What's new

skibbiddy bop

New Member
In a composition of mine, I'd like the French horns to play a descending glissando spanning a major 2nd. I know some glissandi on horn are achieved by adjusting the position of the hand in the bell, but the passage is to be hand-stopped the whole way through, so that method wouldn't be possible in this situation. Is it possible to achieve some sort of smooth glissando another way? (Embouchure? Half-keying?)



I am not sure and would like to hear the answer, too.

I am not a horn player and could be very wrong, but AFAIK, there are two types of glissando for horns: lip glissando and hand glissando. Usually, when the range is high enough, we can get enough overtones to make the lip glissando flexible, but I am not sure about a major 2nd. I will be more comfortable with a larger interval when using a lip glissando.

Maybe someone else can share their thoughts?
Last edited:


Active Member
I am a retired horn player. Bending down with the hand is limited to about a 1/2 step if you want the last note to be in tune. Since the horns are already stopped this is not a consideration. What has been termed a ‘lip gliss’ is limited to the overtone series so is also out. Using half valving could possibly work but would take quite a bit of tinkering for the player(s) (and studio time for you unless you let them know ahead of time about the passage). You have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.


New Member
You have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.
Rescore it? Trombone, the king of glissandi. Throw a straight mute in and call it a day.

Trying a valve or lip bend over that particular interval on stopped horn is impractical as @chibear said. The throw of a rotary valve is so small that half valving is dubious, plus you’re dealing with the altered air pressure of the stopped horn adding another layer of inconsistency. Not knowing the passage in question (where is it in the overtone series, are there alternate fingerings that would allow for a smooth lip slur, etc.), and assuming you don’t like my trombone solution, then I think you’re better off with a valve slur.

skibbiddy bop

New Member
Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks for the responses. I think I'll just leave the horns without the gliss. I have the trombones also playing a gliss at that moment anyway. That being said, I don't expect this piece to be performed by real musicians - I'm simply writing it for my own enjoyment, and at best I might do a mockup with virtual instruments - so I guess I could add it in anyway.
Top Bottom