Side-blown horn with lizard-skin cover. Horns and Trumpets Horns and trumpets are sounded by a player's buzzing lips which cause an enclosed air column to vibrate. Horns, often made from animal horns or tusks, are normally conical and curved, while trumpets are commonly straight and cylindrical. Most Sub-Saharan horns and trumpets are blown from the side rather than from the tip where they may be pierced to allow the player to sound different notes by opening and closing the end hole. Depending on regional tradition, blowholes may have a distinctive shape and appear on the concave or convex curve of the tube. Despite diminished importance as military signal instruments, side-blown horns remain a symbol of power and retain an important position in royal regalia. They are played singly or more often, in a large ensemble.