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Subcontrabass saxophone

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The subcontrabass saxophone is a type of saxophone that Adolphe Sax had patented and planned to build but which was never constructed. Sax called this imagined instrument saxophone bourdon (named after the lowest stop on the pipe organ). It would have been a transposing instrument pitched in BBB♭, one octave below the bass saxophone and two octaves below the tenor saxophone.

Although there are several images[1] on the web showing instruments purported to be subcontrabass saxophones, none depicts a genuine, playable instrument; the gigantic instruments in these pictures seem to have been built solely for show. Although the smaller of the two (constructed in the mid-1960s) was able to produce musical tones (with assistants opening and closing its pads due to the instrument's lack of keywork), witnesses have stated that it was incapable of playing even a simple scale.

[edit] Other versions

The instrument closest to the hypothetical subcontrabass saxophone is the Tubax(tm)<ref>Tubax page on the web site of Benedikt Eppelsheim Wind Instrument Company</ref>, which was developed in 1999 by instrument manufacturer Benedikt Eppelsheim of Munich, Germany. Tubax models are available in both C and B♭, with the B♭ model providing the same pitch range as the subcontrabass saxophone would have, one octave below the bass saxophone or a fourth below the contrabass saxophone.

The Tubax has the same fingering as a contrabass saxophone would, but the Tubax's bore, though conical, is narrower than that of a regular contrabass saxophone, making for a more compact instrument with a "reedier" and "fatter" timbre (akin to the double-reed sarrusophone).

[edit] External links

  • Article on about the subcontrabass saxophone
  • MP3 sound recording of the first movement of "Duet for Basses" by Walter Hartley, played as a B♭ Tubax duet (one instrument, overdubbed), performed by Jay Easton|Jay C. Easton]
This article was started using a Wikipedia saxophone article
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