Range of French Horn

Range of French Horn

Range of French Horn    21:24 on Sunday, February 05, 2012          

(2 points)
Posted by Alexander4444

I know this must have been answered before but I am still dumfounded and unresolved on the subject of the standard professional range of the French Horn and the written vs. sounded nature of the instrument.

Letting C4 be middle C (as it usually is), is what are the respective extremes of the instrument. Are they, for instance, F2 and C6 for most professional players? If so, when those note are sounded by the horn are they actually those notes? In other words, for the assumed lowest note of F2, does the horn actually produce the approximate 87 Hz note as sounded on a piano, or does it sound a fifth lower? The F2 is the note right below the lowest line on the bass cleft. I am just confused, because I don't know if that note actually becomes Bb1 or not. Notation as demonstrated dozens of times through online resources does, in fact, show the written F2 as an average lower extreme of the French Horn, but then I come across the fact that the sounded note is actually a fifth below. If someone could give me the frequency ranges of the instrument e.x. 87 Hz - 1046 Hz as in the case of F2 - C6, I would greatly appreciate it! I know absolutely that there are great exceptions to the range that you reply with, as it depends on the ability of the player. I am just looking for the average range that a professional player feels comfortable in. Thank you for any help on this!

Re: Range of French Horn    17:27 on Monday, February 06, 2012          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

Concert pitch C4, middle C on the piano is 261.63 Hz. This is written as a G, second line treble clef for the French Horn. So, the written horn pitch sounds a 5th lower than written.

A good all around professional horn player should have:
A written high C (concert F5,698.46) and a good low written D (concert G1, 49.00).
A first player must have a high written E (concert A5, 830.61)
A 4th horn player needs a written low C (concert F1, 43.65).

This year I've had to play as high as a written D (concert G5, 783.99) and as low as a written C,(concert F1, 43.65). When I warm up in the morning I go up to a written high G (concert C6, 1046.50) and down to the written low C (concert F1, 43.65).

Concert pitch Frequency Written pitch for French Horn
C6 1046.50 G (5 ledger liens above treble clef)
A5 830.61 E (3 ledger liens above treble clef)
F5 698.46 C (2 ledger lines above treble clef)
C5 523.25 G (1st space above treble clef)
C4 261.63 G (2nd line treble clef)
Bb2 123.47 F (4th line bass clef)
Bb1 61.74 F (1st space below bass clef)
F1 43.65 C (2nd line below bass clef)

I hope this helps you.


Concert pitch_____Frequency_______Written pitch for French Horn
C6________________1046.50_________G (4 ledger liens above treble clef)
A5_________________830.61_________E (3 ledger liens above treble clef)
F5_________________698.46_________C (2 ledger lines above treble clef)
C5_________________523.25_________G (1st space above treble clef)
C4_________________261.63_________G (2nd line treble clef)
Bb2________________123.47_________F (4th line bass clef)
Bb1_________________61.74_________F (1st space below bass clef)
F1__________________43.65_________C (2nd line below bass clef)

Re: Range of French Horn    03:42 on Wednesday, February 08, 2012          

(2 points)
Posted by Alexander4444

Oh my gosh! Thank you thank you thank you!!!! You have provided all the knowledge I needed and you did so without leaving any ambiguity. I truly appreciate the effort and time it took to describe it so thoroughly. - Alexander

Re: Range of French Horn    21:32 on Tuesday, February 21, 2012          

(132 points)
Posted by phred

Wondering if this is on a triple horn or double? As an amateur who's much more comfortable playing second horn, I can do a written high Bb comfortably if I haven't been playing for a couple hours and can squeak out a C when necessary, but that's not very good. I can play a low written C (octave below middle) no problem and play down to the G below that pretty well. All on a double horn. Here's the thing... on my Holton my range is diminished, but I think the middle is very strong. On the Paxman (25 new world bore) The range is even all along and can get low and high, but... I'd say it's middle octave (c4 - c5) is not as strong as the Holton, but easier to play and get those ends of the range. I guess what I'm saying is that, switching to an amazing horn from a fine horn in just 2 days after playing the Paxman I had a great improvement in range and flexibility, and it tends to translate to the Holton, but breaks down if I play the Holton too long. Is that crazy?

Re: Range of French Horn    17:13 on Sunday, March 04, 2012          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

The range I listed is for any horn I play (double, descant. or single C). Although there are of course certain notes that are not possible in the low range of the descant.

Many Holton horns are built with a certain amount of resistance which makes accuracy easier. As a result you will get tired earlier on a Holton than on other horns. But they are great for learning as they help you with accuracy. (I am not familiar with the MerkerMatics, they may be different).

So, no, you're not crazy.

Re: Range of French Horn    23:07 on Saturday, May 12, 2012          

(222 points)
Posted by Val_Wells

I play two Holton Merkers: a medium bell throat yellow brass (183, no longer made) & a large bell nickle silver (175). The upper range on the yellow brass is slightly easier than on the nickle silver. Both horns have a very even & quick response in all registers. I don't know if Merkers have more or less resistant than the Farkas line of Holtons (179, 178, 180, etc), but I can say that Merkers definitely have a quicker, more razor sharp response than the Farkas line, as well as many other horns I've played.

With my skill set, I haven't found a horn that responds easier or more evenly.... except for one, the new Yamaha 668's. I didn't even find an easier response on Alexs, Paxmans or Schmids than my Merker. For the money I think you can't beat a used Holton Merker.

Valerie Wells
The Balanced Embouchure Method


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