french horns

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Bbmad, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    why dont brass bands have french horns?
  2. MosleyMF

    MosleyMF New Member

    Probably because they are too hard to play well. I tried one once. All the valves were wrong. Weird. Why do people try and fix what isn't broken!
  3. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    The technical facility of most TH players is way in excess of your average so called 'professional' french hornist. In most orchestral pieces they either seem to just play long notes or cliche ridden horn-call / fanfare snipets. Stealing a living compared to the likes of Sheona White or Owen Farr.
  4. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    I forgot, trumpets, why no trumpets?
  5. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    French horns have something like a 5 and half octave range, and a lot of the playing is in the area where the harmonics are so close together it's really difficult not to split notes. Imagine playing any other brass instrument above the stave all the time and think how close the notes are together and how easy to split. They also don't have the same tone characteristics (IMO) to fit in with the brass band sound. That said, they are a fantastic instrument - when I was in the sixth form my tutor thought it would be a good idea to learn to play it in addition to the tenor horn so that I would have more strings to my bow when I went to study music at university. I got to grade 7 standard after about a year, but I hit the limit of my ability after that!
  6. MosleyMF

    MosleyMF New Member

    I'm sure they are a good instrument for 3 notes a symphony and all, but I wouldnt fancy the chances of even the better exponents of the instrument on that evil section in Merry Christmas Everybody arranged by David Broadbelt that surely has to be one of the hardest things ever written for Tenor Horn!
  7. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    Surely a higher pitched instrument would be in order then so you are not 'playing above the stave all the time' where the harmonics are so close? Also, whats with having to put your hand in the end? - no wonder they sound rubbish. No way you would ever be able to play Evergreen or Goodbye to love on one of these 'instruments', nevermind something like Iona. The whole french horn thing is a proper emperors clothes style con. Lets face it. If you tried any other brass instrument and you had to stick your hand in the bell to hold it, and every other note was a split you would send it back to the shop.
  8. MosleyMF

    MosleyMF New Member

    As a matter of interest. What are harmonics. I see they are spoken about alot on this forum. Does it have something to do with harmony? Or is it something to do with the notes being so close together? If the latter, is this why French Horns sound so dull because they don't use vibrato incase it turns into a wobble between two notes instead?
  9. Fat_Bari

    Fat_Bari Member

  10. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    It's ok, but lets face it, it's not exactly great is it. Just sounds like a thin euph quartet.
  11. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I have to differ on that. I recently heard the LPO in Toronto and the horn playing was phenomenal. Not a cracked note all night and some very high and exposed playing.

    As for french horns in brass bands, I used to really enjoy listening to the Red Shield Band in my younger days and the use of french horns gave the band a very unique sound. As much as I enjoyed it, I wouldn't want to see that as a permanent change in brass bands. The music is not written with french horns in mind and would therefore suffer as a result.

    I also remember Ifor James using tenor cors in place of Eb horns with Besses for a few years. Presumably he was looking for a more orchestral sound in the middle but also realized that french horns wouldn't work for one reason or another.
  12. Ritzer

    Ritzer New Member

    I don't know why anyone would want to use a french horn. The players themselves are decidedly average, how many times do you hear a ropey tenor horn player in comparison to a french horn? Very rarely. It's a poor instrument and I agree with hobgoblin that it robs people like Owen Farr and Sheona White. David Childs once said that a French horn section could be replaced in the orchestra with a section of euphoniums. I can't help but wonder if he's on to something here, the problem of the average horn player would be eliminated and a better instrument would beintroduced into the orchestral world. Players like Thornton, Williams and White etc could actually have the professional playing career they deserve.
  13. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Interesting thoughts. From a historical point of view, does anyone know when brass bands settled upon the now established line up of instruments and how it came to be that french horns and trumpets and such like were excluded?
  14. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

  15. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    You might find some answers on this thead : .

    I was very pleased with the great wealth of knowledge shared there :).
  16. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    Agreed, so why are the orchestral players so snobby and superior when it comes to brass band instruments and brass bands in general. Surely, there is merit in both, or are some so stuck up their own posterior that they can't see past their own narrow world - and there's more than a few brass band players who are also guilty of that.
  17. French horns have different fingering. If you google for a French horn fingering chart, you'll see that they are basically a bass in F with narrow tubing so it can play high notes. All brass band instruments follow the same fingering, and get tricky around top C. French horns top C is one octave different, so that's only middle C so the potential for splits goes up massively.

    in a brass band you can give your sop player an Bb bass and they'll know the fingering and read the music. Give them a French horn and they'd be lost.
  18. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

  19. Ritzer

    Ritzer New Member

    I know exactly what you mean. There's a real snobbery when it comes to the orchestral world and I've no idea why. In many cases the orchestral world could be improved with brass band instruments. Just imagine David Childs idea of a French horn section replaced by a section of euphoniums. It would sound so much better and richer. I like the idea of a section of tenor horns too, maybe for different works you could change the sections? Disgraceful really it robs players like David Thornton, Matt White, Gary Curtin etc of the careers they deserve!
    Also those orchestral musicians never use any vibrato and we all know you should use vibrato all the time. I think there's a lot these orchestral players could learn from us, I don't know what on earth they teach them at these music colleges. And then there's their music. Who wants to listen to Mahler? (Hope that's the correct name) when you could listen to Paul Lovatt Cooper?
  20. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    Really!! I sort of get the feeling this post is so tongue in cheek and that none of it is meant to be serious? At least I hope that is the case as it is so ludicrous to think that euphoniums and/or tenor horns can replace a French horn section! And I would much rather listen to Mahler than PLC any day of the week! Sheesh!!!!!!