Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/761

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HORN.
749
 

which suggested to Hampl, a celebrated horn-player at the court of Dresden, about the year 1770, to do the same with the Horn. To his surprise the insertion of the pad of cotton raised [App. p.679 "lowered"] the pitch of the instrument by a semitone. Struck with the result, he employed his hand instead of the pad, and discovered the first and original method by which the intervals between the harmonic series of open notes could be partially bridged over. The notes thus modified have since been termed 'hand notes,' and the instrument itself the 'Hand horn.' Sir John Hawkins mentions a concerto played by an artist named Spandau with the help of the hand notes in 1773, 'attempering the sound by the application of his fingers in the different parts of the tube.'

The method of stopping the Horn is not by introducing the closed fist into the bell, but the open hand, with the fingers close together, some way up the bore. By drawing the fingers back, the natural sounds are again produced. The degree in which the Horn is stopped is not the same for all stopped notes: there being half and whole stopping. In the first, by raising the hand the bell alone is, as it were, closed: in the second the hand is introduced as far as if it were intended almost to prevent the passage of air.

Between the stopped or 'hand notes' and the open notes there is an obvious difference in character and quality which it is impossible wholly to suppress, but which may be sufficiently modified so as not to offend the ear. This object is attained by blowing the open notes softly, so as to reduce the contrast between their sonorousness, and the closed or 'stuffed' (étouffé) character of those modified by means of the hand. Much difference of opinion exists as to the superiority of the simple Handhorn, or the more modern instrument furnished with valves. It appears certain that the lightness and vibratile power of the former, added to the absence of abrupt bends and sinuosities in the bore, adds materially to the brilliancy of the tone. But, on the other hand, in rapid melodic passages, such as it is now the fashion to write, the alternation of open and stopped notes tends to produce uncertainty and unevenness. The older composers, especially Mozart, seem to have been aware of this fact, and employ both open and stopped notes with full consciousness of their respective effects. Many examples could be given of the mournful and mysterious effect of the stopped notes judiciously used. A convenient compromise between the two forms of the instrument has been adopted by fixing a pair of valves on the tuning slide named above. It is quaintly termed a 'grasshopper' action, and can easily be removed when the simple tube is preferred. Mr. Ford has registered a sliding action like that of the trombone, or slide trumpet, in place of the valves, by means of which notes can be depressed to any extent according to the ear of the performer. This excellent plan, which would at once give the horn the enharmonic accuracy now possessed by the trumpet and trombone alone among wind instruments, does not seem to have attracted the notice it deserves. The same may be said of Mr. Bassett's comma valve, applicable both to Horn and Trumpet, by which the error existing between major and minor tones may be corrected. [See Trumpet.]

The scale of the Horn consists of a fundamental tone, and the consecutive harmonics or 'upper partial' tones of an open tube which reaches the extreme length of 16 feet. It has usually been described as of conical shape; but Mr. Blaikley has ingeniously shown of late that a somewhat different form, with a hyperbolic contour, is required to produce accurate harmonic relations, in consequence of the mouthpiece not being applied to the exact apex of the cone, but somewhat lower down.

As the prime tone of so long a tube is very deep, the harmonics in the middle of the scale lie so close together as to produce many consecutive notes. Eight-foot C is usually taken as the fundamental note, and the scale founded on it is given as follows, the two highest notes being seldom or never used.


{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \cadenzaOn \clef bass c,2 c4 g c' \clef treble e' g' bes' c'' d'' e'' f'' fis'' g'' a'' bes'' b'' c''' d''' e''' }

This notation is substantially correct for the 8-foot or C alto instrument, now disused; and it is clear that it will have to be lowered successively through a whole chromatic octave as the longer and deeper crooks are made use of. For the C basso crook, 8-foot C will thus become 16-foot C, on the 6th space below the bass stave, and with all intermediate crooks the real foundation sound will be some intermediate note of the 16-foot octave. How well the great value of these low notes was known to Beethoven is evident from more than one passage in his works. In the allegro moderate of his Sonata in F for Horn and Piano (op. 17) the following passage occurs twice over:—

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \mark \markup { \small {\italic { Horn in } F.}}
 \clef bass \partial 2 r2\pp |
 c,1^\< | g,,1^\! \> | c,4^\! r4 r2 | s }

The same note also occurs in the 7th Symphony. Allowing for a crook one-fifth lower, the real sounds would be as at (a):—


{ \override Score.TimeSignautre #'stencil = ##f \relative f,, { \clef bass f1 c^\markup { \small \italic { (a) } }
 \partial 4 f4 \bar "||" \clef bass f'1 c1^\markup { \small \italic { (b) } } f4 }} that is to say, 16-foot F and 16-foot C. The former of these is practically, and the latter entirely impossible on a tube of under 12 feet long. It is evident therefore, that by a freak of notation, the bass notes have been referred to a 16-foot scale, whereas those in the treble, as already explained, belong to one of 8 feet, and the real note sounded is as at (b). This accounts for the ordinary but erroneous statement in Horn Methods, that the 'Treble part is conventionally written an octave higher than it is