What Are the Different Parts of a French Horn?

The French horn is a brass instrument with a variety of parts that can be used the player to change the pitch and tone. It is primarily made up of one long coiled, conical tube, but it also has a variety of other parts that can be used the player to change the pitch and tone. The mouthpiece is on one end, and the player blows into it to force air through the horn. The tube opens into a flared bell at the other end, into which the player inserts his or her hand while playing. The valve levers, which are pressed to change the pitch of the notes being played, are the other major components of a French horn.

The main body, which is made up of a single long tube, is one of the most visible parts of a French horn. The tube is usually 12 feet (3.6 meters) long. It starts at the mouthpiece and descends into a circular body, where it coils several times before opening out into the bell at the other end.

The mouthpiece is another important component of a French horn. This part of the horn is slender and cone-shaped, and it comes in a variety of sizes to suit the player’s desired note range. Depending on the amount of lip tension used and the amount of air blown into the mouthpiece, a player can also produce higher or lower notes.

The wide, flared bell at the horn’s end, from which the horn’s music is generated, is perhaps the most striking of the horn’s parts. Because the bell is so large, transporting the instrument can be difficult, most modern French horns have a removable bell to make it easier. The French horn is unlike any other instrument in that it is held across the body with the bell facing backward. Another unique feature of the instrument is that the player’s hand rests inside the bell, allowing him or her to control the amount of air released and thus the tone and volume of the music.

The levers, which control a series of rotary valves, are the last major component of a French horn. The player adjusts the air flow through the tubing pressing the levers, which changes the pitch of the notes being played. French horns come in two varieties: single horns with three valves and double horns with a fourth valve controlled the thumb.