How do I insert a horn in E (not Eb) transposed as a new instrument?
How do I change in this part to another transposition (for example, bars 10-20 in Db, 21 - in E)?
In the score, I would only like the instrument, but not the transposition.

You can’t change the transposition of an instrument midway through a piece: I assume that the physical horn instrument can’t do this either, and the player has to switch to a different horn. In any case, that’s how it has to be done in Dorico: give your horn player another horn in Setup mode, then when you’re writing your music, switch to galley view to see both instruments, and write the necessary passages for each one; when you switch back to page view, the change of instrument (including key signature etc.) will be shown automatically in the right place.

Thanks for the answer. A hornist can switch in the transposition. Historically (with a natural horn without valves), he changed the crooks at a break. In the valve horn there are transposition changes as frequently, usually in the opera (for example Wagner).
How do I introduce a transposition into E?

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Unfortunately you can’t at the moment: but we’ll add a horn in E as soon as we can. (There isn’t now, and nor will there be, a way of creating a transposition on its own, but you should be able to use the regular instrument change mechanism to achieve this once we have the necessary horn defined.)

Even in Wagner’s time, the frequent transposition changes that he was fond of did not involve a physical change of crook or instrument. This “hang-over” from the historical use of crooks persisted in Richard Strauss’s orchestration and even Rachmaninov would use “Horn in E” for sharp keys.

Nowadays composers tend to write for “Horn in F” without key signature, but how Dorico would cope with someone attempting to re-create (say) Wagner’s original writing I don’t know. You would need a lot of different “horns”, it seems, in various keys.

The attached is a horn-player’s in-joke, but it illustrates what I mean.

I know the problems. Naturhorn must be historically correct. And I think Mozart’s horn concert with F Part is cruel.
Here, by the way my own publishing house:

Isn’t a “Horn in E” just a “Horn in F playing a bit flat”? :smiling_imp:

Are horns ever sharp?

“Are horns ever sharp?”

Most certainly they can be, especially in the middle/lower register.

But you know what they say - “It’s better to be sharp than out of tune.”

If the horn is sharp, just stuff a viola player in the bell to lower the pitch a bit.

Hallo Daniel,

have a look into Richard Wagners opera “Götterdämmerung” french horn-Part III & IV
Richard Wagner is a heavy specialist, but leveling for french horn transposition.
wait 15 sec and click download.

Bar 01: Horn in F
Bar 05: Horn in E
Bar 09: Horn in F
Bar 13: Horn in E
Bar 17: Horn in F
3 bars befor 2: in E-flat
5 bars after 2: in B-flat basso
2 bars befor 3: in B (means basso)
5 bars after 3: in E
and so on next 77 pages about 4 hours music. Sometime transposition change every bar or more.

Write no key in front of the line (like C-Dur) and change the tonality by changing transposition. Only accidental in front of a note. It is the same in Beethovens french horn parts, but not so heavy.
The Player don’t change his instrument. Normaly he play a doublehorn in f and b-flat.
The professional French Horn Players think in this way. That’s normal! No professional Frenchhorn Player whould demand to transpose his Part by writing. It is easy to do it in your head, if you had learnd it.

Other classic-composers befor 1815 change the transposition by movement. In that time the french horn player change the tonality by a changing a additional crook on french horn. After 1900 the composers write typical “Horn in F”.
BUT NOT “French Horn in F” like Dorico !!!

For Clarinet, cor anglais or trumpet the transposition is a different way!


Daniel, who is a well-educated, well-informed musician is - I’m sure - well aware of how Wagner notated his horn parts.

The issue, as I said above, is how relevant all this is to a modern scoring program.

As a composer as well as a horn-player, I notate all my horn parts in F - invariably without key signature, although that is a different issue; if my music was more definitely tonal I might want to use key signatures.

How important it is for a program like Dorico to handle horn writing like Wagner’s would surely only be an issue if someone wanted to create a transcribed score using the original notation - for historical or study purposes. I can’t see this being a high priority for the programmers.

French Horn transposition before 1900 is allways the same, perhaps not so heavy like Wagner. Changing transposition one or more time in a movement is normal act. In 1960th the music publisher (USA) started establishing to transpose every part to F Horn. This has not asserted itself. Finale and Sibelius notate horn parts in every french horn transposition. I think it is a must have in Dorico - perhaps not yet, but later.


Thanks, Daniel, for indicating that you will be adding Horn in E to the list. For those of us who are more likely to be producing editions (even for personal use), all the historic horn transpositions are essential–the sooner, the better.