mozart and Beethoven wrote for the wind octet. As a next step percussion, piccolo, trumpet, serpent and even more instruments were added, and for these orchestras both Haydn and Beethoven wrote their military marches.


The British 1.Footguards Band 1753

Fig. 38   THE BRITISH 1st FOOTREGIMENT BAND 1753 – wind octet

In the beginning of the 1800rds all kind of brass wind instruments were added to the wind orchestras: the Keyed Bugle, Natural Trumpet, French Horn, alto-, tenor- and bass trombone, serpent and ophicleide, and thus the modern Concert Band was founded. In the 1820s there were also pure brass orchestras (with percussion)

Sjællandske Jægerkorps musikkorps litografi 1817 - 1835

Fig. 39   ”SJÆLLANDSKE JÆGER-CORPS” – MUSIC CORPS – a Danish Military Orchestra with only brass instruments. Lythografie 1817 – 1835

Today it is more common to judge instruments by their limits, but at that time it was more the opposite, the composers wrote their pieces with the possibilities of the instruments in mind. The military orchestras bloomed as never before and were loved by the people.







In 1832 Frantz Jacob August Keyper (1792-1859) (kapel nr.506) published a unique book: Studies for the metal instruments that belong to the Military Music”. Keyper was a bassoon player himself in the Danish Royal Chapel (Det Kongelige Kapel) but knew a tremendous lot about brass instruments. The book shows all know brass instruments of that time, and it gives us a good insight of how people saw them. There are also illustrations of the instruments and small pieces to play together. Keypers idea of how to play is rather interesting. Today there is no doubt that a good health and condition is best for a player of a brass instrument, but Keyper thought that it was necessary to avoid all strain by running, riding or swimming, and all that can give you a cold. The last one could be right, like the uttermost important advice: ”to avoid misuse of inciting drinks, – alcohol”.



Keyper emphasises the tenor trombone as being the instrument most suited for playing solos, and he writes about the sound in a trombone ensemble: ”The range of the trombone is expanded by the use of different dimensions, bass, tenor and alto. This gives an important and special effect: with the use of the instruments at the same time the sound is not like that of three instruments, but like one”.






About the keyed bugle: “Suited for the softest and most shaded playing of an adagio. As it with these qualities connects the power and sound of the common bugle, it is absolutely the right instrument to be the head voice in an open air ensemble that only exists of brass instruments. Like it is uttermost suited to double the clarinets in an ensemble mixed with wood instruments. Therefor it is one of best musical inventions of this time”.



About the serpent: “Among all wind instruments the serpent has the most full sound, and as its effect especially is useful in open air, it is indispensable in a well organised open air ensemble. It is not only useful to support the bass trombone, but it gives the whole ensemble more power and sound. This instrument, so unexcelled in its effect, is though so imperfect in its mechanical construction, that in spite of the many improvements, it only can be perfect, when it is possible to play all notes in a chromatic scale.