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”

A List of All Available Brass Mutes

This post is more of a catalog of availability than suggestions or orchestration

Horn

  • Straight
  • Stopping
  • Cup (rare)

Wagner Tuben

  • Straight

E-flat Cornet

  • Straight
  • Cup
  • Harmon (rare)
  • Plunger
  • Hat/derby

B-flat Cornet

  • Straight
  • Cup
  • Harmon
  • Plunger
  • ClearTone
  • Bucket
  • Hat/derby
  • Pixie (straight mute used in combination with plunger)

Alto Horn

  • Straight
  • Cup

Baritone Horn

  • Straight
  • Cup

Piccolo Trumpet

  • Straight
  • Cup
  • Harmon
  • Hat/derby

Trumpet

  • Straight
  • Cup
  • Harmon
  • Plunger
  • Cleartone/solotone
  • Bucket
  • Hat/derby
  • Pixie (straight mute used in combination with plunger)

Bass Trumpet

  • Straight
  • Cup
  • Harmon

Alto Trombone

  • Straight
  • Hat/derby

Tenor Trombone

  • Straight
  • Cup
  • Harmon
  • Plunger
  • Bucket
  • Cleartone/solotone
  • Hat/derby
  • Pixie (straight mute used in combination with plunger)

Bass Trombone

  • Straight
  • Cup
  • Harmon
  • Plunger
  • Bucket
  • Hat/derby
  • Pixie (straight mute used in combination with plunger)

Contrabass Trombone

  • Straight

Cimbasso

  • Straight

Flügelhorn

  • Straight
  • Cup
  • Harmon
  • Bucket
  • Solotone/cleartone

Mellophone

  • None

Euphonium

  • Straight
  • Bucket (rare)
  • Cup (rare)

Tuba (Bass and Contrabass)

  • Straight
  • Bucket (rare)
  • Cup (rare)

With some of the rarer instruments, like Flügelhorn, Mellophone, Alto Horn, Bass Trumpet and others, they can use mutes designed for some of the other brass instruments (in most of these cases, the Tenor Trombone).

Cornets Part 3 – The Bass Cornet

When I first covered the cornet family, I mentioned four species: the E-flat Cornet, the B-flat (or C) Cornet, the Alto Horn, and the Baritone Horn.  This is the family as far as anyone is concerned.  It is the only family of the heavy brass (trumpets, trombones, cornets, and tubas) that does not extend into the bass register.  I’ve thought about this oddity on and off for a while now.  Then I started looking at all the varieties of tuba that are available.  Tuba players are nothing if not equipment junkies.  In the available arsenal, I found an odd tuba that really isn’t a true tuba. Continue reading “Cornets Part 3 – The Bass Cornet”

The Baritone Horn vs. the Euphonium

Sad to say, many people still confuse the Baritone Horn* with the Euphonium.  Safe to say, if you are in the U.S, you are dealing with a Euphonium.  Only in the rare instances of British-style brass bands will you have a true Baritone Horn.

*Note: I always use the term Baritone Horn and not simply Baritone.  I do this to make sure I am as clear as possible in which instrument I want.  Baritone is an ambiguous term.  Properly, it means a male voice between a tenor and a bass, but it can refer to a size of saxophone, a size of ukulele, a size of flute (in new nomenclature – see my post on flute species), or a string instrument (Baryton).

A true Baritone Horn is a narrow bore, slightly conical instrument that is closer to the Cornet in structure.  A Euphonium is a wide bore, hugely conical instrument that is closer to the Flügelhorn in structure.  The Baritone Horn, Alto/Tenor Horn, and Cornet form a cohesive family, while the Flügelhorn, Euphonium, and Tubas form another cohesive family.

There are even manufacturers who get this difference wrong.  The American maker King has an instrument in their catalog (model 623) that they state is a “Baritone,” but upon inspection, these instruments are actually compact Euphoniums.

Both the Baritone Horn and Euphonium stem from Sax’s family of saxhorns.  The problem lies in that Sax himself created two families and united them under one name, so that the soprano through baritone members were one family and the bass and contrabass members were another.  The only pitch that overlapped the two “families” were the two members in 9-foot B-flat.  Sax called these the Baritone and the Bass.  Today, their descendants are the modern Baritone Horn and Euphonium respectively.

What I’ve found is a series of YouTube videos by the Euphonium virtuoso David Werden who demonstrates three different instruments: a Euphonium, a Baritone Horn, and a Double-Belled Euphonium.  A Double-Belled Euphonium is a Euphonium that has a second, smaller bell (smaller than a normal trombone bell) that will give an echo effect.  It is basically two instruments built into one and can be changed between as simply as pressing a valve.

Mr. Werden plays the same piece (“Neapolitan Dance” by Tchaikovsky) on all three instruments.  Note how much smaller the Baritone Horn is than the Euphonium.

Euphonium

Baritone Horn

Double-Belled Euphonium

After watching these videos, note the drastic sound difference between the smooth, mellow Euphonium and the bright and bouncy Baritone Horn.  These instruments should never be confused for one another.

Cornets Part 2 – Cornets in the Band

Cornets in the Band

            Look at any old band score and you will see how to traditionally write for B-flat Cornets.  They are the main melody section of the brass section (and more often than not, of the whole band).  I’m not going to go down that route for this section, as it has been thoroughly covered.  Since the cornets have become extinct in our bands, I am going to resurrect them, and christen them anew.  Think of the possibilities of adding a whole new brass section to our bands!

First, I will start with a simple four-person section.  Were I to only have four players, my first choice would be two B-flat Cornets, and one each of Alto and Baritone Horns.  We have a nice and well-balanced quartet, capable of most SATB arrangements.

Going to six players, I see two interesting ways of expanding.  We could have a group of two, two, and two.  That is two B-flat Cornets, two Alto Horns, and two Baritone Horns.  Or we could have one E-flat Cornet, three B-flat Cornets, one Alto Horn, and one Baritone Horn.

If we fully expand out to eight instruments, then we can combine the two groups of six players and come up with one E-flat Cornet, three B-flat Cornets, two Alto Horns, and two Baritone Horns.  This section looks almost identical to that of a British brass band (less one Alto Horn part).

Note, no doubling can take place except between the E-flat and B-flat Cornets.  Brass doubling, if we remember, takes place between pitch-classes and not between members of the same family.

As this is the technically most flexible family of brass, it is the one section that can keep up with woodwind flourishes and runs.  Here alone is a solid reason for their inclusion.  Unlike the other heave brass, they can blend more seamlessly into the woodwinds.

Their uniform warm sound is perfect for chorales and sustained harmonies.  I can just imagine a chorale from the Alto and Baritone Horns soaring above the rest of the band.

For examples, I look no further than traditional British brass bands.  Roughly 60% of a British brass band are cornets.  The rest of the band is 1 Flügelhorn, 2 Euphoniums, 2 Bass Tubas, 2 Contrabass Tubas, and 3 trombones.

This piece has some fantastic bandestration.  Look and listen for all the different muting possibilities.  This is the first time I’ve ever heard cup mutes for tubas of any size.