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alphorn or alpenhorn [Ger., = Alps horn], wooden horn from 3 ft to 12 ft (91 cm–3.7 m) long, sometimes curved slightly, with conical bore and a cup-shaped mouthpiece. It produces only the natural harmonics of the tube, slightly modified, however, by the material of the horn and its somewhat irregular shape. In Switzerland it is used to call cattle and to entertain tourists. The ranz des vaches is played upon it.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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