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Telemann and Baroque hand horn technique

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In 1808, Heinrich Domnich (1767-1844) published his book, Méthode de Premier et de Second Cor, in which he credited the invention of hand horn to Dresden hornist Anton Joseph Hampel

In 1808, Heinrich Domnich (1767-1844) published his book, Méthode de Premier et de Second Cor, in which he credited the invention of hand horn to Dresden hornist Anton Joseph Hampel (1710-1771). The notion that Hampel was the first horn player to experiment and teach hand horn technique has persisted to the present day. This assumption disregards evidence found in Telemann's compositions and Baroque instrument design, where hand horn technique was clearly in use before Hampel.

This paper presents evidence that before Hampel, hand horn was in use and called for by composers. Because of the number of works for horn he generated before and during Hampel's life, Telemann's pieces provide powerful insight into the use of Baroque horn. Musical examples originate from passages in Telemann's works where the horn performs in a solo capacity and the music requires the performer to produce pitches outside the harmonic series. By necessity, the performer must use either the hand or bend the note with the embouchure in order to produce the correct pitch with the hand being the logical choice. The paper also examines published interviews from horn pedagogues, history books, method books from the classical and baroque eras, baroque and hand horn design, as well as articles written by some of the world's foremost baroque and hand horn experts.

By indentifying the number of non harmonic series tones in Telemann's music, combined with the opinions of hand horn experts, this paper suggests that horn players during the Baroque era must have known about, and used, hand horn technique. This knowledge will influence performer's interpretation of baroque pieces by providing a more historically informed performance, clearer understanding of intonation, the variety of tone colors expected, and create a better understanding of the development of the horn from foxhunting to the concert hall.

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  • 2014