Josef Cidrich
Vienna Horn
Vienna horn
Serial Number:
Date of Manufacture:
ca. 1870
3 Vienna
11.6 mm.
Bell Flare:
single sheet? with "zipper" seam to bell tail, and with garland
Bell Throat:
89 mm
Bell Diameter:
 27.7 cm
Base Metal:
raw brass
This is a very nice example of an early Vienna horn design.  Josef Cidrich (Zidrich) was born in Brno, Moravia in 1817.  From 1830 to 1834 he studied under his father Jakob Cidrich (1756-1858) and on completion of this apprenticeship he began working in his father's shop in Brno.  In 1855 Josef established his own brass instrument shop independently.  Upon his father's death three years later Josef succeeded him with his younger brother Johann (1829-1893) working for him.  The Cidrich shop flourished until the death of Johann in 1893.  Josef Cidrich died in Brno on March 27, 1899.

The Moravian city of Brno (or Brünn in German) lies about 130 km. north of Vienna in the Czech Republic. During the nineteenth century while still under rule of the Austrian Empire it established itself as a major manufacturing center primarily in textiles. Regular railroad service between Brno and Vienna was inaugurated on July 7, 1839. with the first train travelling the 144 km (89.5) line in four and a quarter hours. This proximity to Vienna no doubt had some influence on the musical development of the city and provided the opportunity for instrument manufacture in the Vienna tradition, especially since the Brno horn school was not founded until 1919. 

Invention of the double-piston "Wiener pumpen" valve is attributed to Joseph Kail and Joseph Riedl, both of Vienna, in 1823.  In 1830 Leopold Uhlmann made certain improvements to the valve which remain as the standard to the present.  Riedl's Vienna horn wrap of 1830 was very symetrical in design of the valve slides, as is this model by Cidrich.

Click for detail
Vienna horns are traditionally single F horns and most  incorporate a terminal crook.  By exchanging the crook and valve slides the horn can be put into any useful key.  The crook shown above is a modern replacement of the original and is labelled 2U3.  Note the beautiful symmetry of the valve slides in comparison to the now universal Uhlmann wrap as represented below in the Alexander model 92-M.  In fact the first and third slides are interchangeable.  Another peculiarity of this horn is the absence of a pinky hook.

The bell has a garland or "kranz" around the edge (above), a metal ring that prevents the sound from becoming too brassy or "edging out" at higher volumes. 

The bell flare itself is formed from a single disk which is attached to the bell tail by a "zipper"seam (below) at the bell throat.   It is made by cutting alternating tabs which are interleaved, soldered, and hammered smooth.

Nearly all modern Vienna horns, such as the Alexander shown at the right, are based on the wrap designed by Leopold Uhlmann in the mid nineteenth century.  This differs significantly from the Cidrich wrap in that that valve pistons are located farther toward the right hand side of the corpus with valve slides wrapped in a peculiarly distinctive manner.  In particular the third valve slide is bent perpendicular to the pistons and is very prominent on the front of the horn.

 Alexander 92M Wiener F-Horn


Herbert Heyde, Das Ventilblasinstrument, Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden, 1987

Jeremy Monatagu, The French Horn, Shire Publications, Ltd, Princes Risborough, UK., 1990

William Waterhouse, The New Langwill Index of Wind Instrument Makers and Inventors, pub.Tony Bingham, London 1993

Visit the Institut für Wiener Klangstil  Web site for a detailed technical analysis of the properties of the Vienna horn.

Visit the Hans Pizka  Web site for a detailed history of the Vienna horn and its players.

History of Brno: 1750 - 1848  and 1848 - 1918

Contents of this site and all original photographs copyright 1999-2001, Richard J.Martz
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