French Horn in Bass Clef.?

When you play a french horn music written in bass clef do you play the notes as written or do you play the notes equivilent on the Treble cleff just an octave lower. For example on the song

Till Eulenspiegel, op. 28 by Strauss (found at are the bass clef notes CGC (i dont think the horn can play that low but I think the question is worth asking anyway to make sure), or low AEC? Thanks for at least reading the question, and even more thanks if you take the time to answer it. I have been playing horn for almost 3 years now, and am 1st chair in my high school and made 1st chair in every state honor band and youth symphony orchestra i have tried out for, but dont know the answer to this, and dont have a private teacher to ask.

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In some older scores, the old notation is still used in the bass cleff. So the notes you see are an octave lower than in today's modern notation. The notes are still CGC, not AEC, but you play them an octave higher than written when in the bass cleff.

    Source(s): Samuel Adler "The Study of Orchestration"
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If I'm not mistaken, Till Eulenspiegel is written in old notation, which is actually written an octave lower than what it should sound--so if the lowest bass clef note is the "C" below the staff, then you're probably in old notation in which, the second space "C" would be equivilant to playing a "C" just under the treble clef staff.

    Therefore, the CGC at the end should sound, C below the staff, then G below that C, and then C just below the G. And make sure you really belt out those last two notes--they gotta sound equal in volume to the higher ones.

    On a different note, you can play a C just below the bass clef staff in new notation. It's just really really low. Try open on the F horn or 2-3 on the Bb Horn. (Technically it should be 1-3, but personally when you're that low, you tend to get a half step flat)

  • 1 decade ago

    The old system of writing the F horn (Horn in F) in the bass clef was to write it a 4th lower than the concert pitch. The last three notes of your Strauss example would be F - C - F (concert pitches) or C - G - C (transposed).

    This practice has continued until relatively recently where now parts are usually written up a 5th in bass clef as well as the treble clef. Usually the score or part will indicate this.

    Musician, composer, teacher.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's possible to hit notes those low, yes. My horn professer can, anyway -- he's shown it off more than a few times. Horns can play pedal tones and such other disgusting things (I am no fan), but it really depends on how much control you have over your embouchure and air flow, and somewhat (though many wouldn't agree) on how long you've been playing.

    Source(s): I've played French horn from fifth grade all the way through my junior year (this year).
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