If you’re curious about the double-belled horn in the header of this article, you can watch a video about what it is (and why it was made) here.
It seems like there are two primary reasons why people choose to play the horn.
- They love the way the horn sounds.
- They are intruiged the way the horn looks.
An interesting “contest” from a graphic designer/horn player named Thü Hürlimann looks at the various models of double horn (no singles or triples) to figure out model(s) of horn look the “best”.
The Best (Looking) Horn
The instruments were rated on several criteria:
- Visual balance
- Tube arrangement complexity
- “Holes” in the tube layout
- Tube smoothness
- Construction details
Note that nothing in this “beauty contest” refers to how the instrument sounds or plays, or to the overall quality of its construction. Only its appearance.
Whether or not you agree with his assessment, it’s interesting to look at different horn designs from this perspective. Most horn layouts are not made to be aesthetically “pleasing” and in some ways, I think that adds to the mystique and novelty of the horn. Thü also has some very nice graphics demonstrating horns that are closer to his “ideal”.
The winners are somewhat surprising since they aren’t horn models that are commonly played, although I have seen 4 of the “most beautiful” models in person (though I’ve only played one)!
You can check out the Horn Beauty Contest here.
There are a couple of other interesting things on Thü’s site:
- An audiophile’s look at various composers’ recordings. Trying to find the “best” recording of Mahler’s, Bruckner’s, etc. works from an audio quality perspective.
- A page with several short samples of horn playing, to create your own minimalist horn composition. Guaranteed to annoy your spouse, coworkers, or pets in 30 seconds or less!