How Does the French Horn Work?

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How to Tune a French Horn....5

The French horn works by magnifying the sound and vibrations of buzzing the lips into the mouth piece, and valves are used to achieve different notes. See how a French horn produces music with help from an experienced musician and music instructor in this free video on brass instruments.

Part of the Video Series: The French Horn
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Video Transcript

How the French horn works. This is Dr. Steven Gross horn professor at The University of California, Santa Barbara and director of the wind brass and percussion program. We have buzzing the lips which is sort of like giving the raspberry to one of your favorite high school teachers and the vibrations of the lip are amplified by the mouth piece like this and we can use the different tension levels inside the lips to change the sound and of then of course when we put the whole instrument together and we can also use the valves which were invented around 1815 to give a little bit more flexibility in the changes of notes. As you can see the state you can put in and out of each valve which add and subtract the amount of tubbing length thats used. We want to put some sort of high quality lubricant such as lanolin or especially formulated grease you can buy at a store. So we can tune each slide like this and when we push down on the lever like this it adds a length of tubing so we can add half step like this, a full step, a step and a half, so forth and so on. So we actually have when we use thumb valve a combination of fourteen different valves to produce sound plus the right hand giving us a uniquely evocative and beautiful sound on our instrument.


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