English horn, cor anglais
German: Englisch Horn
French: cor anglais
Italian: corno inglese
The cor anglais, or English horn, is the alto instrument of the oboe family (oboe: soprano, oboe d’amore: mezzo-soprano, English horn: alto, Heckelphone: baritone). In 19th century scores the English horn was called for as alto oboe.
Like all other oboes it is classified as a double-reed instrument on account of its mouthpiece, which consists of two reeds lying close together.
Since the Classical era orchestras have made use of the English horn’s melancholy sound to suggest rural and pastoral scenes and to perform mournful airs.
In the 20th century several chamber music works were written, but despite this the English horn has not become a solo instrument, remaining chiefly an orchestra instrument. Nowadays large orchestras have two oboists and one English hornist. In smaller ensembles the English horn is played by the second oboist.
For historical performance practice the oboe da caccia, the baroque forerunner of the modern English horn, is once again being made. It is used especially for works by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Aerophone, double-reed instrument, woodwind instrument
Wood (grenadilla, rosewood, cocus, vulcanite or boxwood)
Double-reed mouthpiece: two reeds lying close together (wider than on the oboe)
Length 90–95 cm (incl. mouthpiece), conical
Narrow, inner diameter a little wider than the oboe’s
Conservatoire system (French system)
Pear-shaped (bulb bell)