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The Early Valved Horn

"It is an obvious--but often unheeded--truth that the instrumentation of bygone composers must be judged in the perspective gained from a knowledge not merely of contemporary instruments, but (what is harder) of the technique, style, and aims of contemporary players." W. F. H. Blandford.

Introduction
This section of Horn Articles Online was the heart of the original design of the site. "The Early Valved Horn" is a compilation of extended excerpts from my published writings on the history of the horn, many of which are based on sections of my DM dissertation, "The Development of Valved Horn Technique in Early Nineteenth-Century Germany: A Survey of Performers and Works Before 1850 With Respect to the Use of Crooks, Right Hand Technique, Transposition, and Valves" (Indiana University, 1995). While I was then and still am primarily a horn player and teacher, the history of the horn in the 19th century was and remains a significant interest for me.

Early Valved HornIt should be noted that the online versions of several articles in this section have undergone significant updates compared to their published versions. However, it must also be clearly noted that the online versions of many articles have only partial footnotes, and for this reason it is very strongly recommend that the interested reader to search out the original versions of every published article of interest, especially if you are planning to use these articles as a reference in your own writings. Each article is noted as to the location of its published version. A complete list is given in my Bibliography of Publications, and back issues of most of these periodicals are still available. My dissertation can be obtained either through interlibrary loan or from the International Horn Society Thesis Lending Library maintained by Kristin Thelander at the University of Iowa (yet another good reason to belong to the IHS). Contact her for details at the School of Music, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, or refer to the most recent guide to this resource in The IHS Online, the website of the International Horn Society.

As introductory materials to this topic I strongly recommend reading the historical articles on the natural horn found in Horn Articles Online first. For these I have maintained a common header with the articles in this "book" so that readers may easily browse from article to article. I welcome your questions or comments; thank you for your interest in these writings. 

Early experiments and valved horns before 1850

Keyed Horns and Slide Horns
Heinrich Stoelzel, the inventor of the valve in 1814, was not the only one experimenting toward making the horn completely chromatic

Why Was the Valve Invented?
To make brass instruments chromatic--the idea that the valve was invented as a "mere crook changing device" is a myth

Early Valve Designs
The six most important types of early valves

What was the Omnitonic Horn?
A mere footnote in the development of horn design

The First Works for the Valved Horn
Two works from before 1820

Schubert and the Lewy Brothers
Important works from 1827 and 1828

The Original Kopprasch Etudes
Georg Kopprasch and his music

Later Editions of the Kopprasch Etudes
An overview of familiar editions of Kopprasch

Joseph Meifred and the Early Valved Horn in France
A pioneer of the valved horn

The First Orchestral Use of the Valved Horn: La Juive
The orchestral début of the valved horn

K. G. Reissiger on the Valved Horn--1837
"My love, I am a horn. Don't you recognize me any more?"

Berlioz on the Valved Horn
Excerpts from his famous treatise on orchestration

J. R. Lewy and Early Works of Wagner
The beginning of a longer article on the important German valved hornist J. R. Lewy and his career, 1837-51

The horn after 1850

Henri Kling and the Valved Horn in the Late Nineteenth Century
Comments from an important teacher

Oscar Franz and Richard Strauss on the Horn in the Late Nineteenth Century
Important comments from a hornist and from a composer

The Double Horn and Its Invention in 1897Valved horn with crook
The double horn is just over 100 years old

Miscelaneous articles

Gumpert or Gumbert?
How did the famous teacher spell his name?

Changes in Horn Design--Development or Evolution?
Are the terms interchangeable?

Horn Folklore and "Urban Legends"
How up to date are yours sources?

Selected Horn History Resources

The Solo Works for Horn of Franz Strauss
A Franz Strauss timeline and list of published works (PDF document)

Octave Designation System Used in These Articles

 

Bonus Articles:

Trashing the Valved Horn?
Comments on Valved and Natural Horns from Turn of the Century England. Currently posted in The IHS Online. Great quotations!

Piston Valved Horns at ASU
Photos and descriptions of a great pair of piston valved horns.


Periodically I also post items related to the early valved horn in Horn Matters, a great resource on all things horn. Search in the "Horn history" category.

Early valved hornFinally, a note about period instruments. I had one made for me by natural horn maker Richard Seraphinoff. It is convertable--the valve section may be removed to use the instrument as a natural horn. In the photo at right I am holding the instrument crooked in B-flat alto, but normally I play this horn crooked in F, which is how it is set up in the photo above (sitting on a piano bench).

I have performed at several horn symposiums on the early valved horn and very nearly made a solo recording on the instrument, the project that became my Canto CD. I love the topic of the early valved horn. In the near future I hope to expand these materials into a book/resoruce on the nineteenth century horn.

Thank you again for your interest in these writings and the topic of the early valved horn.

All writings copyright John Q. Ericson. All rights reserved; please read the copyright information.


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