The instruments

The English horn

English horn

The English Horn

Mysterious name... It does not look like a horn and has nothing English about it. This is certainly due to its shape (angled horn = with an angle...) which has changed over time, giving it different terms.


The English Horn has almost the same characteristics and origins as the Oboe, but has a different morphology. It has a pear-shaped bell and measures about one metre. It is in F, and a fifth lower than the Oboe, which makes it a transposing instrument. Its mechanism is, apart from a few details, the same as that of the oboe and its fingering is identical. The English Horn is a kind of "Alto Oboe in F". Its range is two octaves and a fifth and it is written in the key of G.

The origins

We are not sure of the origin of the name of this instrument. In 1720, when it was invented in Germany, it was initially called the "Anglo horn", and a little later J. S. Bach (1685-1750) often called it the "Oboe da caccia", which means "hunting oboe". Around 1800 it was used for military and horse music. It is easier to play without danger to the musician because it has a large bend.

English horn
English horn


Since then, many composers such as Niccolò Jommelli (1714-1774), in his opera "Ezio" dating from 1749, Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), in his divertimenti C. W. Gluck (1714-1787), in "Alceste", Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), Antonin Dvoràk (1841-1904), Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), up to John Williams' Schindler's Tale (1932-), have dedicated a magnificent repertoire to him.


There is reason to be seduced by her sound, infinitely nostalgic, a little veiled, but unctuous in the low register and wonderfully eloquent in expression. Its timbre is soft and melancholic. It is an elegiac instrument par excellence and can reach a deep dramatic expression.

Discover Sight-O, the first online method of Sight-reading. The 568 original exercises for the English Horn are ultra progressive, for all levels. Thanks to Sight-O's animated Cache , you will learn progressively and in a good mood, to improve your score reading.


Pierre Boutin


Saxophone teacher with a Certificate of Proficiency. Conductor and composer, former school director. Member of the Saxophone Quartet of France.


Alain Protin


Oboe and English horn teacher, holder of the Certificat d'Aptitude. Solo English horn in the Republican Guard Orchestra.