Baritone HornsQuick guide to popular Baritone Horns
The Baritone Horn
This is our second article on brass instruments. The brass family comprises of the Trumpet/Cornet, the French Horn, the Trombone, the Baritone/Euphonium and the Tuba/Sousaphone. Music is created by buzzing the lips into the mouthpiece. These are the valved brass instruments. In contrast slide brass instruments use a slide to lengthen or shorten the tubing.
The Baritone horn, or simply baritone, is piston valve low pitched brass horn with a nearly conical bore similar to the alto horn or the flugelhorn and compared to the euphonium, it has a bore that is tapered. The euphonium is also a baritone brass instrument and likewise valved but its conical bore is large.
The baritone usually can be found in brass bands like military or marching bands. Those parts in a concert that are reserved for baritone do not actually go to the baritone horn but rather to the Euphonium.
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Difficulty in Transporting the Baritone Horn
The baritone is not easy to transport being 9 feet in length similar to the trombone and euphonium. Valved with a conical bore, it creates a more distinct and rounder sound compared to the euphonium. It has been described to be brighter in comparison to the euphonium that produces dark sounds.
How the Baritone Horn Work
When the valves aren’t operated (pressed), the sound of the baritone is a b-flat. Thus music written for the baritone is in the bass clef where it is non-transposing or the treble clef where it is often transposing. Transposing downward, it sounds like a trumpet except that it is one octave lower. In the absence of a euphonium, the baritone is an excellent substitute.
Difference between the Baritone Horn and the Euphonium
There are a few noted differences between the two instruments. Although the baritone has the same 9-foot tube, its bores are usually smaller and narrower and more cylindrical. Thus, often the baritone is usually assigned in the tenor section of a band. It gives of a timbre that falls halfway between the optimism of the trombone and sweetness of the euphonium.
The higher or brighter sound of the Baritone is due to a smaller bell that produces a lighter sound. The euphonium creates a solid, more “brassy” timbre. It is true that euphoniums have 4 valves with the fourth valve acting as an F-trigger, allowing the instrument to go lower. However, not all euphoniums come with a fourth valves as not all baritones have only 3 valves.
Other breeds about the Baritone Horn
In most of the previous century, American baritones had a forward pointing bells but American baritones were a cross breed between the euphonium and the classic baritone. A marching baritone horn with 3 valves and front facing bell often become part of the drum and bugle corps. Wellknown baritone players like Mel Sykes lead baritone and euphonium events. Maynard Ferguson, a famous trumpeter used a baritone horn in one of his live solos. Here is a link to that song “Gospel John”.
Additional Information about the Baritone Horn
The baritone horn is a saxhorn because it is closely similar to the trombone and trumpet. The Euphonium actually is closer to the tuba. Some people consider the baritone to ba a bass saxhorn with a mellow sweet tone.
Baritone Horns sell at around $1,300 for used ones. Often much lower in price for vintage and used horns. Brand new horns are cost effective selling at around 3 to 8 times the price of a used one” thus at around $3,000 for some, some less, some more ranging therefore between $2,000 to $4,000. The weight is just about the same as most horns such as trumpets and French horn so it is easily transportable.
Side info on the Baritone Horn
Most modern brass instruments are either valved or slide. We have discussed valved instruments in the early part of this article. Slide brass instruments use a slide to change the length of the tube and to restrict or release air. The trombone and sackbut fall under slide brass instruments. Slide brass usually are used for jazz music.