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Natural Horn in F by Johann Carl Kodisch,
Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1684

NMM 7459.  Natural horn in F by Johann Carl Kodisch, Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1684.

NMM 7459. Natural horn in F by Johann Carl Kodisch, Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1684. Single-coiled, two-piece brass body with continuous conical bore; ferrules and garland with remnants of silver-plating. The overlapping tab seam is not placed at the inner curve of the bell, as is usually the case, but is turned 90°; therefore, it is in the plane that is least affected by the bending.   Ex coll.: Walter J. Erdmann, Goslar.  Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection, 1999.


The Maker's Signature

Maker's signature:  MACHT IOHANN

Maker's signature:  CARL KODISCH

Maker's signature:  NVRNBERG 1684

Engraved on bell garland:  MACHT • IOHANN • CARL • KODISCH • NVRNBERG 1684


The Master's Mark

In the center of the garland above the signature, the master's mark—a horse jumping to the left, with the initials ICK—is engraved.

Kodisch's mark and initials


Bell Rim and Garland Decorations

Impressed bell rim wire with fruit and flower ornaments.

Nürnberg rim, wire impressed with a series of vine and grapes, two apples (maybe pomegranates), two flowers, one pear, and vine again.

Scallop-shells on garland Scroll and leaf engraving on garland

The edge of the garland has scallop-shells of very high quality (left). Presumably, they were first punched at the front and then raised with a spherical punch tool from the back. The garland is engraved with scrolls and leaves (right) providing the background foliage for a hunting scene of applied cast figures that tells the whole story (below).


The Garland Hunting Scene

Hunter playing short horn and beating a stick Dog Hunter with gun

Wild boar Fox

Hare Dog

There is a man who is playing a short horn and beating a stick, a dog, a hunter with a gun, a wild boar, a fox, and a hare, all moving to the right. This parade of figures is suddenly and dramatically confronted by another dog coming from the other direction.


Receiver Ferrule and Decorative Wire Rings

Long receiver ferrule with helical fluting Ring decorated with a pattern depicting grains of wheat

A very trumpet-like feature is the long receiver ferrule with helical-fluting (far left), bordered by two rings of decoratively impressed wire. The ring at the bottom (left) shows a pattern depicting grains of wheat.

Top wire ring Center wire ring

The decoratively impressed wire ring at the top of the receiver ferrule (left) is identical with the wire at the center ferrule (right).


Carrying Rings

Ring on center ferrule

There are three rings for the attachment of a carrying strap. One is located at the center ferrule on an eyelet that is made of the same kind of wire as the bell rim.

The other two rings are in the mouths of the lions' heads, cast in the same form.   One lion is at the large ferrule, the other one on a brass plate applied to the garland.

Ring in lion's mouth on large ferrule Ring in lion's mouth on brass plate applied to garland


This early horn from the Nürnberg workshop of Johann Carl Kodisch (1654-1721) shows some trumpet-like features; most notably, the long receiver ferrule with helical-fluting, a decorative detail, introduced about 1650 and mainly found on ceremonial trumpets. However, the narrow receiver for a funnel-shaped horn mouthpiece, the continuously conical bore, the rings for the carrying strap, and above all the hunting scenes on the garland indicate that Kodisch had a horn in mind, not a trumpet in coiled form. At the end of the 17th century, horns were not yet standardized, but varied considerably in size and amount of coiling.

Sounding length:  1782 mm; internal diameter receiver:   8.8 mm; internal diameter receiver minimum at ca. 30 mm:   7.4 mm; external diameter tapering from 10.1 mm to 13.5 mm at the first tube segment and 14 mm to 150 mm at the bell.

For additional information about this instrument, see:

Sabine K. Klaus, "Acquisition of a Superb Horn Built by Johann Carl Kodisch in 1684 Helps Preserve a House Built in Germany in 1510," America's Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 28, No. 3 (August 2001), pp. 4-5.

Sabine K. Klaus, "Horn oder Trompete? Ein Instrument von Johann Carl Kodisch, Nürnberg 1684," Jagd- und Waldhörner. Geschichte und musikalische Nutzung. Michaelsteiner Konferenzberichte, Vol. 70, ed. by Boje E. Hans Schmuhl and Monika Lustig (Augsburg: Wißner, 2006), pp. 155-176.

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