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Topic: Corno in G?

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  1. #1
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    Corno in G?

    Please help me out here.

    I have found a score of Mozart's 40th symphony where there are two French Horns (it says Corno in the score), one tuned in Bb and one tuned in G. The Bb I have no problem with but G? Is that a common tuning among French horns?

    The other thing that confuses me is that both of them are noted with a treble clef. Is that usually how it's done? I thought that the bass clef was standard for French Horns.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Corno in G?

    Quote Originally Posted by alsof View Post
    Please help me out here.

    I have found a score of Mozart's 40th symphony where there are two French Horns (it says Corno in the score), one tuned in Bb and one tuned in G. The Bb I have no problem with but G? Is that a common tuning among French horns?

    The other thing that confuses me is that both of them are noted with a treble clef. Is that usually how it's done? I thought that the bass clef was standard for French Horns.
    Yes. In fact, early horns were commonly pitched in B♭ alto, A, A♭, G, F, E, E♭, D, C, and B♭ basso. Usually they were written in treble clef. Keep in mind that most horns then did not have valves and could play only notes within their base overtone series. The player had to either change horns or change tuning slides to acquire other notes.

    Tom

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    Re: Corno in G?

    Thank you Tom for your quick response. Is it safe to assume the hornists have an instrument tuned in G or is it better to transpose it to F?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Corno in G?

    Quote Originally Posted by alsof View Post
    Thank you Tom for your quick response. Is it safe to assume the hornists have an instrument tuned in G or is it better to transpose it to F?
    For a modern orchestra I would suggest writing the horns in F. It is more likely to find performers with multiple slides for their instruments in specialty groups that focus on Classical or Baroque music. Even those you are more likely to see in Europe, perhaps at the Proms.

    Just remember that the horn in F sounds a fifth below its written pitch.

    Tom

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