Horn: instrument composition, history, sound, types, use, playing technique

Horn: instrument composition, history, sound, types, use, playing technique

For most people who are far from the world of music, the bugle is associated with pioneer detachments, ceremonial formations and wake-ups in children’s health camps. But few people know that the history of this musical instrument began long before the Soviet period. And the signal trumpet became the progenitor of all representatives of the copper wind family.


The design resembles a pipe, but is completely devoid of a valve system. The tool in the form of a metal cylindrical tube is made of copper alloys. One end of the tube smoothly expands and passes into the socket. The cup-shaped mouthpiece is inserted from the other end.

The absence of valves and gates does not allow the bugle to stand on a par with orchestral instruments, it can only play melodies from the sounds of the natural scale. The musical row is reproduced only through the embouchure – a certain position of the lips and tongue.

Horn: instrument composition, history, sound, types, use, playing technique

Story above

In the old days, hunters in various countries used signal horns made from animal horns to warn of danger, drive wild animals or navigate the terrain. They were small in size, in the form of a curved crescent or a large ring, and fit comfortably on the hunter’s belt or shoulder. The lingering sound of a horn was heard at a distance.

Later, signal horns were used to warn of danger. The guards on the towers of fortresses and castles, noticing the enemy, blew a horn and the gates of the forts were closed. In the middle of the XNUMXth century, the bugle appeared in army formations. For its manufacture, copper and brass were used. A person who plays the bugle is called a bugler. He carried the instrument slung over his shoulder.

In 1764, a brass signal instrument appeared in England, its purpose in the army was to warn troops for collection and formation. In the Soviet Union of the XNUMXth century, the horn and drum became attributes of the All-Union Pioneer Organization. The trumpeter gave signals, and a loud sound called the pioneers to gatherings, solemn formations, called for participation in the Zarnitsy.

Horn: instrument composition, history, sound, types, use, playing technique

Varieties above

One of the common varieties is ophicleid. This species appeared in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century by improving the forge. Its dimensions were larger, several valves and keys were added to the device. This expanded the musical capabilities of the instrument, it began to be used in symphony orchestras, until the cornet swept it off the stage.

Another type of improved “progenitor” of wind instruments is the tuba. Its design is complicated by the valve system. A more extensive sound range allowed musicians to play the wind instrument not only in brass bands, but also in jazz bands.


At different times, the Play on the forge had a variety of functionality. Even before the invention of the automobile, the instrument was used to signal wagons and carriages. On steamboats and ships, it was used exclusively as a signal, but later they learned to play the simplest melodies. In the Russian Empire, buglers blew their trumpets to signal the beginning of the movement of foot troops.

For many peoples, this wind instrument has not survived the evolution, remaining at the level of antiquity and may look quite authentic.

Horn: instrument composition, history, sound, types, use, playing technique

An interesting fact: in Africa, locals make an improvised horn from antelope horns and arrange real shows with the participation of specimens of different lengths. And in the Russian Republic of Mari El, during national holidays, a pipe from a horn is burned or buried in sacred places.

How to play the horn

The technique of sound extraction on all wind instruments is similar. It is important for a musician to have a developed lip apparatus – embouchure, strong facial muscles. A few workouts will allow you to master the basics and get used to the correct arrangement of the lips – a tube and tongue – a boat. In this case, the tongue is pressed against the lower teeth. It remains only to blow more air into the copper tube through the mouthpiece. The pitch of the sound is varied by changing the position of the lips and tongue.

The low performing abilities of the horn, with the ease of mastering this instrument, are rather an advantage than a disadvantage. Having picked up the “progenitor” of all wind instruments, in a few lessons you can learn how to play music on it.

Горн "Боевая тревога"

Leave a Reply