Tenor horn

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Tenor horn
Italian flicorno tenore , French bugle ténor
Tenor horn in oval (Bohemian) construction
classification Aerophone
brass instrument
range Tenor horn range
Range of a four-valve tenor horn
Template: Infobox musical instrument / maintenance / sound sample parameters missing Related instruments

Baritone horn , euphonium , trombone

Category: tenor horn player
Tenor horn in straight (German) construction

The tenor horn is a wide- bored brass instrument with three or four valves . It is with a cup mouthpiece (a deep cup mouthpiece played) and belongs to the family of bugles . The main tube length of the conical brass tube is (in B- tuning ) about 266 cm, about twice as long as that of the B- flugelhorn . Occasionally, especially in Austria, the tenor horn is also referred to as the "bass flugelhorn".


The tenor horn closed a gap in the instrumentation between the low brass instruments ( tuba ) and the (low) Eb trumpets of the alto register. B. the Ophikleide had opened as a result of the invention and use of the valves .

The first tenor horns were developed in the 1820s. A forerunner was the “tenor trumpet bass” in G, built by Heinrich Stölzel in Berlin in 1820 , which was also called “tenor horn” a little later. In 1828 August Sundelin reported: “One begins now with the cavalry music a so-called. to combine the chromatic tenor horn with the tenor trombone , or to replace it. "( Herbert Heyde ) Ferdinand Schlotthauer reports on the successful implementation in southern Germany in 1843:" Corno Tenor di pistoni (tenor horn with machine with Bb, A- and A-flat tunings), supports the tenor trombone, where such is introduced in military music, or represents it entirely, in that it is not only easier to deal with than that, but is also much softer and more pleasant in tone. ”( Ferdinand Schlotthauer ) Three instruments emerged from the early tenor valve horns: bass trumpet , tenor horn valve trombone and tenor horn.

The first models with the valves invented by Stölzel probably had the length of a trumpet , so they can be called a tenor horn as well as a tenor or bass trumpet. From around 1833/35 onwards, in addition to the use of pump valves, the cylindrical pipe portion decreased from the beginning of 57 (≈ 71.4%) to 25 (= 40%) in the 19th century . The narrowly scaled instruments were built until around 1855/1860. While the older tenor horns were built in the shape of a trumpet, Giuseppe Pelitti developed a "Bombardone tenore" (also called "Bombardino") in the form of the bombardon in Milan in 1835 . In Prussia a “tenor tuba” was created in 1838, which was based on the “Bombardone tenore”. The oval tenor horn was first designed by Carl Wilhelm Moritz in the German Empire in 1875, but he was based entirely on Červený .

In the 1890s, the so-called “Potsdam model” with a 25 cylindrical and 35 conical tube was established as a binding military model in Prussia . The tube-shaped Bavarian tenor horn model was created around 1840–1850. It was further mensuriert as a bass trumpet and had another mouthpiece, a larger cylindrical tube fraction and a less wide sweeping falls as a bass flugelhorn.

After 1910 the number of different shapes decreased, the large workshops continued to build narrow models in trumpet shape (bass trumpet / bass flugelhorn) as well as medium to very wide tenor horns in tuba or oval shape. The wide form of the “imperial tenor horn” developed by Červený in 1885 was used more and more.

In the Riemann music lexicon , the “tenor horn” was first mentioned in the third edition in 1887 as a “bugle” (bow horn) in B-flat tuning.


One distinguishes

  • oval shape ("Bohemian" tenor horn)
  • straight design (tuba shape; "German" tenor horn)
  • Trumpet shape (bass flugelhorn, bass trumpet).

From the middle of the 19th century, the “ Saxhorn Baryton” or “Saxhorn Ténor” in Bb, invented by Adolphe Sax in France , was also referred to as a tenor horn.

The euphonium is often used to reproduce tenor horn voices, but it can be compared to the baritone horn due to its wider length .

In British English-language brass band literature, the term tenor horn is sometimes found; This does not mean the tenor horn described here, but the higher pitched alto horn in Eb, called alto horn in American English . In Bavaria , too , the Bb and C tenor horns were often referred to as “alto horns” well into the 20th century; in Saxony this was the case for a period in the middle of the 19th century.

Sound properties

As a member of the bow horn family, the tenor horn has a conical scale length , which is narrower than that of the baritone horn (which is about the same length), which is why higher natural tones and soft tones can be produced more easily on the tenor horn . Compared to the baritone, its tone is richer in partial tones and is therefore perceived as tonally harder and sharper, but lighter and more precise, tending towards that of the French horn. The sound of the baritone horn, on the other hand, appears to the listener as full, voluminous and warmer, especially in the lower registers. In addition, higher sound levels can be achieved with it . Curt Sachs describes the sound of the tenor horn as “full but soft, almost like a trombone ”, Willy Schneider calls it “very soft and capable of modulation .” Richard Hofmann compares it to the sound of a “ flugelhorn or [...] cornet in Bb in an octave lower pitch . "


Tenor horns are used almost exclusively in Bb tuning , but there are also models in C or (even more rarely) in A.

