Mini-poll: Is it the ‘French horn’ or just a ‘Horn?’


This poll is now closed

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Both John and I have written a few articles recently on the topic of the name of our instrument in the English language  – is it a French horn or is it just a horn?

Like discussions about the embouchure, this is a hot-button issue that can spark personal pet peeves and even some heated discourse.

Its all about context

I think that John and I are more-or-less of the same opinion – that the use of either term is largely dependent on context.

Outside of the music circle, the term horn can cause some confusion since in the English language the word can have multiple meanings. Among fellow musicians who understand the distinction however, the term horn is perfectly understood.

The infamous 1971 recommendation

The controversy appears to stem directly from what has more-or-less become the de facto slogan for the International Horn Society:

The International Horn Society recommends that HORN be recognized as the correct name for our instrument in the English language. [From the Minutes of the First General Meeting, June 15, 1971, Tallahassee, Florida USA]

To this day, this recommendation has retained a prominent spot in both the IHS web site and its journal publications. It is a rather stark choice over more traditional, people-friendly, mission-statement-type slogans like “sharing the joy of music through the instrument we love.”

A two-part poll

But enough of what I think – what do you think?

Please take a moment and offer your feedback in this informal and completely unscientific straw poll.




Please feel free to enter any followup comments below. Since my opinion on the topic is well-known (here and here, for instance) I am boycotting myself from participating in this dialogue in order to leave things open for readers to discuss.

University of Horn Matters