Extended Horn Techniques


-highest note possible (often a pinched sound with some additional static; request “with a clear tone” to guarantee that the performer will not attempt a pitch above his controlled range)

-lowest note possible (a soggy, uncentered and perhaps wavering sound, very slow to speak; request “with a solid sound” to avoid an over-attempt for range if so desired)

-plunger mute (“wa wa” possible; not frequently used; numerous pitch problems; must describe degree of cover desired)

-cup mute (hollow, somewhat covered sound; may project a jazz-like quality; not frequently used and not readily available; allow at least 5 seconds before and after use)

-whispa mute (very distant, completely muffled sound; also called a practice mute; very seldom used)

-glass mute (12 oz. bottle with small neck; a hard, less vibrant sound that a straight mute; not frequent but effective)

-cloth mute (medium sized rag; totally muffled sound; many pitch problems; usable in the middle and upper registers)

-gradual transition (mute to open, vice versa)

-unmeasured rapid mute changes (a subtle wa-wa effect in upper two octaves; may project more like a timbral “vibrato”; very subdued effect, must less audible than other brasses; mute might hit the bell surface)

-rhythmic mute changes (a prescribed rhythmic application of the subtle wa-wa effect)

-unmeasured rapid mute changes with multiple tonguing (non-coordinated combination of effect which works best in second octave because of the occasional break; causes an almost cartoon-like sound; quite effective in multiple voice groupings)

-¾ stopped or ½ stopped (most effective from pp-mf; excellent echo effect; use instead of cloth mute)

-half-step hand glissando (a smooth slide to the subsequent note with an obvious tone color change; effective, often-used; gives a sigh-like sound)

-unmeasured rapid hand changes with multiple tonguing or rapid tonguing (much more versatile that rapid mute movements and more audible; volume will fluctuate between the open and closed sounds)

-“scoop up” into a note, “scoop down” into a note (tends to have jazz connotations)

-attack without the use of the tongue (“h”) and rhythmically undulate the air flow

-intentionally sloppy attack

-gradual change from crisp distinct attacks to smooth and gentle ones with less separation

-flutter tongue

-spit tongue attacks (very short, loud, sudden, indiscriminate pitch; purse lips together as in the consonant “p” and force out what little air is between the tongue and the aperture approximating the sound “pt”)

-flexible speed trills

-alternating trills (between half and whole step)

-irregular speed trill

-contour glissando (a smooth, elongated, gliding glissando which follows the approximate contour designated in the notation; do suggest the use of half valve)

-slow glissando (a very gradual slide to the resultant note)

-jazz effects:  bend/dip, doink/doit, fall-off, flip

-plop (a quick drop downward into the notated pitch)

-ghost tones (a half-valve pitch used within a regular line)

-half-valve harmonic (a double tone with the upper octave ringing as if from a distance; play a c2 on the F horn and partially depress the first valve until the upper octave appears)

-white noise pitch (an actual pitch with added and consistent static; difficult to sustain; good flexibility not likely; not possible at loud extremes or mid and low ranges; flatten or clamp down the aperture opening and force air through, holding a consistent distortion of the tone)

-sucked pitch (a kissing or squealing sound of indefinite pitch, possible only in mid to high ranges; suck air inward through the aperture causing a vibration at the lips which will be amplified by the horn)

-sing through the horn (falsetto)

-in a perfect fifth, play the bottom note and sing the upper note (results in a “chord”)

-unison singing and playing

-horn used a megaphone (whisper/speak/shout into the horn)

-air sounds (blow through the horn without buzzing; can be articulated and/or with valve sounds)

– mouthpiece alone (hand pops, kissing, muted)

-fingernail tapping on bell

-play into a piano, a drum head, a tam-tam, or a sizzle cymbal

-use a mouthpiece of a different instrument

-bowing the bell (usually a bass bow works best)


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