Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by DaveR, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Reading, UK
    Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I expect some kind moddy person will move it if I've got it wrong.....

    I've been having a debate with a friend over the last couple of days about which instruments in the brass band are saxhorns. We've found loads of info on the web, but a lot of it seems to be contradictory, and it is getting confusing! Not helped by then same instruments being called different things in different parts of the world........

    So, I'm pretty sure that a cornet and tenorhorn are both saxhorns, and that a trombone definitely is not. What about the other instruments?

    Also, what makes a saxhorn? Some definitions say it is those instruments invented by Adolphe Sax, and others say that they are those with a conical bore.

    I know there must be somebody on here who will know definitively!
  2. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Horns, Baris, Euphs.
  3. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    Sheffield, UK
    Terry Hext used to give a little speach during concerts he was conducting with Bedford Brass when I was playing there. He would discribe each of the instruments in the band, and said that Flugel Saxhorn (I think), Tenor Saxhorn, Baritone Saxhorn and EEb and BBb Bass Saxhorns were all members of the same family. Not sure about Cornets, but as Euphs and Trombones appear regularly outside brass bands, it is understandable that they're not part of the family. Neither are the percussion saxhorns at the back ;)
  4. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    I always believed that the only instruments in the modern brass band invented from scratch by Adolphe Sax, are the tenor horn and the baritone. The other instruments evolved from other, older instruments, altough at some point, they may have been improved or altered by him.

    But indeed, the information found on the internet is quite confusing...
  5. Mrs Fruity

    Mrs Fruity Member

    North East
    Good old Adolphe, keeping me and me saxhorn playing mates off the streets! And introducing us to ... beer, we wiz robbed, pre and post contest curries, etc...

    I thought it was the upward facing instruments which were saxhorns, but I'd like to know the real answer.
  6. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Reading, UK
    So we already have a difference of opinion! ;)
  7. horn1

    horn1 Member

    Lees, Oldham
    I thought horns and bari's were saxhorns, definately not Euph as they're technically tenor tuba's. I may be wrong!
  8. McEuphie

    McEuphie Member

    Horns and Baris - not Euphs

    But copied the following from the saxhorn website:

    The saxhorns form a family of seven instruments (although at one point ten different sizes seem to have existed). Designed for band use, they are pitched alternately in E♭ and B♭, like the saxophone group. There was a parallel family built in F and C for orchestral use, but this seems to have died out.

    There is much confusion as to nomenclature of the various instruments in different languages. This has been exacerbated by the debate as to whether the saxhorn family was truly new, or rather a development of members of the previously existing cornet and tuba families.

    There is then a table for a "saxhorn band" with instruments from soprano saxhorn to Saxhorn contrebasse!

    The debate continues!
  9. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
  10. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Strictly speaking the only instruments which can really be called saxhorns are those invented by Adolphe Sax - the Alto Saxhorn in Eb (which we call a tenor horn) and the Tenor Saxhorn in Bb (which we call a baritone). The tubas (including the tenor tuba or euphonium) have their roots in the early 1830s in Germany and used rotary valves until the piston valve was perfected for Sax's new instruments. The cornet predates the saxhorn family by quite a few years and developed entirely separately from the keyed bugle (an ancestor it shares with the flugel), mainly in France where it was popular as an orchestral instrument. There are cornet parts in many 19th century orchestral scores (as well as tuba parts, although in some cases these would have been played on the Ophicleide).

    The other saxhorns are obsolete in this country, although they had a strong influence on tuba and euph design. They were first brought to Britain by the Distin family, whose virtuoso quartet/quintet playing using only saxhorns had a big impact on the embryonic brass band movement. There was some debate about the legitimacy of Sax's claim to the patent for his "saxhorns" as many manufacturers were working on similar ideas at the same time.
  11. JDH

    JDH Member

    I would say that the tenor horn and baritone are real saxhorns - that is their origin.

    However, the flugelhorn, euphonium and basses design as used in brass bands are highly influenced by Adolph Sax designs with the top pistons, rather than rotary valves.

    Another influence that Sax had on the brass bands, is the practice of having alternating Eb and Bb pitched instruments from top to bottom of the band. I understand the reason for having such alternating pitches is that the harmonics complement each other and increase the power of the band. Therefore a 25 piece brass band has the power of a 45 piece band if they were all in one pitch.
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