English horn

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English horn,

musical instrument, the alto of the oboeoboe
[Ital., from Fr. hautbois] or hautboy
, woodwind instrument of conical bore, its mouthpiece having a double reed. The instruments possessing these general characteristics may be referred to as the oboe family, which includes the English horn, the bassoon,
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 family, pitched a fifth lower than the oboe and treated as a transposing instrumenttransposing instrument,
a musical instrument whose part in a score is written at a different pitch than that actually sounded. Such an instrument is usually referred to by the keynote of its natural scale—the clarinet in A, for example—in which case A is sounded when
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. It has a pear-shaped bell, giving it a soft, melancholy tone. The first important parts for it were written by Rossini in William Tell (1829) and by Meyerbeer in Robert le diable (1831). Other composers, notably Wagner, have used it in opera and orchestral music. The 18th-century form of the instrument was curved, whence, possibly, its misleading designation as a horn. In Britain and Europe it is often termed cor anglais.