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 English Horn low E warble
Author: NickSF 
Date:   2020-04-18 03:04

Hi everyone. I'm in the market for an english horn and I've been trying several out. I'm leaning towards a standard Loree, but whenever I do a diminuendo on (written) low E I get this warble/gurgling sound. It's most pronounced on the standard Loree, but I tried a Royal also and it did it too, to a lesser extent. The Marigaux I tried didn't do it at all. These are all brand new instruments. I had been playing a used Loree from about 1990 and it didn't have this problem.

I'm curious if anyone has experienced this before, or know what might be causing it. I tested it on different bocals (Loree, Marigaux, Hiniker) with no change. I admit that I'm a little out of shape on english horn, and I've only just started making reeds for it, but I had some old reeds from several different makers and the problem persisted.

Here's a recording of it. Any help would be appreciated!


(Sorry for the multiple posts. Something's wrong with the attachment button)

Post Edited (2020-04-18 03:09)

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 Re: English Horn low E warble
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-04-18 10:33

It's a basic design compromise with the majority of cors as the E tonehole (under RH finger 3) has been repositioned higher than it should be to bring it within easy reach and as a result, reduced in diameter to bring it down to pitch which both affects the tone and response of lower register E at low volumes (similarly with the C#/G# tonehole on most clarinets). Some cors are better than others, some crooks and reeds work better than others and finding the right combination of all cold be like searching for the holy grail.

Ideally it should be drilled somewhere around where the pillars are just south of the RH3 fingerplate (the upper pillars for the RH pinky cluster), but that will prove to be too much of a stretch for most players in conjunction with the already stretched right arm and awkwardly cranked wrist due to the physical length of the instrument. The forked F vent is normally open-standing on cors to help vent both the forked F and also the E, but it can only do so much.

There needs to be a redesign to bring the right hand much higher up the instrument to reduce the strain and also offer full sized and correctly positioned toneholes on the lower joint for better tuning, tone and response. Only that could end up being a big old mechanical mess - think of a Heckelphone and its keywork, but made smaller and with split keys to do the job of the vent hole in the RH2 fingerplate and the split D#-E mechanism for RH3.

I've got a Marigaux 930 from 1998 which I chose as it was the most free blowing/least resistant of the new cors by the other big name makers on offer back then. The newer 930 cors appear to have a much narrower bore than mine.

Former oboe finisher
Howarth of London
1998 - 2010

The opinions I express are my own.

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 Re: English Horn low E warble
Author: mschmidt 
Date:   2020-04-20 08:15

Thanks for the info, Chris. My cor instructor told me that E was the most subject to having problems if the horn had any leaks at all, but I never understood why...


Still an Amateur, but not really middle-aged anymore

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 Re: English Horn low E warble
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2020-04-20 23:53

I have found that different bocals can solve EH problems like low E cutout, sinking C, etc. Try out a Hiniker, Lickman, Loree Etoile, etc.

Bay Area, California

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