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Topic: Natural Horn

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  1. #1

    Natural Horn

    Has anyone an idea, what a "Natural Horn" is in opposite to something like a "Cornet in b"? Are there any sample libraries with a "Natural Horn"?

    And as far as suggestions go: I need a "Basset Horn" too.

    Something for GPOA to think off.

  2. #2

    Re: Natural Horn

    A "Natural" horn is what all horns were before valves were invented. Their available pitches were limited to the natural overtone series, hence the term "natural" horn. You could obtain a few other pitches by moving the hand around in the bell, but that resulted in noticable changes in timbre. I don't think they're available in any sample library.

    As for the Basset horn (actually a kind of tenor clarinet), there's one in XSample Vol. 12. Read about it here: http://www.xsample.de/english/index.htm
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  3. #3

    Exclamation Re: Natural Horn

    Quote Originally Posted by GlassPearlPlayer
    Has anyone an idea, what a "Natural Horn" is in opposite to something like a "Cornet in b"? Are there any sample libraries with a "Natural Horn"?

    And as far as suggestions go: I need a "Basset Horn" too.

    Something for GPOA to think off.
    Natural horn: imagine a "French" horn without the valves (horn players insist that the name of their instrument is simply "horn", without the "French"). Before valves were used on the horn, one played only the natural overtone series, plus those notes you could get by "stopping" the horn (inserting the hand far enough into the bell to change the pitch). The natural horn typically came with a set of crooks (additional lengths of tubing to insert between the mouthpiece and the instrument) to change the pitch. Thus, a composer might score for a horn in F, a horn in D, a horn in C, and a horn in G in order to cover all the notes he wanted played. For example, B natural isn't in the natural overtone series for the F horn, but would be for the E (or G) horn. A single horn player would be able to change crooks during a piece, if given a few measures of rest, but would not be playing a chromatic scale without using hand stopping.

    Basset horn is essentially a clarinet pitched in the key of F (below the soprano) that has been extended down to low C (written, sounding low F). Antique basset horns had a bore diameter very close to that of the soprano clarinet, and a distinctive timbre. Modern basset horns typically have a wider bore, and are essentially alto clarinets in F with a C extension. There are also "basset clarinets", which are normal clarinets in A or Bb (and even C) with range extended down to low C (written). The basset horn was a favorite instrument of Mozart.

    Enjoy!

    Grant
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

  4. #4

    Talking Re: Natural Horn

    Quote Originally Posted by GlassPearlPlayer
    Has anyone an idea, what a "Natural Horn" is in opposite to something like a "Cornet in b"? Are there any sample libraries with a "Natural Horn"?

    And as far as suggestions go: I need a "Basset Horn" too.

    Something for GPOA to think off.
    As for libraries with natural horn, I don't know of one. However, the open notes should sound essentially identical to the modern french horn, and the stopped notes will sound identical to the modern french horn when stopped (i.e., with the hand jammed into the bell), so any brass library that includes both open and stopped horn will be able to emulate a natural horn. Then its just a matter of figuring out which notes would have to be stopped instead of open.

    Enjoy!

    Grant
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

  5. #5

    Re: Natural Horn

    Quote Originally Posted by GDG
    However, the open notes should sound essentially identical to the modern french horn, and the stopped notes will sound identical to the modern french horn when stopped (i.e., with the hand jammed into the bell), so any brass library that includes both open and stopped horn will be able to emulate a natural horn. Then its just a matter of figuring out which notes would have to be stopped instead of open.
    As a horn player, I feel I must supplement this information.

    Contrary to popular belief, a properly executed horn "stop" results in a note one half-step higher than the unstopped note with the same fingering. On the other hand, a hand-bent note on the natural horn is almost exclusively "semi-stopped," and results in pitches a half step to a whole step lower than the unaltered pitch with the same fingering.

    The tonal quality is also very different. Marking a note stopped (+) in a modern piece means the bell is fully closed, and the sound is very thin, brassy, and aggressive. In contrast, a natural horn with a hand-bent note will have a veiled quality to it, somewhat closer to the sound of a muted horn.

    By the way, this plays curiously into a notable rule in traditional counterpoint. Generally speaking, two voices should not approach a perfect fifth via similar motion. The one exception is called "horn fifths," and is likely to have been made due to the note limitations on natural horns playing in harmony.

    Hn 1: C - D - E
    Hn 2: E - G - C
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  6. #6

    Thumbs up Re: Natural Horn

    Quote Originally Posted by Skysaw
    As a horn player, I feel I must supplement this information.

    Contrary to popular belief, a properly executed horn "stop" results in a note one half-step higher than the unstopped note with the same fingering. On the other hand, a hand-bent note on the natural horn is almost exclusively "semi-stopped," and results in pitches a half step to a whole step lower than the unaltered pitch with the same fingering.

    The tonal quality is also very different. Marking a note stopped (+) in a modern piece means the bell is fully closed, and the sound is very thin, brassy, and aggressive. In contrast, a natural horn with a hand-bent note will have a veiled quality to it, somewhat closer to the sound of a muted horn.

    By the way, this plays curiously into a notable rule in traditional counterpoint. Generally speaking, two voices should not approach a perfect fifth via similar motion. The one exception is called "horn fifths," and is likely to have been made due to the note limitations on natural horns playing in harmony.

    Hn 1: C - D - E
    Hn 2: E - G - C
    You are correct, of course

    I've always loved that stopped horn timbre - a very dramatic effect.

    Grant
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

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