B-flat Baritone Horn

Baritone Horn

baritone horn range

This is the lowest member of the cornet family.  It looks like a skinny Euphonium, but is not.  For decades, the terms “Baritone” and Euphonium were interchangeable.  However today, most composers, players, and band directors are savvy enough to know the difference.  The British brass bands have always known the difference between the two and provided two parts for each the Baritone Horn and the Euphonium in their ensembles. Continue reading “B-flat Baritone Horn”

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E-flat Alto Horn (Tenor Horn)

Alto Horn

alto horn range

This instrument is a taxonomic conundrum.  It is shaped like the tubas, and has some of the characteristics of that family, but due to its narrower bore structure, I place it here with the cornets.  If we look at the British brass bands, we will see that this is how they are grouped (as the middle voices in a cornet choir).  Early in the history of American bands, the Alto Horn, then known as the E-flat Horn, was seen in nearly all groups as a substitute for the Horn.  However, the Alto Horn is not a substitute for the noble Horn at all, and should never be treated as such.  Continue reading “E-flat Alto Horn (Tenor Horn)”

B-flat Cornet

B-flat Cornet

B-flat cornet range

This used to be the gold standard of band instruments.  The brass section was built on a solid section of B-flat Cornets.  Three Cornet parts and two Trumpet parts were the norm.  The Trumpets were the fanfare and dramatic instruments while the Cornets were the melodic and harmonic instruments.  Nowadays, the Cornet is only thought of as an instrument for beginning students.  We have entirely lost this sound from the band.  Even when the piece calls for Cornets, which many, many pieces do, I can count on one finger the times I’ve actually seen real Cornets used.  Continue reading “B-flat Cornet”

E-flat Soprano Cornet

E-flat Soprano Cornet

e-flat cornet

The E-flat Soprano Cornet is a small soprano/sopranino cornet pitched a fourth above the B-flat Cornet.  This instrument has almost never been used in the traditional concert band setting, but is the highest voice in the traditional British brass band.  I also only know of one single instance where the instrument is used in an orchestral setting (Brian’s Gothic Symphony).  This does not mean that it cannot be used in a band; on the contrary, the high brass needs a voice like this that has the flexibility, delicateness, and softness in this register. Continue reading “E-flat Soprano Cornet”