If you studied with G. Kopprasch you might play a horn like this
Berliner Pumpen Valve Single F Horn

Serial Number:
Date of Manufacture:
ca. 1840?
3 Berliner pumpen
Mouthpipe Socket:
8.6 mm
Bell Flare:
Bell Throat:
approx. 9 cm.
Bell Diameter:
28.1 cm
Base Metal:
brass with nickel silver trim
raw brass

This horn and incorporates "Berliner-Pumpen" valves following a design of the Berlin firm of Johan Gottfried Moritz (1777-1840) or his son and successor Carl Wilhelm Moritz (1810-1855). A horn similar to the one shown here is cited by Heyde ((1987, e.g. p.120, foto 13) from the workshop of J.G. Moritz having as having been made ca. 1835-1840. Dr. Heyde suggests,however, that the horn shown here was not made in the Moritz Berlin workshop but more likely in by another maker in Markneukirchen or Grazlitz perhaps"in the 1850s or 60s. He agrees that it is certainly based on the Moritz model. The Berliner-pumpen valve design has long been attributed to the famous Berlin bandmaster, Wilhelm Wieprecht (1802-1872), as an improvement over the original Stoelzel/Blümel piston valves.  According to Heyde (1987, p23), however, it was in fact Johann Heinrich David Stoelzel (1777-1844) himself who perfected the design of the fat, stubby piston in 1827 but failed to obtain a patent. The long-standing confusion stems from an article that Wieprecht wrote for the Berliner Musicalische Zeitung in 1845 (see Baines, 1976, p. 207ff, and Tarr, 1993, p.231) in which he claimed the invention was his own. Wieprecht applied for a similar patent in 1833 but was also rejected. According to Baines (1976, p.211) Wieprecht obtained the patent for his Steckerbüchsenventile ("pin capsule valves") in 1835. The main difference in the two designs is in the arrangment of the ports, the attached slide, and the shape of the airways on the internal piston. In Stoelzel's Röhrenventil configuration the slide legs are both ported to the valve casing on the same side. It is not known whether Stoelzel's piston was a rectangular box or cylindrical. In Wieprecht's Stecherbüchsen-Ventil, the "slide" was attached to opposite sides of the cylindrical casing and was often a simple fixed curved loop of tubing. As such it was not capable of having an adjustable slide. (The adjustable slide, however, is an improvement attributed to Joseph Meifred in Paris.)
The diagram above left is a cross section of Stoelzels piston design of 1827 conjectured as a rectangular box as viewed from the top of the piston. At right is Wieprechts 1833 cylindrical design with tubing looped around. The top drawings show the valves in open position and the lower drawings with the valve pressed.

The valves on this horn are of a later pattern of the "Berliner pumpen" design having cylindrical casings with adjustable slides attached on one side similar to modern brass instrument rotary valves.

The Berliner-Pumpen valve has been primarily associated with band instruments and is quite uncommon on orchestral horns such as this.  Berliner valves appear in many instrument catalogs in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century primarily on lower brass instruments, Sax horns and some cornets. 

Another curious characteristic of this horn is its dimensions.  While the bore and mouthpiece receiver are of normal size for German instruments, the smallish bell flare is coupled to a disproportionately huge bell throat.  As a result it is a very free blowing instrument with dark tone and a solid and very robust low register.

Baines, 1966, plate 786 and pp. 146, 148
This instrument by J. G. Moritz, Berlin, in the collection of Institut für Musikforschung, Musicinstrumenten-Sammlung, Berlin (no. 4366), is similar to the subject horn. Heyde (1987, p. 130) gives the date as 1835-1840 several years after Wieprecht applied for a patent for his Stecherbüchsen-Ventil. Indeed, the valves on this horn are of the Berliner design and the valve section is removable so it may be played as a natural horn. The main tuning slide follows the valve section the same way as on the subject horn.  The bore is somewhat smaller at 1.03 cm and the bell flare is somewhat larger at 29 cm.   The mouthpipe socket is approximately the same at 8.7 mm.  This horn is unusual in that the third valve lowers the pitch by a whole tone slightly more than the first valve instead of the customary tone and one half.  This is the same curious arrangement as another anonymous horn in this collection.
  The first valve slide has an unusually wide profile similar to the Moritz horn shown above.   The very distinctive wrap of the third valve slide is quite different from the Moritz horn because in this case it is a standard one and one half tone descending valve.  The large loop is soldered directly to the the lead pipe which wraps all the way around the horn to the first valve.  The lead pipe is also soldered throughout directly to to the first branch and  bell tail.  There are only three braces to the valve section on no braces on the valve tuning slides themselves.
The Berliner valves are mounted perpendicular to orientation of the more common Périnet piston valves This allows the valve slides to lie in the same plane as the rest of the horn in the same manner as rotary valves and  without the additional sharp bends of the Perinet design.  One drawback of the Berliner valves is that they protrude far below the edge of the bell tail where they prevent the player's hand from wrapping all the way around.  
This horn has none of the ornate decoration found on other Moritz horns.  The bell garland is very plain, and only a few subtle turns embellish the leadpipe and tuning slide braces.

