For some reason I have only just today realized why it is that some car horns sound more unpleasant/aggressive than others. I had this realization upon accidentally pressing my honking lock button (I prefer to manually lock) just before hearing someone else honking on the street.
I’d never really paid attention, always merely stopping at the perception: unpleasant, please stop. (Particularly when directed – unjustly – at me…) It never occurred to me that, of course, somebody has to program those sounds, and when you actually listen to them, some are in fact less harmonious than others.
To wit, my own car sounds a fairly clean major triad, second inversion, trumpet-like and mf to f. Others have more dissonance in the harmonics, sounding like a trio of dyspeptic out-of-tune trombones, perhaps, and ff, at a minimum.
So now I have my answer: certain car companies hire less musical horn programmers than others. (Or am I imagining all this?)
I still want a horn with a cool ring tone.
Not ugly MIDI phone ring tone, but an actual sample. Like how about the horns at the stupendous end of The Firebird (at 6:07 below)? A short honk could include the first 6 chords, but then if you held it down longer you’d get the full 13 chords (with or without concluding timpani!). Why not? Make someone smile/laugh while they get alerted.
And amazingly – where do people find these things? – a video exists of Maestro Stravinsky conducting this himself. And what a performance! (Interesting how very short he took the chords at 6:35 – which I’m not used to. However, he is The Boss so…)
What an ovation too. Not sure I’ve heard one like that before.