Couesnophone

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Illustration from the French patent belonging to the manufacturer Couesnon (1924).

The couesnophone, also known as the goofus or queenophone, is a free-reed musical instrument resembling a saxophone. Its reeds vibrate when the desired keys are activated and the player blows through a tube. "Best described as a mouth-blown accordion,"[1] "it sounded like a cross between a harmonica and an accordion."[2] French manufacturer Couesnon was awarded the patent no. 569294 in 1924 for an instrument that was described as a saxophone jouet (fr. "toy saxophone"). However, the couesnophone is a polyphonic instrument, while the saxophone is monophonic.

Playing the couesnophone[edit]

The couesnophone may be held like a saxophone or like a melodica (horizontally), given that the mouthpiece consists of a rubber tube that allows both positions. The keys are set in a layout similar to that of the Hohner early (proper – see [1]) melodicas, i.e. in two parallel rows: one corresponds to the white keys of a piano keyboard, while the other comprises the black keys.

Performers[edit]

The couesnophone was introduced in jazz music and America by bass saxophonist and vibraphonist Adrian Rollini, though he is sometimes credited with its invention.[1] The term "goofus" might have been coined by jazz musicians such as Rollini,[3] or Ed Kirkeby,[4][5] because it is easier to pronounce.

Recordings with Rollini on goofus include The Little Ramblers' "Deep Elm";[6] The Goofus Five's "Everybody Love My Baby" and "Oh! How I Love My Darling";[4] the Varsity Eight's "How I Love That Girl", "Doo Wacka Doo", "Oh! Mabel", "Happy (Watchin' All the Clouds Roll By)", "Ain't My Baby Grand?", and "I Ain't Got Nobody to Love";[4] and Joe Venuti and the Eddie Lang Blue Five's "Raggin' the Scale".[4] Don Redman played the goofus on "You'll Never Get to Heaven With Those Eyes", "A New Kind of Man (With a New Kind of Love for Me)", and "Cold Mammas (Burn Me Up)".[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rosenkrantz, Timme (2012). Harlem Jazz Adventures: A European Baron's Memoir, 1934-1969, p.52. Scarecrow. ISBN 9780810882096.
  2. ^ Rollini, Arthur (1995). Thirty Years with the Big Bands, p.6. A&C Black. ISBN 9781871478402.
  3. ^ Wood, Ean (1996). Born to Swing, p.39. Sanctuary. ISBN 9781860741548.
  4. ^ a b c d Stockdale, Robert (2008). The Dorsey Brothers: That's It!, p.1-3 and 193. Lulu.com. ISBN 9781435742598.
  5. ^ Ed Kirkeby, Duncan P. Schiedt, Sinclair Traill (1975). Ain't Misbehaving: The Story Of Fats Waller, p.186. Da Capo. ISBN 9780306800153.
  6. ^ Govenar, Alan B. and Brakefield, Jay F. (2013). Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas, p.262. Texas A&M University. ISBN 9781603449588.
  7. ^ Magee, Jeffrey (2005). The Uncrowned King of Swing: Fletcher Henderson and Big Band Jazz, p.61. Oxford University. ISBN 9780195358148.

Further reading[edit]