A Mellophone for you


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

Also named

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 it’s called a mellophonist.2 

What’s the difference?

The difference with a french horn is that the mellophone is a marching french horn so it looks more like a trumpet and is used for marching bands or jazz bands instead of orchestras.

Category

The Brass family meaning it makes sound from vibration on the metal when you blow air. 

Variants

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 a 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 disable 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.

Don’t worry about brands and don’t worry too much about models and series. What matters is the store you buy them from.

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 let’s 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 mic 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 his age, so it’s not that responsible and doesn’t have the highest quality audio.

You can also replicate it using a synthesizer / keyboard and you can also get samples for your music production software.

Prices

VariantLowest priceHighest 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.

Sizes

VariantsSmallestBiggest
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/Bb21 x 13 x 13 In (53 x 33 x 33Cm)26 x 18 x 15 In (66 x 45 x 36 Cm)

Weights

VariantsLightestHeaviest
Mellophone 10 Lbs (4.5 Kg)14 Lbs (6.3 Kg)
Double FH F / Bb13 Lbs (5.8 Kg)15 Lbs (6.8 Kg)

Materials

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 in sound but it does in price and durability.

How to play – first lesson

This instrument is easy to learn but it will take a long time to master. Once you get yours you need to get used to the embouchure, the way you hold it, efficient warmups, etc.

We recommend learning to read sheet music or any of the different notations, (options for learning). To learn to play each note you need a finger chart (or position chart).

Courses & Sheets

This section is in process. We are compiling music sheets of the best songs for this instrument and we are going to make a course too, stay tuned. If you want to help complete this section please email us at acroecommerce@gmail.com, thank you for your understanding. 

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

References

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Britannica
  3. Colindorman

Luis Gerardo

Musician as a hobby for +6 years, documenting every instrument in simple words for this website.

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