Owen said:and they struggled with the speedier stuff and seemed not to be able to trill - that might be a function of rotary valves?
No - a function of the fact that the French Horn is a Tuba-length tube, and so is playing in the super register when high (the narrow bore and mouthpiece allow the players to reach these harmonics). In other words, many trills are likely to have to be lip trills, and inferior players probably won't be able to perform them. Re running about, French Horn parts rarely get speedy anywhere in the same way as band parts often do, and so mostly they don't have the experience.
midwalesman said:Isn't the Wagnarian Tuba, utilised surprisingly by Wagner in The Ring and many other pieces, a baritone or Euphonium of some kind ?
No - the bore is somewhat more tapered than a French Horn, but the mouthpiece is identical to the idiosyncratic French Horn one, and they are conical throughout. To play, they are far more French Horny than Saxhorny or Tubaey.
James McFadyen said:Accidental said:As an ex-french horn player, I can only say NOOOOO!!!
One of the most defining characteristics of the brass band sound is that it is homogenous, and we get that through using cornets not trumpets and saxhorn-type lower brass. Trumpets and french horns sound "wrong" for BB, cornets and t.horns sound wrong for an orchestra - but that isn't a bad thing imho. I don't like the french horn sound, or clarinets and flutes etc, thats why I chose to play in a brass band not a wind band or orchestra.
I understand what your saying, but I don't think homogenous, is the right word. Homogeneoty can be obtained with any combination of instruments.
Beg to differ, but I think homogeneous is exactly the right word. I think my suggestion for the word you are looking for would be 'equilibrium'.
And herein lies the key to my opinion on the issue - the tonal strength of a brass band lies in its ability to make a homogeneous sound, also noting however that this is intrinsically tempered by the 'edge' that the Trombones in particular can add. Essentially put, given the musical conception of a brass band sound as it exists in our minds (and those of other musicians), regularly adding an extra tonal counterpoint would entail losing a great deal more than we would gain - we have a well-established and balanced concept and we introduce tonal instabilities into that at our own peril!
Yes, for specialist features of course it's a good idea, but a serious brass band that took on four French Horns full-time would not really be a brass band any more - by all means we should run ensembles of whatever combinations we desire, but why do some people have the compulsion to confuse the sonic concept of a brass band? This debate suggests a certain confusion between the label "brass band" and the entities described by it.
And of course, Wonky Baton's point is valid from a pragmatic point of view - you have to be a good player not to spoil everything for everybody else by playing it inaccurately and cuttingly; it is a very hard instrument to begin to master!