"Greetings from Heaven or Demonic Noise?
A History of the Wagner Tuba" by William Melton

The following 8 essays are abbreviated versions prepared by from the articles which were written for and first appeared in 'The Horn Call' (Journal of the International Horn Society) commencing with the August 2001 issue.

William MeltonWilliam Melton received the Harold Meek Memorial Award in the same year for the first article in the series. Here follows a short biography of the Author:

Born in Philadelphia in 1954, and brought up in Los Angeles, William Melton studied horn with Ron Wise, and then with Sinclair Lott at UCLA.

After graduate studies in music history, he decided to play horn professionally.

Since 1982, he has been a member of the Sinfonie Orchester Aachen, an historic German orchestra that celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and counts Wüllner, Busch, Karajan, and Sawallisch among former chief conductors.

Above: William Melton during a recording of Bruckner's 9th Symphony with the Sinfonie Orchester Aachen. This recording includes the latest reconstruction of the symphony's 4th movement, including much new material for the Wagner tubas, and is available as a super audio CD from - Click photo to enlarge

This ensemble and Melton's participation in the quartet "Die Aachener Hornisten" occupy his performing life.

The quartet has performed in Australia, the Middle/Far East, has recorded with
W. German Radio, and televised prime-time on Germany's Channel 1 /ARD.

The Wagner Tuba: A HistoryMelton commutes to work daily from an ancient farmhouse in east Belgium, where he lives with his wife Lynn (a mezzo-soprano at the Aachen Opera), their 3 daughters, and black cat Loki (who, with Melton, watches NFL football games with great interest, if only to nibble at the cheese on the nachos).

A Macintosh in the fieldstone-walled, oak-beamed library is the centre of the Melton research and publishing empire, from whence issue horn quartet arrangements, articles for CD liner notes, and the odd book.

Melton's latest book: 'The Wagner Tuba: A History' (photo right) may be obtained at this address:

The team at would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to William for getting in touch with us and giving us permission to condense his series of articles into the following essays which appear here in Also to Gregory Thompson for invaluable help in the process of preparing the essays for the web.