French Horn

Instrument Overview

picture of a french horn

The French horn is a member of the brass instrument family. Although it is often referred to as "French horn", the instrument actually has no particular connections to the country of France, and so it is sometimes just called "the horn". Sound on the horn is produced by vibrating one's lips into a small metal mouthpiece. The horn is the only common brass instrument that requires the valves to be operated by the left hand. (Being left-handed is not a requirement, however.)

Successfully playing the horn requires the good sense of pitch, or the ability to hear notes in your head before producing the sounds with the instrument. Some teachers recommend that students who want to play the horn start with the trumpet, which has a similarly-sized mouthpiece.

Playing the horn can be tough for beginners, but practice and determination can help you succeed in learning to play this wonderful and important musical instrument.

Other Resources

French Horn Facts

  • Instrument Family: Brass
  • Key: F - sounds a perfect 5th lower than written note (advanced models have a valve that changes the key to Bb)
  • Clef: treble clef
  • Reputable Student Brands Include: Conn, Holton, Jupiter, Yamaha