Horns on the Recital II: Single Horns

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After the natural horn the next phase of the story of the horn to feature on the recital this year is the early valved horn. For this phase I also had several options as to horns. ASU owns a couple of piston valve horns and the single horn in this article was given a good trial but the ergonomics are terrible and the valves leak too much. It is cool looking (it is the horn I am holding in this photo) but for a public recital it needs to play up to a certain level and this horn does not make that level, it needs at the least a valve job to be usable in a recital context.

I also mentioned in the prior article a natural horn I have being convertible into an early valved horn. That is very authentic but also rejected, grudgingly, as this final single F horn with crooks just plays better.

This horn is a mutt; the body is from an old King single horn I purchased used, the bell flare is adapted from my old (now long sold) Holton descant, and the crook was made from very authentic tapers with the help of Richard Seraphinoff. I made two crooks for this horn, the F crook is on the horn and the E crook is also in the photo. The pattern of the body is a Gumpert model single horn, based on a photo I found in a book and made again with the help of Seraphinoff. It is certainly the best playing of the three options and for a public recital and again that is the bottom line. On this horn, crooked in F, I will play one of the Gounod Melodies.

UPDATE: I found a better combination of horn and crook! See part IV.

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On this horn and on the natural horn I will use a copy of a period mouthpiece by Moosewood with my rim that seems to be the best playing of all the options I had available to try. The model as listed in their website is

Model LGC: For Cor Alto or Cor Basso, from Lowell Greer’s Courtois original. Ex-deep convex contour, #11 bore, no backbore.

After that I move on to single B-flat. For this the choice was easy, this Alexander single B-flat, discussed more in this article. Before the invention of the double horn there was actually a raging controversy about which was better, single F or single B-flat. I can tell you with certainty that the single B-flat plays a lot more easily and will be a pleasure to play the Reinecke Notturno upon. On this I will use an Osmun copy of my 5BN with a European shank.

I will also play on two different double horns and will close with those in the final article of this series.

University of Horn Matters