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Friday, July 23, 2010

Musical Instruments – The Horn

Spanish post issued a stamp devoted to the horn, a wind-brass instrument belonging to the family of the aerophones. The stamp depicts a horn belonging to the Museo Interactivo de la Música de Málaga.

The horn is a circular shaped instrument with a 35cm diameter. Horns have a mouthpiece and valves in the upper part and a conical bore that gradually becomes wider. The three or four valves, usually rotary, are operated with the left hand, to route the air into extra tubing to change the pitch. In its central part, there are also additional screws.

The sound of the horn is produced by the vibration of the lips in the mouthpiece and by blowing air into the instrument. More lip tension and faster air produces higher notes. It is a prominent solo instrument in European and American symphonic orchestras and in most of them there is a horn section with four or more players. The horn is also played in bands and chamber music and is a standard member of the wind and brass quintets.

Horns were first used in hunting and warfare and it wasn’t until late 17th century when they were introduced in court and royal horse hunts. Around 1815 the use of pistons (which go up and down when pushed controlling the flow of air) was introduced and opened up a great deal more flexibility in playing in different keys. The horn is an instrument with a very rich and expressive sound and a wide range of notes resulting in a mellow or a harsher pitch.

The horn depicted in the stamp is a 20th century piece belonging to the musical instrument collection of the Museo Interactivo de la Música de Málaga (MIMMA).

Title: Musical Instruments – The Horn
Date of Issue: 1 July 2010
Country: Spain
Denominations: 0,64 €