Mellophone Fingering Chart

how to read and count rhythms in music
written by andrew swinney

By: Andrew Swinney

What is a mellophone?

A mellophone is a brass instrument that is considered the marching version of a French horn. It’s better suited for marching than a french horn for a couple of reasons:

  1. A mellophone's bell faces forward, making it easier to project.
  2. Because it is held like a trumpet, it is easier to keep stable when moving.

French Horn vs. Mellophone

Let's look at how the mellophone and french horn are similar:

  1. Both the mellophone and french horn are pitched in F
  2. They have similar ranges, though the French Horn has a greater low register.
  3. They are both conical bore.
  4. Their tones are similar and so the serve a similar role in terms of orchestration.

But any french horn player will tell you, these are still two different instruments. Here is how the french horn is different from the mellophone:

  1. The mellophone looks like a large trumpet.
    1. It has a forward facing bell.
    2. It is not as curled as a french horn.
    3. It uses piston valves, where most french horns use rotary valves.
  2. The fingerings are more similar to a trumpet than a French horn, including the need to use a slide adjust the intonation of any third-valve combination.
  3. While you can use a French horn mouthpiece, a mellophone mouthpiece also exists. It is similar to a trumpet mouthpiece, but larger and deeper.
  4. The French horn is playing with the right hand resting inside the bell. This allows the musician to make adjustments to the intonation. On the mellophone all tuning must be done using the thumb and third-valve slide.
  5. While they sound similar, they do not sound the exact same. I might be biased, but as a French horn player, I think the mellophone does not have as rich a tone.

Is a mellophone easier than a french horn?

Yes. At least, that is the consensus of most French horn players. The reason the French horn is notoriously difficult is because of where its performance range sits in its overtone series. Without getting too technical, it means that many of the notes feel closer together, making it easier to miss notes. The mellophone doesn’t have this issue, making it feel easier to hit and center the notes.

Mellophone Fingering Chart

Note Fingering
F-sharp or G-flat 1-2-3
G 1-3
G-sharp or A-flat 2-3
A 1-2
A-sharp or B-flat 1
B 2
C 0
C-sharp or D-flat 1-2-3
D 1-3
D-sharp or E-flat 2-3
E 1-2
F 1
F-sharp or G-flat 2
G 0
G-sharp or A-flat 2-3
A 1-2
A-sharp or B-flat 1
B 2
C 0
C-sharp or D-flat 1-2
D 1
D-sharp or E-flat 2
E 0
F 1
F-sharp or G-flat 2
G 0
G-sharp or A-flat 2-3
A 1-2
A-sharp or B-flat 1
B 2
C 0

Printable Mellophone Fingering Chart

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