Publication Date





Mark Alan Wade


The horn is an extremely versatile wind instrument that can be used in a variety of ensembles, including but not limited to wind ensembles, orchestras, as well as smaller chamber ensembles. The horn is unusual in that it is the only brass instrument where one hand is placed inside of the bell, a hand that can be used, moved, and shaped in many ways to create alternative timbres that other instruments cannot match. In addition, the horn has more notes of the overtone series in an accessible and playable range with smaller gaps between the pitches than most other brass instruments present in a modem wind ensemble, which allow for smoother glissandi and other techniques. The rich and mellow tone color, that is unique from any other instrument, is created by this array of playing techniques. This begs the question then of what is the role of the modem horn. I narrowed my research down to well-known literature originally conceived for wind ensemble by American composers. Surprisingly, after looking at several very different works, there seems to be no single role for the horn in American wind ensemble literature. The role of the horn appears to be as varied as the range and timbre of the horn itself. Composers use many of the techniques that are unique to the horn in a variety of different ways suggesting that there is no single role for the horn.

Document Type