5. Tenro or baritone - there can't be that much difference!

tenor horn
tenor horn
baritone horn
baritone horn

At its most basic, we can say that a tenor horn has three valves, a baritone at least four. This attempt at a distinction is frustrated by simply looking at the Miraphone Loimayr model which is a tenor horn with four valves. Conversely, there is also a baritone with three valves. But these models are the exceptions rather than the rule. Another characteristic feature is the shape of the construction. The instruments are oval, which refers to the body and not the bell which differs in some types of horn. This is a contract to the straight tube shape. So far, the two have been treated as sister instruments, and we shall keep doing so when we illuminate their respective unique characteristics. The differences are only noticeable in direct comparison. And let's be honest: if we show both instruments to a layperson and ask them which is which, they won't know the answer, will they?

Moving from the overview to the particulars, let's have a look at the core of the instruments. Both instruments feature rotary valves. A 4-valve model with Perinet valves is most likely a euphonium. So looking at exterior characteristics will allow even the layperson to identify the instruments correctly. And once this difference has been noticed, we're already almost there.

But the main difference between the instruments is a detail which is not immediately noticeable - the bore shape. Compared to the tenor horn, the baritone features a wider, more conical bore.

But what does this mean?

The bore's defining characteristic is the resonance tube. The tenor horn's bore measures about 13.0 mm to 13.9 mm at the mechanism. 13 mm is called a narrow bore, 13.9mm a wide bore. In comparison, the most narrow baritone bore is 14.7 mm and it goes all the way to 16 mm. This difference results in a different timbre. The baritone sounds softer, and fuller in the lower ranges than the tenor. There is also a greater variety of intonation, which is further enhanced by the baritone's fourth valve, which increases the playable scale downwards.

The exact dimensions of the bore differ from model to model and maker to maker, so it is impossible to say that every tenor horn's bore is exactly 13.2 mm, for example. Logically, this should mean that the tenor horn's range is more restricted that that of the baritone. Well, yes and no! The tenor horn's range extends from E to b, which is almost three octaves. The baritone comprises the same range, but with an added fourth at the lower end of the range thanks to the fourth valve. Put into a continuum with other brass instruments, they are an octave above the tuba and an octave below the trumpet.

Sound difference between tenor horn and baritone:

The tenor horn sounds more bright and brilliant in the high ranges, while the baritone features a fuller and warmer sound in the low notes.

So where does that leave the Kasier baritone - and what is it, exactly?

The defining characteristic of the Kaiser baritone is the increasing bore, for example from 14.5 mm to 15.5 mm. This results in an even more full and brilliant sound than the normal baritone has anyway.

And another difference:

Tenor horn scores are written in treble clef, baritone on bass clef, but we already mentioned that! Closely examining instruments and looking for generalisations always shows that there are exceptions to every rule.

Tenor horn vs. baritone:

For lovers of figures and tables

Tenor horn Baritone
Pitch B B
Number of rotary valves 3 (exception: 4) 4 & 5 (exception 3)
Bore 13.0 mm to 13.9 mm 14.7 mm to 16 mm
Range E to b E to b (plus lower fourth)
Bell ca. 25 cm ca. 29 cm
Sound in comparison more acute in the highs fuller and softer in the lows
Construction shape oval & straight oval, straight and bell-front
Clef treble bass

Yhteyshenkilösi

Parhaiten arvostellut tuotteet

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    8,63€ /100ml
  14. Hagerty Silver Duster Polishing Cloth

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Suositut tuotemerkit

  • Jupiter
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  • Melton
  • Ultra-Pure
  • B&S
  • Metarex
  • Ritter
  • Monster Oil
  • Kühnl & Hoyer
  • SwirlyGig
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Suosituimmat tuotteet

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