Introducing the Baritone Horn

Aubrey introduces the Baritone Horn, and plays a short excerpt from … well … as he asks at the end, can you name that tune?

The Baritone Horn is similar to, but larger than, the smaller Tenor Horn, pitched in Eb. Both instruments are mainly found in Brass Bands in the UK, but the Baritone Horn can be found in various shapes in other bands around the world – here is a Helicon Baritone Horn being played in a brass band in Bavaria, Germany, and a Marching Baritone Horn being played in Chichago, USA:

The Baritone Horn is the same pitch (Bb) as the Euphonium, so what’s the difference between them? Well, the Baritone has a narrower tube and smaller bell than the Euphonium which is more conical, getting slowly wider all along its length giving the Euphonium a darker, more mellow sound compared to the brighter, lighter sound of the Baritone Horn.

As Aubrey says, the Baritone Horn rarely features as a solo instrument, but tends to “fill in” the harmonies and texture between the brash Trombones and the mellow Euphoniums, helping give brass bands their “sonorous” (deep, ringing) sound.

What’s all this Bb (“B flat”) and Eb (“E flat”) business? Well, the Baritone Horn and Euphonium are pitched in Bb and the Tenor Horn in Eb. This means that when a Baritone Horn player plays the note C it sounds the same pitch as a Bb on a piano, whereas a C played on the Tenor Horn sounds the same pitch as an Eb on the piano. Find out more about Bb versus Eb (transposing instruments).

Hear more from Aubrey and the Baritone Horn as he plays the tune “Linden Lea”, an English Folk Tune, collected and arranged by the famous composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Did you guess the tune Aubrey played a short excerpt of in his introduction? If you are from Tyneside, then you really ought to have recognised “The Blaydon Races” by George Ridley, the famous Geordie anthem! If you are from elsewhere, then we’ll let you off for not knowing and we’re pleased to help with your education! Here ye gan:

Return to Introducing Brass Musical Instruments