The History of the Sounding Horn

February 22, 2019 1 min read

The History of the Sounding Horn | AleHorn - Viking Drinking Horn Vessels and Accessories

Our Gjallerhorn is one of our most popular products. Maybe because it kicks ass. Or maybe because it stirs up something absolutely ancient in all who see it.

Sounding horns go by lots of different names: war horns, blowing horns, winding horns, and even more cultural names which we'll get to below. The Vikings didn't invent them, but they are one of the reasons we still know about and treasure them today. Read on!

The Purpose of the Sounding Horn

It seems pretty obvious, but sounding horns got their start as war horns. They're a type of signal instrument, so they were used not to make music or beautiful sounds, but to audibly communicate in open air, usually across great distances. This means they're the precursors to other forms of distance communication, like the telegraph, semaphore, and even the internet and telephone.

Some cultures used not horns but drums for this purpose. In fact, signal drums are still used today in parts of Africa.

What Cultures Used Sounding Horns?

The sounding horn usurped drums in many places around the time of Alexander the Great. These horns weren't always made of bone or horn, but often metals like bronze.

Are They Still Used for This Purpose Today?

Yes! Many modern Jewish people still blow the shofar at ___.

How about outside of religious purposes? Absoultely! Ever heard Taps? The United States military and other militaries around the world use sounding horns (usually a bugle) to wake up their barracked men, and to lay them to their final rest.

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