(Valved aerophone sounded by lip movement)
The sousaphone is a specialized version of the helicon. The first sousaphone, a non-production prototype made by J. W. Pepper & Son, Inc., had an upright bell, hence the nickname "rain catcher" because of its shape. Later production versions differ primarily in two ways: a bell shaped to face forward with a larger flare and a bell diameter of 22 to 28 inches (56–71 cm), and a "goose-neck" leadpipe which offers greater adjustability of mouthpiece position at the expense of tone quality. Both the sousaphone and helicon have circular shapes and are designed to be worn on the shoulder.
The instrument is very popular in Central and Eastern Europe and is a common choice for military fanfares. It is used by Ed Neuhauser of the traditional folk band Bellowhead.
The German manufacturer Melton developed these instruments using the acoustical proportions of the Červený Imperial BB♭ Contrabass Helicon:
- Soprano in E♭
- Alto in B♭
- Tenor in E♭
- Baritone in B♭
- Bass in F (or EE♭)
- Contrabass in BB♭ (or CC)
Philip Timms with his E♭ bass helicon in 1909
- "Brass instruments". The Harvard Brief Dictionary of Music. Washington Square Press. 1960. p. 37.
- Haine, Malou (1980). Adolphe Sax (1814–1894): sa vie, son œuvre et ses instruments de musique. Brussels: Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles. p. 74. ISBN 978-2-8004-0711-1.
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