Clarino horn, hunting horn, and hand horn : their comparative roles in the classic music of the eighteenth century

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Brown, Thomas M. (Thomas Martin), 1945-
Hodgson, Peter J., 1929-2007
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Thesis (D.A.)
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The thesis of this study is that there were three general styles of horn playing in the music of the classic period. The most basic horn style was closely related to the hunting horn as it was played in the field, and it is therefore termed the hunting-horn style. The use of hand stopping as a systematic technique broadened the melodic capability of the natural horn and brought about a school of performers who played in what is referred to as the hand-horn style. The hand-horn style in the classic period was essentially an extension of the hunting-horn style, retaining much of the musical character of the hunting horn. In addition to these two styles, the high-tessitura clarino style, which had been especially important in the trumpet and horn music of the late-baroque period, continued to be used in the classic period in a form consistent with the style characteristics of the later-eighteenth century.It is argued that the clarino style of the baroque period represents an adaptation of the natural brass instrument to a preconceived musical style. Most of the horn music of the classic period, on the other hand, is expressly suited to the acoustical properties of the natural instrument. It appears, in fact, that the introduction of the hunting horn into the orchestra influenced the classic style in its formative stages. At the same time, the cultural and musical trends of the eighteenth century were especially receptive of the innate musical qualities of the natural horn.A section of the fourth chapter, which deals with hand horn, treats at some length a phenomenon which has been noticed by other writers: the scarcity of hand stopping in the horn parts of classic orchestra scores. The present writer finds that the hand-horn style requires a more closed hand position than what is normally considered a good position by modern players. The hand position used by the handhornist gives the sound a more subdued quality. Thus, the hand-horn timbre did not afford the kind of resonance and blend which the classic composer sought from the horns in the orchestra.The appendices include photographs of an antique Raoux hand horn.