Friday, 7 December 2012

Horn Sound

"Horn Sound"

Every sound in this composition, from the melodic to the percussive, the atmospheric effects to the bass originates from a Paxman French Horn.

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FRENCH HORN: Paxman 25m full double, medium bore, titanium valves, gold brass with a detachable bell.
MOUTHPIECE: Paxman-Halstead-Chidell 23mm AS Mouthpiece.
MUTE: Steve W. Lewis mute.

This composition was created for a Kingston University assignment 10 years ago.
Music by: Jon Brooks (© 2002)

Recordings for this composition were taken from three places: De Lissa Hall, the De Lissa Hall Lecture Theatre and my home studio.  The acoustic was rather different in all three locations: my home studio being dry, De Lissa Hall having a little reverberation and the De Lissa Lecture Theatre which seemed to have a short echo delay.  I found the lecture theatre's acoustic was pleasing for softer tones but not suitable for anything above mezzo forte.  I recorded over 23 minutes worth of material of which I knew a lot would be discarded.  I then transferred the material to an Apple Mac computer and began to discard unnecessary remnants using Peak (editing software).  From there I created single samples and manipulated them.

My main considerations for this composition were timbre and spacialisation.  Originally, different timbres were produced by use of dynamics, hand-stopping, glissandi and muting.  Once the samples were in the computer I manipulated them to produce more variation in tone.  Some samples were manipulated to imitate the sound of a trumpet, muted trumpets and even a tuba.

In terms of spacialisation, I recorded a range of sounds with regard to microphone positioning.  For example, the 'rattling of valves' and the 'air through the horn' have a more intimate sound due to a closer microphone position.

The composition's structure is similar to the ABA form, the A section being quite short.  The first A section realizes the horn's preparation to play.  First we hear the mouthpiece going in (this sample was manipulated to produce the rhythm heard, and then pitch shifted down an octave).  We then hear air being blown down the French Horn later combined with rattling of valves.  Section B begins with a horn glissando that evolves into other related manipulated samples.  Section B expresses the following parameters: timbre, pitch, attack, duration and amplitude.  The last section is similar to the first A section and 'bookends' the composition.

Still Images: (All under a creative commons license).
Thanks to: usarmyband, Sadie Hernandez, rmhowie, Paco Vila, congaman (Dave) and Calsidyrose.

For additional information or more music, please visit my website:

This music is subject to copyright and is provided for demonstration purposes only.  © 2002 Jon Brooks.

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