Differences Between the Bass Clef and the C Clef

Nickel horns have an additional element that brass horns do not have. This additional element changes the sound and malleability of the horn. There is great debate over which alloy is better for the construction of horns. The majority of horns are made from brass, but that doesn't mean there isn't a place in music for nickel horns. Nickel horns have a very specific tone that has its uses in specific types of music.

Brass Horn Elements

Brass consists of a combination of copper and zinc. Depending on the type of brass, there will be different proportions. In yellow brass, there is a combination of 70 percent copper and 30 percent zinc. While in gold brass, which is less common, there is 85 percent copper and 15 percent zinc. The difference in properties affects both the color and the sound that the instrument will produce.

Brass Horn Acoustics

Horns made from the more common yellow brass will provide a sound that is strong, penetrating and rich. This type of brass is preferable in orchestras where the horn section must be powerful and capable of cutting through the entire ensemble. Gold brass produces a metal that is almost red in color. Gold brass is less commonly used and produces sound suitable to lyrical solo playing. The gold brass emits a sound that is warm, soft and is less brilliant than yellow brass.

Nickel Horn Elements

Nickel horns differ from brass horns in the construction of the alloy that is used to make these horns. In a nickel horn, a small portion of nickel is added to the brass mixture to create a different texture that is harder to manipulate. This makes it more difficult to create and repair nickel horns since the materials are less pliable and not easy to work with. The nickel horn consists of 65 percent copper, 20 percent nickel and 15 percent zinc.

Nickel Horn Acoustics

Nickel horns are rarely used since they don't produce the typical horn sound that we are accustomed to hearing. They have a very loud and expansive sound that is more fitting to a marching band than an orchestra. The sound also has very few layers to it and emits a strong tone with a limited amount of external artifacts. This creates a clear tone that is more typical of a trumpet than a horn.


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