(redirected from althorns)


or Alt·horn  (ălt′hôrn′)
Any of several upright, valved brass wind instruments used especially in bands.

[German : alt, alto (from Italian alto; see alto) + Horn, horn; see alpenhorn.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Instruments) a valved brass musical instrument belonging to the saxhorn or flügelhorn families
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



a valved brass musical instrument that is the alto member of the cornet family.
[1855–60; < German, = Alt alto + Horn horn]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
trombón alto


nB-Horn nt
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
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References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Althorns, however, have been pitched in E[??] at least since Sax began producing his horns in the 1840s.
The timbre of the althorns and waldhorns is quite different.
Eric Ball is another frequently cited composer who made effective use of althorns. In a biography of Ball, (7) Peter Cooke quotes Ball:
Mark Freeh writes that he has arranged about 350 pieces for various brass ensembles including parts for waldhorns and althorns. He insists that it makes great sense to call the althorn the "Eb horn" because both alto and tenor are "misnomers." He goes on:
These bands typically employ alto/tenor horns (althorns) for their inner voices.
I refer to these instruments as "althorn" and "waldhorn," respectively, as explained below.
Germans may call it Altkorno, and in the Netherlands it is an Althorn. In the United States it is an alto horn; in Britain, a tenor horn.
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.
Note that early orchestral horn parts in E[??] were composed for the hand horn while E[??] horn parts in band scores were written for the althorn.
Music for the althorn is traditionally written in E[??].