Very little is known of the life of G. Kopprasch the author of probably the most studied horn etudes ever written. Even his given name is uncertain. In his dissertation on the Kopprasch etudes, Dr. Robert Merrill Culbertson, Jr. quoting Herman Mendel's Musikalishes Conversations (1876) gives his name as Georg, which is now commonly accepted. Mendel is the only cited source that mentions the name "Georg", however, and the earlier biographical sketch by Fétis (1863, see right) only uses the initial G. as do the published etudes and the contemporary review in AMZ both published by Breitkopf Härtel (see below). After much diligent research and correspondence with libraries and public agencies, Dr. Culbertson concludes (p.93) "It is clear from these communications that a 'Georg" Kopprasch is not to be found in the official records of the court at Dessau."

Fétis, tome 5, p.85
What seems to be more certain is that G. Kopprasch was born in Dessau, the son of Wenceslas (a.k.a. Wenzel or Wilhelm) Kopprasch, a bassoonist attached to the chapel at Dessau, as quoted in both Mendel and Fétis. According to the latter, G. Kopprasch was first attached to the band of the Prussian Regiment, and then entered the Royal Theater of Berlin where he is to be found in 1824. In addition to the familiar celebrated Sixty "Selected" Studies (actually the complete Sixty Etudes for Cor Basse, op. 6), Fétis lists the following compositions:
(1) Six short and easy quartets for four horns, (Leipzig: Kollmann)
(2) Twelve short duos for two horns (Leipzig: Kollman) (do these include the "Eight Duets for Two Horns", attributed to Wilhelm Kopprasch and edited by R. François, published by International Music Company, N.Y., 1958?)
(3) Three Grand Duos (Leipzig: Kollman)
(4) Six Sonatas for Two Horns, Two Trumpets, and Three Trombones (Leipzig: Peters)
(5) Sixty Etudes for Cor Alto (Premier Cor), op. 5 (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, now available from Thompson Edition)

What is important to the horn shown on this page is that G. Kopprasch was active in Berlin and its near vicinity at the time the "Berliner Pumpen" valve was being developed and appied to this horn by Moritz. In 1824, when Kopprasch is said to have been a member of the orchestra of the Royal Theater in Berlin, Wieprecht also joined the royal orchestra. So, it is quite probable that Kopprasch would have known both Wieprecht and Stoelzel very well and would have played a horn similar to this one (but from the Moritz workshop) equipped with Berliner pumpen valves soon after he published his celebrated etudes in 1833.

Title pages from the early editions of the Kopprasch etudes, op. 5 (left) for high horn and op. 6 for low horn.

AMZ, 1834, no. 30, cols 495-496
All now common musical instruments indisputedly have good schools and studies for high artistic training, which from time to time have appeared under the names of various outstanding masters of their instruments to make the most of the current splended musical era; only for the horn, which through its full sounding tone of the most effective instruments heard so far, has lacked practical exercises for higher education. One usually finds in the present schools for the Horn only the first elementary exercises, a notable exception, Dauprat horn in his horn méthode, but the price of 70 francs would be too expensive for most horn players and they must also be fluent in the French language.

The etudes presented here must be a very welcome appearance for each horn player, especially since they are practicable and written from much expert knowledge. If the budding artist has studied through the first ordinary school course of instruction, these etudes in the same way through serious study bring him to a high level of practical development if he wants to learn his instrument thoroughly and properly as Primarius or as the Secundarius.

The reviewer wishes however that Mr. K. would have delivered some more etudes in particular for the formation of a beautiful full tone and, on the other hand, some fewer for a winged tongue.

A couple of eye-catching printing errors in the etudes for second horn are easily corrected by any horn player.

Engraving and paper are quite especially beautiful.


Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, 1834, no. 30. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel.

Baines, Anthony, [1], European and American Musical Instruments. New York: The Viking Press, 1966

Baines, Anthony, [2], Brass Instruments, Their History and Development, . New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976

Culbertson, Robert Merrill, Jr., The Kopprasch Etudes for Horn. D.M.A. treatise, University of Texas at Austin, 1990

Fétis, François-Joseph. Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie géné de la musique, Tome 5. Paris: Firmin Didot Fréres, Fils, et Cie, 1863

Heyde, Herbert. "Brass Instrument Making in Berlin from the 17th to the 20th Century: A Survey", Historic Brass Journal Volume 3. New York: Historic Brass Society, 1991

Heyde, Herbert. Das Ventilblasinstrument, Seine Entwicklun im deutschsprachigen Raum von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Hrtel, 1987. ISBN 3765102253

Heyde, Herbert. personal communication regarding this horn, May 4, 2000.

Morley-Pegge, Reginald, The French Horn. London/New York: Benn/Norton, 1973

Tarr, Edward H. "The Romantic Trumpet", Part 1. Historic Brass Journal Volume 5, p.213. New York: Historic Brass Society, 1993

Waterhouse, William, The New Langwill Index. London: Tony Bingham, 1993

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