What is the Cor Anglais...

The short answer is that it’s a tenor version of the oboe. Apart from it being bigger the main visual differences are the egg shaped bell and the bent metal crook. The cor anglais has a wonderful mellow rich quality to its sound which is normally associated with melancholy in orchestral writing.

The cor anglais has a confused identity, in America it’s called the English Horn, obviously a literal translation of the British/French name. It is thought that the ‘anglais’ although meaning English, refers to the angled (angl√©) crook, and perhaps the cor (or horn) refers to the oboe da caccia (hunting oboe) which had a bent appearance similar to the horn, and was the forerunner to the cor anglais. In British orchestras it’s simply known as the COR!

Thankfully to play the Cor, you don’t need to understand the origins of its name.

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