BOOSEY & CO 'Sotone' piston/hand horn conversion with F and E flat crooks

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 A fine Boosey & Co 'Sotone' silver plated piston /

converted hand horn with its original F crook,

a French unplated brass Eb crook, 

a detachable valve section ('sauterelle'), and

valve-replacement tubes for hand horn playing.


Engraved on the exterior bell flare is

B&Co (floral motif) Sotone (registered)


R.M.S.M.  11


and on the garland is:


Boosey & Co Ltd  TRADE MARK

Boosey  Makers  London



'RMSM 11' shows that the horn is number 11 in the

(former) collection of the Royal Military School of Music.


Made in 1928-1929, it is a good example of the type of ‘French’ horn that British players were using in the first third of the 20th century, prior to Sir Thomas Beecham's insistence that the horns of the LPO (which he founded in 1932) should use Alexander double horns.  There followed a transitional period in British horn playing until the early 1950s, during which several players remained faithful to the French single F instrument, most notably Aubrey Brain and the BBC Symphony Orchestra's horn section, and of course his son Dennis Brain.

 The horn’s mid-section tubing’s inner diameter is 11.00mm, the typical French horn ‘bore’ of the period.  The cosmetic/visual condition of the instrument can accurately be described as ‘good' but not excellent', owing to a few 'acoustically non-invasive' dings, some slightly untidy solder work where minor repairs have been done, and several quite large areas where the silver plate has worn away.

  The detachable piston valves are in good shape; however, the horn plays equally well as a hand horn, with a surprising ‘freedom of blow’, a clear, focussed sound, and no obvious 'wolf' or 'roller' pitches (particularly on the 'G' 12th harmonic of both crooks).

The F crook has quite an acute angle of playing, but one

can  get used to this as it brings the bell flare closer to the

right hand!


Alternatively, inserting the crook into its receiver so that it its circle is not parallel with that of the horn results in a more comfortable playing angle: see photo #2.


It is also worth mentioning that the valve section's tuning

slides are short enough to permit playing with an A crook

(not supplied) when fully pushed in.


   Its very impractical case is a large, lockable wooden

box in much-used (but repairable) condition, with a

defective handle (it falls off!) and a crack in its lid. 


 The photos can be viewed in greater detail 

by opening and saving them.


Halstead Music Ltd acts as an agent only,

accepting no responsibility as a principal.





Contact us to buy this item

BOOSEY & CO 'Sotone' piston/hand horn conversion with F and E flat crooks