What Is a Double French Horn?

The B-flat and F horns are combined to form a double French horn. Due to the inaccuracy of single instruments, this combination solved problems with very high notes. Depending on the location and musician, different manufacturers are preferred. Horn music was traditionally used to create special effects in music. Due to its wide range, this is one of the most versatile instruments in the orchestra.

Edmund Kruspe, a German, created the first double French horn in 1897. This new version was created to address intonation issues in the higher musical range, where the single horn pitch was extremely inaccurate and difficult to master for musicians. The F and B-flat horns have been combined to create this instrument.

The F horn produces deeper, warmer tones, whereas the B-flat horn produces higher, brighter tones, both of which are easily played in tune. Each tone is associated with one side of the instrument. The valve alters the length of the instrument, therealtering the harmonics and pitch.

In Europe, musicians favor the Paxman of London or Alexander of Mainz double French horn. The Alexander model has a medium-sized bell, whereas Paxman models have a variety of bell sizes. Each musician is likely to have a strong preference for a particular model.

The Knopf and Kruspe models are the most popular double French horns in the United States. The fourth valve on the Knopf version is played with the pinky finger, whereas the fourth valve on the Kruspe version is played with the thumb. Because of the vale’s placement, the air flow in the two models is quite different.

In an orchestra, a double French horn is common. Originally, the horn was used to create specific, one-of-a-kind sound effects, such as hunting signaling. This sound is also used to represent the concept of distance. Most orchestras will have at least two horn players, though some pieces, such as Richard Strauss’ Eine Alpinesinfonie, may require as many as twenty.

Because of the variety of tones and tone coloring, this brass instrument is frequently used in fanfares and military music. The horn is thought to blend well with woodwind instruments when played with long and mellow tones. Due to its wide range, the double French horn is considered one of the most versatile orchestral instruments.