English horn. - The English horn is a sort of tenor oboe. It has a distinctive look because of its slightly angled bocal, the tube that holds the reed, and because of its bulb-shaped bell. This bulb shape is traditional and goes far, far back in the history of oboe-like instruments, but it seems to be just for looks and doesn't seem to have much to do with the sound.

<IMG SRC="assets/shockwave/englishhorn_sound_shockwave.jpg" WIDTH=175 ALIGN=left HEIGHT=120 BORDER=0> The English horn is not English. Most likely, it is French in origin, like the modern oboe, and nobody is quite sure why it is named the way it is. It has a lovely tone, like the oboe, and a wide dynamic and expressive range.

For a while,
it seems to have been used in outdoor processions and military ensembles. When Louis XV was crowned king of France in 1715, there was an ensemble of twelve oboes and English horns on hand to play. The were called the Douze Grands Hautbois.

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