As a rule, the tenor horn, in contrast to the baritone, is notated transposing in the treble clef (in “sounding b”) so that it sounds a major ninth lower than it is written in the notation.

The range of the tenor horn in B is sufficient

  • with three valves from E to b '(sounding) or f sharp – c 3 (in B notation)
  • with four valves from contra-B to b '(sounding) or c sharp – c 3 (in B-notation).

In both cases the Kontra-B can be played as a pedal tone .

Musical use

The tenor horn is particularly used in wind bands ( brass music , military music ) and in folk music ensembles . In the wind orchestra, the voice guidance is often the same as the 2nd flugelhorn, and the 1st flugelhorn octaves more rarely. In Bohemian wind music, the tenor horn often has the function of the upper voice in the interval of a third to the melody-leading baritone horn . In military music, the tenor horn is used as an "melody-leading, decorative, accompanying and harmony-filling instrument". It thus largely corresponds to the cello in a symphony orchestra. It is occupied two to three times. The 2nd (and 3rd) tenor horn is often given an accompanying part ( look-up in unison with the Eb horns ).

In the trombone choir , the tenor horn is primarily used for the 3rd part (tenor part). It also is used in Ska - Bands (eg. Skarface ). In traditional Balkan brass music , tenor horns are more common than trombones, e.g. B. at Fanfare Ciocărlia .

Usually not part of the symphony orchestra , it finds its most important use in classical music in the great solo at the beginning of Mahler's 7th Symphony . It is also used in Shostakovich's ballet Solotoi wek ( The Golden Age ) and in Brian's 2nd Symphony.

Today the tenor horn is mostly replaced by the euphonium or baritone horn because of its fuller sound. Outside of Central Europe , it was rarely used from the start.


  • Heinz Hanke: baritone and tenor horn. Development - design - sound. University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna 1992 ( digitized version ).
  • Manfred Heidler: Infantry cellos and pseudo horns: tenor horn, baritone and euphonium yesterday and today . Heidler, Bonn 2010, ISBN 978-3-00-030336-4 .

Web links

Commons : Tenor Horn  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: tenor horn  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Herbert Heyde: The valve wind instrument . 1st edition. Breitkopf and Härtel, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN 978-3-7651-0225-7 , pp. 213 .
  2. ^ Curt Sachs: Real Lexicon of Musical Instruments . Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim / New York 1979, ISBN 978-3-487-04458-3 , p. 382 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  3. ^ Herbert Heyde: The valve wind instrument . 1st edition. Breitkopf and Härtel, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN 978-3-7651-0225-7 , pp. 213 (quoted from August Sundelin: The instrumentation for all military music choirs. Wagenführ, Berlin 1828).
  4. Brief indications of using the instruments of the orchestra and military music with effect. Ambrosius Ambrosi, Passau 1843, p. 11 ( digitized versionhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A10527735_00015~SZ%3D~ double-sided%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D ).
  5. a b c Herbert Heyde: The valve wind instrument . 1st edition. Breitkopf and Härtel, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN 978-3-7651-0225-7 , pp. 214 .
  6. ^ Herbert Heyde: The valve wind instrument . 1st edition. Breitkopf and Härtel, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN 978-3-7651-0225-7 , pp. 215 .
  7. Riemann Music Lexicon . 3rd, carefully revised, edition. Max Hesse's Verlag, Leipzig 1887, p. 146 ( archive.org ).
  8. a b c Heinz Hanke: Baritone and Tenor Horn. Development - design - sound. University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna 1992 ( digitized version ).
  9. ^ Robert Joseph Miller: Contemporary Orchestration: A Practical Guide to Instruments, Ensembles, and Musicians . Routledge, New York 2015, ISBN 978-0-415-74190-3 , pp. 125 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed March 22, 2017]).
  10. ^ Curt Sachs: Real Lexicon of Musical Instruments . Julius Bard publishing house, Berlin 1913, p. 381 ( archive.org ).
  11. a b c Willy Schneider: Handbook of brass music . B. Schott's Sons, Mainz 1954, p. 30.
  12. a b c d Richard Hofmann: Practical Instrumentation Part IV: The Horns. Verlag von Dörffling & Franke, Leipzig 1893, p. 16 ( digitized versionhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0Absb00077040~SZ%3D~doppelseiten%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D ).