The Woodhead Baroque horn was developed as the result of a commission to build a period instrument to a carefully designed taper – the result of an intensive study which culminated in the prize winning PhD thesis by Lisa Norman at the University of Edinburgh.

A member of the team in the acoustics department of the university explains:

“The design philosophy was not to copy an existing instrument but to come up with a design which, although not a direct copy of an instrument from the 18th century, would not have seemed out of place in that time, and which also has decent playing characteristics by modern standards (particularly in the high register).”

This baroque horn taper design was partly based on measurements from orchestral horns built in 1735 by two different 18th century instrument makers – Eichentopf and Werner. Both of these instruments can currently be found in the Musical Instrument Museum in Basel. Although they are quite different in appearance, they have quite similar bore profiles.


By using numerical modelling techniques which are able to predict some of the playing characteristics of an instrument based on the bore profile measurements, Lisa Norman and her colleagues were able to see that the profiles of the Eichentopf and Werner horns suggested that they would have played pretty well in tune and with an “even response”. This created the starting point for the baroque taper design.

The last 600mm or so of the bell are relatively close to the Eichentopf and Werner instruments. Some modifications were made to the tapers leading up to this to have the best effect on the harmonics most commonly used in the baroque repertoire.

Following studies of the baroque repertoire in addition to consultation and playing tests with professional players, modes 4 to 24 were recognised as most important in determining the desirable playing qualities of an instrument as this is the range in which most baroque horn parts are written. Small adjustments were made to the bore profile to enhance the playing characteristics in this range.


We are grateful to Lisa Norman, John Chick and their colleagues at the University of Edinburgh for sharing their information for the taper and providing information about its design. It has been an honour to provide an instrument for Lisa based on her work.


The Woodhead baroque horn generally consists of the corpus (main body) and the most commonly used baroque repertoire crooks (G,F, Eb and D).

A Woodhead baroque horn can be manufactured to work with Webb or Paxman crooks, or can be supplied with a cost-effective coupler system.

If you have a particular requirement with regards to building your baroque horn we will happily discuss it with you. For example you can make a decision about whether to add vent holes or not.

Baroque Corpus £2750
Baroque horn crook set (G,F,E flat,D) £1600
Classical Horn Crooks
C alto £150
B flat £260
A £290
G £310
F £420
E £430
E flat £450
D £500
C basso £530
Semitone coupler £180
Tone coupler £180




All prices are subject to VAT at 20%



This entry was posted in . Bookmark the permalink.