Joseph Meifred and Teaching Valved Horn Technique

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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.

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