Taxi Horns for "An American in Paris" (1929 Version)
(Bulb Horns, Tuned Taxi Horns, Motor Horn, Cor d' Auto, Bocina, Claxon, Hupe, Corno di Automobile, Autohupe, Klaxon, Trompe d'Auto, Clacson)
Mfg. by Various
Recently, it’s come to light that George Gershwin possibly meant different pitches for the taxi horns he indicated in his renowned piece, An American in Paris. The original score notated a circled A B C and D next to the taxi horn notes, but after some further investigation, photos, and a recording from the original performance from 1929, it seems those were just labels for the horns (i.e., horn A, not the note A). Listening to the recording from 1929, one can discern that the pitches are a lower A, higher D, Ab, and Bb. It provides more dissonance than the A B C D set that has been used by countless orchestras over the decades. See video to hear what this 1929 version sounds like with a short excerpt from the music (especially with that honking low ‘A’.)
Whether musical directors decide to keep things the same, or go with this new (old) information is totally up to them.
For more info on this subject, visit http://www.music.umich.edu/ami/gershwin/?p=715
- A3, Ab4, Bb4, D5