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
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