Differences Between The French Horn And Trombone

french horn or trombone
Written by Corey Morgan

One main difference between the french horn and the trombone is the size, the French horn is heavier than the trombone which is due to the weight of the horns and valves. The French horn has a larger bell than the trombone, as well. The weight of a pair of French horns ranges from 6 to 8 pounds (approximately 3 kg). A typical professional model tenor trombone with F attachment weighs about 4 lbs, 10 oz. Bass trombones or instruments with big bells may weigh up to 5 pounds.

Trombones generally play more demanding parts than French horn players.

Trombone players frequently have to play the more difficult parts when compared with French horn players, who are more often expected to perform the melody line. This is due to the trombone’s greater flexibility and ability to produce a wider range of notes. Trombone players frequently perform in the bass register, which gives them a powerful tone.

The French Horn Mouthpiece Is difficult to learn

The French horn mouthpiece is more difficult to learn than the trombone mouthpiece. The trombone mouthpiece is a straightforward cylindrical shape, but the French horn mouthpiece is more complex. The cup of the French horn mouthpiece is deeper and the rim is wider.

The embouchure for French horn is more difficult than that of trombones.

When it comes to brass instruments, the French horn requires a greater embouchure than the trombone. When it comes to playing music, the French horn necessitates a large deal of control and accuracy, which is why learning how to play this instrument takes longer and needs more practice and diligence. The trombone, on the other hand, is a little simpler to play and needs less control and effort.

Mechanical Differences

The use of a slide versus the use of valves is the most major mechanical difference between the two. The French horn is equipped with rotary valves that allow it to change pitches. By pressing a valve, air is forced to flow through tubes in one direction and out the opposing direction.

The length of a tube has an effect on its pitch. The trombone, on the other hand, is equipped with a fairly simple slide mechanism. Instead of using tubes, the instrument lengthens and shortens using a sequence of seven different slide positions.

Differences in Range

Both instruments have the capability of descending to the low E below the staff if necessary. When compared to the trumpet, the French horn can reach an additional octave and a fifth higher in pitch. This puts the French horn in the same range as both trombones and trumpets combined. Because of its wide range, the French horn serves as a unifying force between the high brass and the low brass sections.

Differences in sound

The sound of the French horn is clean and mellow. Trombones offer a powerful, brassy tone that is hard to ignore. Although it is difficult to explain the difference, the majority of individuals will be able to distinguish between the two when they hear them.

The valves on the French horn produce a sound that is more loud, clearer, and accurate than that of the trombone. When playing quick parts on the trombone, the slide makes it more difficult.


Tonguing, slurring, flutter tongue, and glissandos are the most often used techniques on the manual and slide trombones. By placing the hand in the bell of the French horn, it is possible to create sharp accents and stopped horn effects with the instrument.   With its slide, it can also glide between notes seamlessly.

How long does it take to become proficient in each musical instrument?

Within 4-8 months, almost any novice may learn to play simple trombone melodies with a solid, clear sound. On the other hand, the French horn will take at least twice as long to learn.

Despite the fact that I’ve played trumpet, cornets, and baritones for much of my life, I still find it difficult to play beautifully on the French horn. With good reason, brass players frequently claim that the French horn is the most difficult of all the brass family of instruments.

It might be a significant benefit to begin on another horn (or trumpet!) before taking up the French horn!

Which Is More Popular, the Trombone or the French horn?

In every area of the globe, we discover far more trombone players than French horn players. The reasons for this:

  • It is two times cheaper to acquire a trombone than the french horn.
  • The French horn is roughly twice as heavy as a trombone.
  • It’s considerably simpler to learn and play the trombone.

However, despite all of these disadvantages, the French horn is well-known throughout the world!

The French horn has a sound that no other instrument can replicate, so you need to hear it for yourself.

Trombones vs Horn – which is easier to play.

I’d strongly advocate trombones over horns for anybody who wants to learn an instrument, especially if they don’t dream of becoming professional musicians.

Are Trombones or French Horns Harder to Learn?

The trombone is a more straightforward instrument to master than the French horn. The French horn has a smaller mouthpiece, necessitating more lip control and muscular strength to hit the proper note and generate a clear sound that does not break.

The French horn is more difficult to learn due to technical reasons, but there are a number of other factors to consider when deciding which of the two instruments you should start with as a beginner.

The horn is regarded to be the most difficult brass instrument, perhaps even the most difficult wind instrument, to master.

It’s all about the overtone series and the instrument’s range. It causes the pitches to fall close together, allowing even the tiniest changes in air stream or embouchure to have a significant impact on the pitch.

The bell’s grip has a huge impact on your tuning.

When well played the horn is a lovely instrument, but when poorly played it sounds like a dying elephant. It would take an enormous amount of effort to learn the instrument.

Both have their problems. It’s all about building muscle memory for trombones in order to find the right slide settings. What can be difficult with a horn is to play close partials in the overtones series, when the same fingering may be used for many notes or one note can be played in several ways.