The most mellow-sounding, middle voice of the brass section is the horn. It is a softer member of the brass section and its velvety tone blends well with strings and woodwinds. Its quality can also be full and bold, making it a very versatile instrument.

Originally horns were used for hunting and signaling. The first natural horn, using no valves, was documented in about 1550. Valved horns did not appear until the early 1800s.

The horn, consisting of 16 feet of long coiled tubes, is four times as long as the trumpet. It is usually made of brass but it has more conical tubing than the trumpet or trombone. Like the trumpet, the players use their lips and valves to change pitches. The horn player places his/her right hand inside the bell of the instrument. Because the funnel-shaped mouthpiece is so small, many consider the horn to have unique challenges for the player.