Way of Construction

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Whether an Alphorn is carved by hand or manufactured with the help of machines finally we would like to have an instrument that sounds well and is good to play. In most cases however this instrument is also a status symbol for its owner who is expecting great things from its optical view.


Each manufacturer of Alphorns basically has his own form of instrument. Nevertheless in Switzerland we know two types of it as there is the Alphorn from Central Switzerland and the one from the canton of Bern. The horns from most of the manufacturers in the inner Switzerland are made with a slightly narrowed bell-mouth and also a narrowed cone opening.

The manufacturers from the canton of Bern prefer a slightly larger radius with a longer sound cup. These horns also have a wider cone opening.

By blowing these two types a difference can nearly not be made out. So they can be blown together in an ensemble. There is no reason for blowing this type nor the other but perhaps the feeling to blow an Alphorn which has been manufactured near the blowers home or maybe native place.


Here we can observe some big differences. It is not an easy matter to manufacture an Alphorn. The choice of material and its treating may be difficult. Best quality of wood is required for this instrument.

Each alphornmaker has to do his best for a good reputation. But even alphorn-'stradivaris' will have some differences in quality . It would be advantageous for a blower to select his instrument from series (four to five instruments are made together in most cases) to get the best suitable for himself.

Christian Schneider, 8308 Illnau, Switzerland