Taxi Horns, Chromatically Tuned
(Tuned Bulb Horns, Motor Horn, Autohupe, Klaxon, Trompe d'Auto, Clacson)
The bulb horns were acquired by Emil Richards starting in the 1960s. Because they have a two octave range and are chromatic, they can play melodies like other instruments, lending themselves to more comical and cartoon use. Emil first used them as a full chromatic set for composer David Raksin; composer Lalo Schifrin also wrote for them as well.
In the earlier years of use in the studio, sometimes two percussionists were put on the instrument, enabling the performance of faster passages. Emil also has the bulb horns which are tuned to the pitches needed (A, B, C, and D) for Gershwin’s score, An American in Paris. The horns are supposed to emulate taxi horns, and have been used in various performances of the music from this piece.