How To Perfect Your Tone on French Horn
When it comes to playing French horn, there are a lot of things that play a big role in making your tone sound great! Just a few are embouchure, how you breathe, and where your hand should be placed inside of the bell.
An embouchure is the position your mouth is in on the mouthpiece when you are playing a note. If your lips aren’t moving fast enough in that position you will get a gargling tone instead of a clear even tone. More lip tension and faster air produces higher notes. Less lip tension and slower air produces lower notes. Mouthpiece buzzing is a helpful aid in working the embouchure. Use the mirror to check yourself and avoid stretching the lips into a smile by slightly puckering them.
Using less air is actually bad for your tone. Even when you are playing a note marked piano you should still have a full breath of air to back up the tone. If your cheeks are puffed out when you are playing you should probably try to use more air from your "gut." It is actually easier to play from the diaphragm than it is from the cheeks because the diaphragm is a larger muscle and gives more control to your air flow.
The right hand should be used to "deflect" rather than muffle the sound. The trick to effective right hand placement is to cup the hand, with the thumb resting on the index finger and the back of the hand placed against the far side of the bell or on the bottom of the bell. The many uses of the right hand include, muting, stopping, changing the tone color and adjusting intonation. Some important points common to all horn players are mentioned below.
1. The angle of the mouthpiece should be such that pressure is evenly distributed between the upper and lower lip.
2. Lips should be against the teeth, "P" consonant.
3. Teeth slightly apart
4. Airstream is directed straight into the mouthpiece ( not up or down )
5. Avoid "bunching up" the chin (especially in the high range) by maintaining a visible "U"...