Stansell’s Bandsmen #9: The French Horn

The 9th in a series on some of the roles of British army bandsmen as illustrated by Frederick Stansell c.1900 in the book “Bands of the British Army” by W.J. Gordon.

No.9: French Horn – The Rifle Brigade

“Another instrument with a long pedigree is the French Horn which is a development of the old hunting-horn that had the tube curved widely enough to be carried over the shoulders. Throughout it has had a softer tone than any other brass instrument, this character being due to its mouthpiece being a funnel instead of a cup. In these days it has crooks for different keys and a tuning slide. About 1770, an ingenious player named Hampl put his hand into the bell and was able to complete the scale by thus lowering the pitch a semitone, but valves have now obviated the need of hand-stopping. The Horn is not easy to play and is seldom trusted alone, there being generally two or four in a band.”

W.J. Gordon

4 thoughts on “Stansell’s Bandsmen #9: The French Horn

  1. Sorry to be slow resonding to this splendid series of posts; have just been so busy. Love the uniforms of that period, as they are absolute classics. Too much boring khaki after that! Thank you. 🙂



    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks David 🙂 I love the uniforms too and I particularly like the illustrations which seem perfectly suited to the elegance of this era.


    1. I was impressed too, Pete! To split attention between playing an instrument and observing marching directions I think must be like patting the head and rubbing the stomach at the same time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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