Vienna Horn

Vienna HornIn the world of music the Viennese horn is known for its particularly colorful tone. In modern orchestral practice, however, it is a rarity – only very few European orchestras still use it (e.g. the Vienna Philharmonic). It is regarded as a very difficult instrument to play, because it is less easy to hit notes accurately than it is on other horns and demands a high level of proficiency from the musician.

The findings of the Institut für Wiener Klangstil show that the Viennese horn’s sound contains a greater number of harmonics and therefore has a brighter sound when compared directly to the double horn, the most commonly used horn. On the Viennese horn the musician can articulate tied notes more softly and alter the instrument’s timbre more easily, which gives him a greater range of musical expression. Played fortissimo, Vienna horns are less conspicuous in the overall orchestra sound than double horns.

The distinctive sound and playing characteristics of the Viennese horn are a result of its construction: