This product makes a great gift for the horn player in your life. Buy several as prizes or a perk for your horn students.

How it Works

The Horn Harmonics wheel shows you alternate fingerings and their associated harmonic series number at a glance. Use it as a handy reference tool.

For each note around the outside of the wheel, the window shows the standard F and Bb horn fingering in blue. On the home page, that's 2 for high B on both horns.

The white numbers above the window are the F-horn fingering (or valve) combinations (0, 1, 2, 12, 23, etc.). The white numbers below the window are the Bb-horn fingering (or valve) combinations.

The "Key on F Horn" and "Key on Bb Horn" lines show the fundamental note (or key) of the harmonic series that coincides with a given fingering. For example, on the home page, high B on the F horn puts you into the key of E when you use fingering 2. In other words, you can play any note in the E harmonic series using the second valve.

The number in each of the boxes in the window is the number in the harmonic series for a given fingering for a given note. For example, look at the horn wheel on the home page:

High B is the 16th harmonic in the series using F horn, fingering 2
High B is the 12th harmonic in the series using Bb horn, fingering 2

Alternate fingerings are in green in the window. High B is the 15th harmonic in the series using F horn, open (0) fingering; it is one of the alternate fingerings.

The "out-of-tune" harmonics (7, 11, 13, and 14) are designated by red when they're too flat or yellow when they're too sharp. There's more information on this website about the out-of-tune harmonics and harmonics in general, too.

Background

Our double horns actually consist of 14 different horns, one for each fingering:

Each fingering produces the same musical progression of notes (called the harmonic series) in different keys. There is more than one fingering for many of the notes because of the overlap of the 14 harmonic series. This is why the horn is so challenging to play. There are over 200 fingering combinations for our 49-note range. The harmonic series for our key of F looks like this:
The natural harmonics that are “filled in” do not fit into our tempered musical system and are therefore out of tune. These are harmonic numbers 7, 11, 13 and 14. Seven and fourteen are just plain flat.  Eleven is halfway between a written F and F# (concert Bb and B) for the key of F.  Thirteen is halfway between a written Ab and A (concert Db and D) for the key of F.
 
Why do we as horn players care about all this?
 
Because, if you understand how the horn works, you can become a better player. 
 
I've played the horn for 25 years and love practicing and performing with amateur groups.  My horn teacher at University taught me about the harmonic series' on the horn and encouraged warming up on harmonics.
 
Music has always provided a relaxing environment for me, especially when I worked in the corporate business world.  I couldn't sleep one night, ruminating on business issues, and I knew that I had to make my mind focus on something—anything—else.  So, I went over the details of my evening playing in a community orchestra.  That led to thinking about notes I'd hit and notes I'd missed and that I really needed to learn more about horn harmonics.  And, THAT put me to sleep almost immediately!
 
I wanted to know where the harmonic series overlapped and why certain fingerings were easier than others.  I checked out various fingering charts and harmonics lists and decided that nothing was out there that would fit my needs.  So, in the middle of the night, I began devising the horn chart you see on this website. 
 
Finally, I have a tool I can use to look up any harmonic I'm playing.  I hope you enjoy this product as much as I have enjoyed creating it and using it myself.  Your comments are welcome and will be appreciated.

—Leah Norwood 

 

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