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Performer Guides: Horn

Use this guide to find resources for music performance, including LC call number browsing ranges for repertoire, books, and journals..

Virtual Browse for Scores:

You don't have to visit the Wilson Music Library to browse our shelves! The Library Catalog supports virtual browsing. Once you find a score that you're interested in, scroll to the bottom of the catalog record to see other scores shelved in the same row.

Screenshot of the virtual browse feature at the bottom of the catalog record for John Musto's Quiet Songs.

Finding Repertoire:

If you're looking for new repertoire to perform, it is often helpful to browse the Music Library's shelves. The following call number ranges are for horn music; individual works within these numbers are arranged alphabetically by composer or arranger:

M80-M84, Horn alone
M255-M259, Horn and piano
M357.2, Brass trios
M557.4, Brass quintets
M1028, Horn with orchestra (full score)
M1029, Horn with orchestra (piano reduction)
M1128, Horn with string orchestra (full score)
M1129, Horn with string orchestra (piano reduction)
M1366, Jazz ensembles

Online Resources for Horn:

International Horn Society - "An organization devoted to performance, teaching, composition, research, and the preservation and promotion of the horn as a musical instrument."

Historic Brass Society - "An international music organization of amateur and professional brass musicians and scholars concerned with the entire range of early brass music, from Antiquity to the present."

Selected Books:

Book cover of the

The Black Horn: The Story of Classical French Hornist Robert Lee Watt

The Black Horn: The Story of Classical French Hornist Robert Lee Watt tells the story of the first African American French Hornist hired by a major symphony in the United States. Today, few African Americans hold chairs in major American symphony orchestras, and Watt is the first in many years to write about this uniquely exhilarating--and at times painful--experience. The Black Horn chronicles the upbringing of a young boy fascinated by the sound of the French horn. Watt walks readers through the many obstacles of the racial climate in the United States, both on and off stage, and his efforts to learn and eventually master an instrument little considered in the African American community. Even the author's own father, who played trumpet, sought to dissuade the young classical musician in the making. He faced opposition from within the community--where the instrument was deemed by Watt's father a "middle instrument suited only for thin-lipped white boys"--and from without. Watt also documented his struggles as a student at a nearly all-white major music conservatory, as well as his first job in a major symphony orchestra after the conservatory canceled his scholarship.

Cover of Blow Your OWN horn! featuring a photograph of a french horn against a white background.

Blow Your Own Horn! (horn heresies)

Fergus McWilliam has been a member of the Berlin Philharmonic since 1985 and was a founding member of the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet in 1988. He has spent the last twenty years touring the world with the Berlin Philharmonic and has made over a dozen recordings with his ensemble. During his career, he has performed with many of the major conductors of our times, including Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Ababado, Sir Simon Rattle, Leonard Bernstein, Carlos Kleiber, Seiji Ozawa, Pierre Boulez, James Levine, Daniel Barenboim and more. In addition, McWilliam also founded the Horns of Berlin Philharmonic and has helped re-establish the Winds of Berlin Philharmonic. His solo and chamber music activities continue to take him throughout Europe, the Americas and the Far East. Fergus McWilliam is also an internationally esteemed and sought-after teacher. He continues to give master classes at leading music schools in many countries, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy, the Hans-Eisler Musikhochschule in Berlin, the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School in London, the Paris Conservatoire, the Tokyo University of Fine Arts, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, the Venezuela Youth Music programme and more. 

Book cover for The Early Horn, featuring a black and white print of a hunt scene with dogs and an early horn.

The Early Horn

This introduction to the early horn provides a historical account of the instrument's development during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as well as a practical guide to playing techniques and principles of interpretation. The book aims to help performers to play in an historically appropriate style and to guide listeners towards a clearer understanding of the issues which affected the way the horn was played during the period. It includes chapters on the historical background of the instrument, its design and development, and choice of instrument today. A series of case studies which include the music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Brahms, will help performers to make a well-grounded, period interpretation of major works from the horn repertoire. Complemented by an extensive bibliography, this accessible guide will appeal to players of all levels.

Cover of the Horn Conductor, featuring a drawing of a french horn.

Horn and Conductor: Reminiscences of a Practitioner with a Few Words of Advice

In this volume, Harold Meek, former first horn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, shares anecdotes and insights about the joys and travails of playing under Klemperer, Koussevitzky, Munch, and others. He also brings together some important information about changes in the instrument itself, including a little-known letter from the great British horn virtuoso, Dennis Brain, about the virtues of different makes of horn. A valuable appendix prints interpretively challenging horn passages from three dozen masterpieces, and evaluates the solutions offered in recordings by various prominent conductors.

Cover of the Cambridge Companion to Brass Instruments, featuring a photograph of a horn and a trumpet.

The Cambridge Companion to Brass Instruments

This Companion covers many diverse aspects of brass instruments and in such detail. It provides an overview of the history of brass instruments, and their technical and musical development. Although the greatest part of the volume is devoted to the western art music tradition, with chapters covering topics from the medieval to the contemporary periods, there are important contributions on the ancient world, non-western music, vernacular and popular traditions and the rise of jazz. Despite the breadth of its narrative, the book is rich in detail, with an extensive glossary and bibliography. The editors are two of the most respected names in the world of brass performance and scholarship, and the list of contributors includes the names of many of the world's most prestigious scholars and performers on brass instruments.

Cover of the Horn Handbook with color photograph of a horn.

The Horn Handbook

AmadeusThis immensely practical handbook is the work of a musician, composer, and teacher at the Eastman School of Music. The first book to cover the topic, it presents a broad introduction to horn study, practice, and performance.

Cover of Guide to the Solo Horn Repertoire with a picture of a french horn.

Guide to the Solo Horn Repertoire

This comprehensive, annotated resource of solo repertoire for the horn documents in detail the rich catalogue of original solo compositions for the instrument. Intended as a guide for practical use and easy reference, it is organized into three large sections: works for unaccompanied horn, works for horn and keyboard, and works for horn and ensemble. Each entry includes publisher information, a brief description of the form and character of a work, technical details of the horn writing, and information on dedication and premiere. The authors also include commentary on the various techniques required and the performance challenges of each piece. Representing over ten years of careful compilation and notation by an expert in horn performance and pedagogy, and by a seasoned music librarian and natural horn performer, Guide to the Solo Horn Repertoire will be an invaluable resource for performers, educators, and composers.

Plain blue book cover.

Brass Bibliography

Subtitle: sources on the history, literature, pedagogy, performance, and acoustics of brass instruments.

NEW: Classical Scores Library

Looking for Something Specific? Search the Library Catalog:

Excerpts, Etudes, and Method Books:

Excerpts and instructional materials are classified in the MT range and housed in the same location as books:

MT420, General works
MT422, Systems and methods
MT425, Studies and exercises
MT426, Orchestral studies (excerpts)