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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: The early valve horn and orchestral writing
Degree Type: MA
Degree Specialism: Performance
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: 1995
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: NUI, Maynooth
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (181pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: NUIM Library
Abstract: The valve was undoubtedly the most revolutionary development in the history of brass instruments. The initial negative reaction from payers and composers to this new device was understandable. Although the valve was originally invented to replace the crook system, it was inevitable that the full chromatic capabilities of the instrument would emerge. Players and composers in each country had their own traditions and reacted differently to the valve horn and, as a result, the treatment of the instrument varied considerably across Europe.

The French were very sceptical, and scored for two natural and two valve horns in their music. This orchestration was altered to four valve horns towards the end of the 19th century, when the valve was eventually used chromatically, as displayed by Franck. In Germany the valve was accepted with much less resistence than in France. The device was used to crook the instrument in new keys and was also used chromatically, but, like France, there were traditionalists who refused to accept the device in their orchestras, i.e. Brahms. In Italy, the valvde does not seem to have been used by Italian composers of the period. They only wrote for the natural horn. However, the Russian composers were progressive in their writing for the valve horn. They were not held back by conservatism or tradition, and exploited it to its fullest potential, setting the standard for the rest of Europe.

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