The Vienna Horn

Uhlmann Vienna horn

The term Vienna Horn describes a traditional single horn, still used in several Austrian orchestras on a daily basis, and almost unchanged since the mid 19th century. It is usually pitched in F with a tube length of some 3.7m (12ft), with a detachable coiled crook making up approximately one third of its length. Usually built as a three valve horn, using the Uhlmann twin-piston valve mechanism that originated around 1830, and with the valve units positioned away from the left hand, near to the bell. The cylindrical bore is small by modern standards, being in the range of 10.7 mm to 11.00 mm. The bell throat ranges from small to medium, with a wide kranz around the bell flare. These features combine to produce a rich focused sound, a beautiful legato, and a wide spectrum of tone color.

Cut away view of the Uhlmann Vienna valve (Munich museum)

It remains the horn of the world famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and composers such as Mahler, Strauss, Schoenberg and Bruckner wrote with its characteristic tonal qualities in mind.

The Vienna Philharmonic horns can be heard in the New Year's Day Concert from the Musikverein (Das Neujahrskonzert der Wiener Philharmoniker). This concert is broadcast live to approximately 50 countries and attracts an audience of over one billion people. It is the most popular concert in the world; which must make the Vienna horn sound well known around the world!

Vienna Horn Makers

Uhlmann ( Leopold)

Dehmal (Anton)

Erste Wiener Produktiv Genossenschaft

Engel (Robert)

Engelbert Schmid

Ganter (Hermann)

Haagston (Alois Mayer)

Jungwirth (Andreas)

Yamaha (Rudolf Froeschl / Fröschl)

Attached is the thesis written by Thomas Jöbstl in 2001 that provides a concise introduction to the Vienna horn.