The mellophone is a German instrument designed in the 19th century by Herman Koenig and the manufacturer Antoine Courtois (in France) by taking the Koening horn and improving it.1
You may hear about it with other names like ballad horn, concert horn, mellohorn or tenor cor. Pronounced “meh·luh·fown”, from the Latin and English meaning “mellow sound” and called melófono in Spanish and melofone in Portuguese. A person that plays it’s called a mellophonist.2
What’s the difference?
The Brass family meaning it makes sound from vibration on the metal when you blow air.
The types are determined by pitch Bb, Eb, F, and G. The G version is considered a Bugle, and G is the rarest3: There’s also the mellophonium, a french horn, and trumpet combination.
The best for you
For a beginner, we suggest a brass F mellophone since it is the most common variant, just like the french horn, of course, if you’re going to play in an orchestra a french horn may be better.
For kids, we also suggest an F mellophone, but if it’s their first instrument a trumpet may be better since it has a bigger repertoire of songs and it’s lighter and even a bugle if they don’t know about music theory and just want to start playing.
It’s important to mention that you can play the instrument with only one hand, the hand that presses the valves, so some disabled people can still play! It’s also better than the french horn since if you learn the mellophone this way you can transition to the flugelhorn, cornet, and trumpet with ease.
Now that you know, you can check on Ebay here.
Getting it another way
So far we have talked only about the physical instruments, but there are more options than that.
You won’t find a specific mellophone app, but you can get a french horn app for android called “How to play french horn” if you want to play for free, the horn doesn’t sound quite right but it tells you the fingerings for each note and lets you play freely the whole range.
Also for both IOS and android you can get “Tonestro”, if you already have a horn you can play into the phone microphone and the application will tell you if you play the correct note or not.
If you are on a computer you can try the “virtual french horn online”, it also lets you play for free and comes with preloaded songs and a record feature, the bad thing is that it’s starting to show its age, so it’s not that responsible and doesn’t have the highest quality audio.
|Variant||Lowest price||Highest price|
|Mellophone||$350 USD||$1,400 USD|
|Double French horn F/Bb||$500 USD||$660 USD|
For reference, the cheapest was a new F brass mellophone with a case, mouthpiece, and cleaning kit and the most expensive was a Nickel-plated brass mellophone with a mouthpiece that said it was designed specifically for military bands.
|Mellophone||26 x 15 x 12 In (66 x 38 x 30Cm)||27 x 17 x 14 In (68 x 38 x 35 Cm)|
|Double FH F/Bb||21 x 13 x 13 In (53 x 33 x 33Cm)||26 x 18 x 15 In (66 x 45 x 36 Cm)|
|Mellophone||10 Lbs (4.5 Kg)||14 Lbs (6.3 Kg)|
|Double FH F / Bb||13 Lbs (5.8 Kg)||15 Lbs (6.8 Kg)|
Brass (copper with zinc) and it might have a lacquer (layer) of gold, silver, or steel with some additional painted color on top of it. Material has no effect on sound but it does in price and durability.
How to play – first lesson
Mellophone – “I remember that I started playing brass – not so much because I had a calling but because I thought it looked cool.” -Max Martin