Recommended Reading for Horn Players: A Short List

Looking for some horn or music related reading?  Consider this short list I put together for our studio class this semester.  It obviously doesn’t contain everything, but includes books that I’ve personally read and would recommend to horn players.  Some are written from a somewhat humorous – but still informative – perspective, while others are written in a more serious historical/musicological style.  Some are brand new, while others have become classics in the literature. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting individual reviews on some of the newer titles, including Letters from Lines and Spaces, a collection of letters to and from Terry Johns, who performed in the horn sections of the London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (cover image above linked from the book’s page on  and it’s also available in Kindle format on  I intentionally left out method books, such as The Art of French Horn Playing by Philip Farkas and many others, because they could easily constitute their own list (perhaps in a future post). Additionally, any one of these would make an excellent holiday gift for a horn player.  Have a favorite horn or music book that you don’t see here?  Comment below and let me know what’s on your short list.


  • Coar, Birchard. The French Horn. Dekalb, Illinois: Self-published, 1947.
  • Fitzpatrick, Horace. The Horn and Horn-playing and the Austro-Bohemian Tradition, 1680-1830. London: Oxford University Press, 1970.
  •  Gregory, Robin.  The Horn: A Guide to the Modern Instrument. London: Faber and Faber, 1961. [ML955.G7]
  •  Morley-Pegge, Reginald. The French Horn: Some Notes on the Evolution of the Instrument and of its Technique. New York: W.W. Norton, 1960, 1973.
  • Tuckwell, Barry. Horn.  London and Sydney: MacDonald & Co., 1983.


  • Amram, David. Vibrations: The Adventures and Musical Times of David Amram. New York:  Macmillan, 1968.
  •  Fako, Nancy Jordan. Philip Farkas and his Horn: A Happy, Worthwhile Life. Elmhurst, Illinois: Crescent Park Music Publications, 1998.
  •  Frederiksen, Brian. Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind. Gurnee, Illinois: WindSong Press, 1996.
  •  Gamble, Stephen and William Lynch. Dennis Brain: A Life in Music. Denton, Texas: University of North TexasPress, 2011.
  •  Johns, Terry. Letters from Lines and Spaces. Self-published, 2011.
  •  Meek, Harold. Horn and Conductor: Reminiscences of a Practitioner with a Few Words of Advice. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1997.
  • Miller, Todd. Carved in Stone: The Life and Musical Legacy of Vincent DeRosa. Fullerton, California: Self-published, 2009.
  •  Yancich, Milan. An Orchestra Musician’s Odyssey: A View from the Rear. Atlanta: Wind Music, Inc., 1995.


  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper & Row, 1990.
  •  Gallwey, W. Timothy. The Inner Game of Tennis.  New York: Random House, 1974.
  •  Gelb, Michael J. Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1994.
  •  Kaslow, David M. Living Dangerously with the Horn: Thoughts on Life and Art. Bloomington, Indiana: Birdalone Books, 1996.
  •  Rees, Jasper. A Devil to Play: One Man’s Quest to Master the Orchestra’s Most Difficult Instrument. HarperCollins, 2009.
  •  Ristad, Eloise. A Soprano on her Head: Right-Side-Up Reflections on Life and Other Performances. Moab, Utah: Real People Press, 1982.
  • Westney, William. The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self. Pompton and Cambridge: Amadeus Press, 2003.

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