A New Toy

naturalhorn1Near the end of last semester I purchased a new toy — a natural horn. It’s a great little instrument, and perfect for my needs, which mainly involve demonstrations for students and general noodling around. The horn was created by removing the valve section from an old York single F horn, and the work was beautifully done by Susan Anderson of Jackelope Brassworks in Eugene, OR.  In addition to the “valvectomy,” the bell has been nicely painted (see image below). The horn also came with three crooks, F (shown here), E-flat, and a coupler to create a D crook.  Although it isn’t historically accurate in terms of bell size or tapers, it is a lot of fun to play and durable enough to bring along for high school demonstrations. Back before the semester break I used it to demonstrate a portion of the Rondo from Mozart’s K. 495 concerto while on tour with our faculty brass trio. Most of the students had never seen a natural horn before, so it was quite fun explaining a bit about the history of the instrument and its technique. After the short demo we followed up with my arrangement of the same Rondo movement for brass trio (using modern instruments). I plan to do some more playing on this horn in the future, working especially out of John Ericson’s new E-book Natural Horn Playing TodayThe instrument was very reasonably priced, and if you are in the market for an entry-level natural horn I encourage you to check out Jackelope Brassworks.

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