Alto & Tenor Horns
Brass instruments may all be based on a similar principle, but as musicians we know that despite their common roots, many of these instruments couldn't be any more different, and each has its own role to play. Alto and tenor horns are not the most well-known parts of the brass section, but those who play them know their importance. Your alto or tenor horn may look like a smaller euphonium, but the sound range it works in is more closely related to the French horn. A fixture in British-style bands, these horns sit in the middle register of a brass ensemble and take an important balancing position between the higher and lower instruments. So, what makes an alto horn different from a tenor horn? In fact, they're essentially the same instrument and the difference is just which naming convention the maker uses. Both horns are in the same E-flat pitch and are built the same way. What it boils down to is that your choice of horn should depend more on what the instrument has to offer for you than on which name it goes by. Another frequently asked question might be "why not just use a French horn?" For starters, an alto or tenor horn is easier for a trumpet or euphonium player to learn as a second instrument. If you already play one of those two, you'll find that the skills you already know are adaptable to your new horn. Apart from that, the tenor horn's shorter tubing length and piston valves give it an advantage over the French horn in clarity of technique, and it tends to be a more accurate instrument in general. Any of these alto and tenor horns will be a good choice to complement the rest of a marching band or brass band. For beginners, a student instrument lets you break into the horn section without straining your budget. If you're an accomplished player, consider a horn built for professional use to take advantage of smoother valves as well as added features such as a main slide trigger. Take your time and weigh the features you'll need to help yourself decide which alto or tenor horn is right for you.