The first thing always mentioned about the English horn, the alto of the double-reed family, is that it is neither English nor is it a horn.
Instrument: Cor Anglais
The Philharmonia’s Principal Cor Anglais’ Chair is endowed by Mervyn and Barbara King.
To make matters more confusing, the instrument is often referred to by its French name, the cor anglais, all for obscure reasons. About one-and-a-half times the size of the oboe, the English horn is immediately recognised by its pronounced, pear-shaped bell. The sound is similar to, if slightly less honky than, the oboe, thickening nicely in the lower register. It is both a mellow melody instrument and a handy softener for the wind section’s overall texture.
165 – 932 Hz
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Did you know?
The earliest known orchestral part specifically for the instrument is in Niccolò Jommellis opera Ezio written around 1749.