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The Vienna Horn

Yamaha Vienna horn in PETERSIK Instruments brass instruments workshop

The Vienna horn, as a brass instrument of the Viennese styled music, is played primarily in Austria's professional symphony orchestras and is distinguished by its characteristic timbre. In contrast to the double horn, which is predominant in orchestras outside Austria, the Vienna horn is played as a pure F horn. The conical course, the so-called bore, is much narrower than that of the double horn, which leads to a very large spectral dynamic. This means that the timbre of the instrument changes very clearly over the entire dynamic range, from a soft and dark piano to a shattering forte. No other instrument in the orchestra pit changes its sound characteristics over the different dynamic levels as much as the Vienna horn.

The attachable bow, another special feature of the Vienna horn, also known as the F-crook, is actually a relic from the days when there were no valves on brass instruments. At that time, it was only possible to play in the various natural scales by using different attachable crooks.

A selection of F-bows from PETERSIK Instruments

What today is firmly attached to the mouthpipe of (almost) all brass instruments can be flexibly removed from the Vienna horn as an F-crook. Through this component, every Vienna horn player has the possibility to exert a strong influence on the playing characteristics of his instrument. Our workshop is specialized in the production and further development of F-crookss. For more information, feel free to check out our F-crook page.

Another unique feature of the Vienna horn is the valve block. Unlike the usual piston and rotary valves, the Vienna horn makes use of a third category of valve, the so-called Vienna valves. This valve block is positioned very far back on the instrument, unlike all other brass instruments. Thanks to these special valves and their positioning, the Vienna horn player has the possibility to play very soft bindings.

All in all, the Vienna horn is a fascinating instrument with a rich history and a unique sound that plays an important role in the world of classical music.

In this video Peter Dorfmayr, solo hornist of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, describes (in german) very clearly the Vienna horn with its characteristics and their function in the Viennese style of sound.

The evening blessing played by the "Wiener Horn Ensemble"

Jurassic Park performed by the "Vienna Horns"

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