Origins of an instrument's name

Posted: Sunday, March 12, 2000

Thank you for the profile of Marcia Buck, certainly one of our town's most talented people.

In her interview, she raised the question of the derivation of the term ``English horn.'' Whereas the oboe is straight, the English horn, which originally was curved, now has a curved bocal (crook). The modern appellation probably derives from the French ``cor angle'' (angled horn), which sounded too much like ``cor anglais'' (English horn).

Similarly, early English-speaking mushers of our north country misunderstood the French command ``Marchons'' (``Let's go'') as ``Mush on,'' and so it has been ever since.

John B. d'Armand

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