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Phil's Old and Odd Brass:
US Civil War 1860-65 Band Instruments
Flugel Horns
Middle Brass
Mellophones - Ballad Horns -Vocal Horns
French Horns
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Tenor Tubas

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Mellophones - Ballad Horns - Vocal Horns

Many brass players would describe the mellophone as the "poor mans French Horn". Nothing could be further from the truth. The mellophone, when it arrived upon the scene, was but one of many instruments used to play the Eb/F parts, primarily in concert band music - while the Horn was found primarily in orchestras and in chamber settings that included woodwinds and/or strings.  As either instrument were regularly used in concert bands, the myth of mellophone as a Horn-substitute was born.  In the mid 20th century, bell forward "frumpets" and marching mellophones were created to better match the sound and appearance of the other bell-forward instruments in school marching bands.

An early family of related instruments was the circular shaped Koenig Horns, first manufactured in 1855 by Antoine Courtois. A bell-up version of this family of instruments was called the Ballad Horn - designed by Henry Distin and made by Boosey & Co in 1868. Other related configurations included Vocal Horns made by Boosey and by  Rudell Carte.

The tenor F Koenig horn is the progenitor of the instrument we know today as the mellophone, which has a larger bell, a somewhat altered bore and taper, and today employs the use of a tenor Saxhorn mouthpiece. Like the Koenig and Ballad horns, The early mellophone employed the use of a deep V-cup mouthpiece.  The earliest mellophone on record - apparently is a copy of a Boosey Ballad horn - dating from 1881. The mellophone is usually found in keys of Eb and F, and can be loosely described as having a trumpet or cornet mouthpiece receiver and lead-pipe, trumpet/cornet bore,  piston valves and a  bell of 10" or less,

Rudall Carte
Vocal Horn

Eb Altophone
by Distin

Ballad horn
in F  c.1920

Lyon & Healy "Own Make"
c 1920

Besson Vocal Horn c.1888

Couturier Mellophone in Eb   c.1925