Introducing the Tenor Horn

Chris introduces the Tenor Horn, also known as the Eb (E flat) Horn, or the Alto Horn in the USA, and plays a short excerpt (a “cadenza”) from Misty, a jazz standard written by Erroll Garner in 1954.

As a special treat, listen to Chris play the whole of Misty. We think you’ll agree that it is indeed a beautiful, warm, mellow sound. Chris tells us he recorded this in his bathroom not because it was the only place he could get some peace and quiet, but for the acoustic qualities!

The Tenor Horn is a medium sized brass instrument, lower pitched than instruments like the Cornet and higher pitched than the Euphonium and Baritone Horn.

It has a warm, mellow tone, fairly quiet and understated (unlike the more brash, brassy Trumpet or Trombone) as Chris describes and demonstrates very well.

It is most commonly found in Brass Bands, where it adds the middle harmony helping give brass bands their warm, rounded sound. It is sometimes called the “heart” of the band.

It looks very similar to the Baritone Horn. Both are played upright and have the same shape, but the Baritone Horn has more tubing making it a longer, and lower pitched, instrument.

The Tenor Horn is similar in size and pitch to the French Horn, which is more commonly used in Orchestras, but has a very different sound. The Tenor Horn is held in the upright position and played with the right hand fingers on the valves, whereas the French Horn is played with the left hand fingers on the valves and the right hand inside the bell that points to the side and behind the player.

Why is it called the “Eb (E flat)” Horn? Read about Bb versus Eb (transposing instruments).

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