Flugel horn (flugelhorn) history, information, definition: also flugelhorn pendant by Whitfield Jack of Key West

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 (Also: flugel horn, fleugelhorn, fluegelhorn, flugelhornist, flugelhorny)

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 Replica of flugelhorn in 14K gold by Whitfield Jack
Key West, Florida
Approximately 1-1/2" long

The flugelhorn is a member of the horn family, specifically the brass family, which in turn is a member of the wind instrument family (Aerophones). Instrument scholar Anthony Baines describes it as a valve bugle which is related to both the key bugle (a precursor of the bass saxophone, which was replaced by the tuba in orchestras) and the signal horn (a bugle used as a signal in battle).

Flugelhorns have a short, wide mouthpiece; three or four valves; and a flared bell. They range in size from bass instruments with wider bores (the bore is the inside diameter of the tubing) to small soprano horns in f or e flat. To the casual observer, a flugelhorn looks very much like a trumpet or cornet. Inasmuch as it belongs to the instrumental family called the brass, is traditionally made of a brass or a brasslike material, although there are valveless models made of clay. Its range is two and a half octaves, and it is approximately nineteen inches long.

The flugelhorn is basically a bugle, pitched in B flat with valves. It has a larger bell; a wider bore; and a larger, deeper mouthpiece than its predecessor. Thus, it produces a much more mellow sound. Although the flugelhorn is primarily used for military bands, it has been utilized by some contemporary composers for orchestral music.

Flugelhorns were being made as early as 1890 in Germany by Ferdinand Julius Altrichter, official court maker to prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia. After being used primarily as a band instrument during the 19th century, the versatile flugelhorn has been adopted since the 1930s by many jazz musicians including Dmitri Matheny, composer/performer Tom Harrell from the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Hugh Masekela, and Jerry Gonzalez from the Fort Apache Band.

One of the most beautiful flugelhorn solos ever recorded was done by the Roberts Bakery Band of Great Britain directed by Colin Cranson.
Click for CD The soloist, Rachel Woollam, gives an exquisite performance of the Intermezzo from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana that elevates the flugelhorn from the trenches of the battlefield to the first chair of symphony hall. A small segment of Rachel Woollam's solo may be heard by clicking a link at the bottom of this page.

Snide remark about brass bands made by Sir Thomas Beecham, the great English conductor:"Brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away."

The American Heritage Dictionary defines the flugelhorn as follows:


SYLLABICATION: flu·gel·horn

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Soloist: Rachael Woollam.
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NOUN: A bugle with valves, similar to the cornet but having a wider bore.
ETYMOLOGY: German Flügelhorn , Flügel , flank (from its use to summon flanks during a battle), from Middle High German vlügel , wing, flank, See pleu-. + Horn , horn, from Middle High German, from Old High German. ker-
OTHER FORMS: flü´gel·horn´´ist - NOUN. A player of flugelhorns.

UNAUTHORIZED ADJECTIVE (Contributed by a wise-ass High-School Harry in an out-of-step marching band):


flü´gel·horn´´y - Used to describe a composition or a band featuring a multiplicity of flugelhorns. Also, the condition of a flugelhorn fanatic.

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"I love to play my horn" tongue and lips studs

Definition Source:
American Heritage Dictionary