Joseph Meifred and Teaching Valved Horn Technique


One thing that has probably come through in Horn Matters is that an interest of mine is the history of how the horn has been taught. I find old method books to be especially interesting, and one of the best but almost completely unknown today is the method of Joseph Meifred. I have a brief profile of him in a longer article in Horn Articles Online, where I wrote,

Joseph Meifred (1791-1867) was an active teacher, a student of horn design, and a pioneer performer on the valved horn. A Cor basse, Meifred studied the natural horn with Dauprat at the Paris Conservatory, where he was awarded the First Prize for horn in 1818. In 1833 the Paris Conservatory instituted a valved horn class with Meifred as professor; he held this position until his retirement in 1864 [Coar, 156-57].

Meifred’s Méthode pour le Cor Chromatique, ou à Pistons, published in 1840, was the first method for the valved horn written by a major performer.

This image is of a horn from his method book. For me what is especially interesting is he started really from scratch at how to teach valved horn; it was a brand new instrument. Elements of his exact method are really out of step with modern technique as it involved a combination of open and half stopped notes on a two valve horn (read the longer article for more) but if you get past that element actually quite a few of the materials in his method are great but really rarely used. In fact, I could be the only horn teacher using them today but not for long! I have included quite a number of his exercises in my upcoming horn technique book. As of this writing I am not set on a title but it is all laid out and being proofed and should be finished in time to display it and a low range book at the Southeast and Midsouth horn workshops this year. Be watching for more as the books are released.