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French-horn.png Horn
  1. Introduction
  2. General Information
  3. Playing Technique
  4. Repertoire
  5. Glossary
  6. Partial List of Authors

Inexpensive stopped muting[edit]

Many horn players own stopping mutes for when the music calls for them. If ever you are playing stopped passages, these come in handy. However, mutes can be expensive. A similar device can be created inexpensively.


  • a styrofoam cup
  • a pencil or pen
  • a straw (optional)
  • a pair of scissors (optional)
  1. Puncture the bottom of the cup with the pen or pencil.
  2. Optionally, insert the straw into the hole. Cutting the length of the straw with scissors to desired length is recommended.
  3. Move the straw in and out of the cup while the "mute" is in the horn and you are playing. Tune the mute by adjusting the straw with an electronic tuner.

This is not a perfect substitute for a real stopping mute, but works when in a pinch.

Water emptying[edit]

As a consequence of a hornist blowing warm, moist air through metal pipes, a great deal of water condenses and comes together in liquid form inside the instrument. When too much water has condensed, airflow is obstructed and one can hear unmusical flops and pops while playing. The water must then be removed.

Hornists usually use gravity to their advantage when removing water. Often, the horn can be rotated so that the water can pour out of the lead pipe.

While every horn is different, there is one trick for emptying water out of the valve slides that is universal across all horns.

  1. Hold the horn so that the bell is above everything else and the valves are pointed straight to the ground.
  2. Depress all three valves. Hold it this way for at least two seconds.
  3. Lift off the first two valves while keeping the third down.
  4. Rotate the horn back to its normal position and keep rotating until the valves are no longer parallel to the ground.
  5. Remove the third-valve pipes. All the water was moved into these pipes and can be dumped quickly.

An Easy High C[edit]

This works on most horns:

  1. Play a C in the treble staff, using the F side of the horn.
  2. Press the first valve lever partially down.
  3. Continue to push it further down until the note jumps up an octave on its own.

While learning this one, remember that your lips are not buzzing the high C, they are buzzing the C in the staff the whole time.

Whistle Through Your Horn[edit]

This one is quite useless:

  1. Remove the tubing from one of your tuning slides.
  2. Push down the valves in such a way that the airstream would go through the tubing you removed.
  3. With your mouth in the mouthpiece, form an embouchure that is like whistling and also is like a recorder's mouthpiece.
  4. Blow lightly.