Horns: Hand Positions & Mutes

The use of the hand inserted into the bell of the horn is unique to the instrument. The earliest types of horns played only the notes of the harmonic series, but it was discovered that the insertion of the hand could bend the pitch to enable intermediate notes. On the modern valve horn, hand technique has become a timbral modifier as well as a means to change pitch.
The stopped note is indicated by writing a + over the note, and open is indicated by o

The hand horn (historical):
Hand technique:
Stopped horn:
Half-stopped (rare):
Open, stopped notes:
Hand glissando:

The standard horn mute is indicated by con sord. It produces a significant timbral change, and loud muted notes have a distinctive sound:


The Orchestra: A User's Manual is a free resource and will remain so. It still receives between 8,000 and 16,000 unique visits per month from all over the world. See the testimonials. Thanks to all the donations, I have been able to create this responsive re-design. But the movies and sound clips recorded in 2004 do show their age. I would really like to re-record everything and add many more techniques, especially for solo and ensemble writing. I estimate this will cost around £30,000. If you know a source of such funds, please contact me: a.hugill [at] bathspa.ac.uk