From the 1830s until about 1900, the most common voice in both the brass bands and the ensembles of mixed winds were the althorns; after the turn of the century, the althorn continued to be the instrument of choice for brass bands, but mixed wind ensembles began to depend more and more on the waldhorn.
One of the major differences between althorns and waldhorns is that the althorn in Eb sounds the fundamental a seventh higher than the waldhorn in F and a fourth higher than the waldhorn in B[?
waldhorns (again, see the Mozart concertos) and the range of the band parts written for althorns, and it is clear that different instruments are intended.
The timbre of the althorns and waldhorns is quite different.
Sometimes waldhorn players who are asked to substitute on althorns find that they are able to make the transition most easily by using a shank adapter to accommodate their smaller waldhorn mouthpieces.
In the nineteenth century, it was just as common to find althorns manufactured as bell-front or bell-rear (over-the-shoulder) instruments, the latter being especially favored for marching bands.
Thomas Mack, a composer of band music for the Salvation Army, says if he ever needs a waldhorn kind of sound from a brass band, he can get it by combining the althorns with the trombones.
Eric Ball is another frequently cited composer who made effective use of althorns.
Mark Freeh writes that he has arranged about 350 pieces for various brass ensembles including parts for waldhorns and althorns.
Germans may call it Altkorno, and in the Netherlands it is an Althorn.
The upright thing with piston valves played by righties I will refer to as an althorn (from the Dutch, thereby avoiding the English "tenor horn").
In the United States, the typical pattern in the twentieth century has been to train school-aged musicians to play the waldhorn rather than the althorn so they can participate in both mixed wind ensembles and orchestras.