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 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 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.
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.
|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 in sound but it does in price and durability.
How to play – first lesson
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 email@example.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