The saxhorn is a valved brass instrument with a tapered bore and deep cup-shaped mouthpiece. The sound has a characteristic mellow quality, and blends well with other brass.

The saxhorn family

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-flat and B-flat, like the saxophone group. There was a parallel family built in F and C for orchestral use, but this seems to have died out.Fact|date=March 2007

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. The saxhorn is also commonly confused with the flügelhorn, a German instrument which has a different configuration and predates the saxhorn. This confusion probably arises from the common substitution of the flügelhorn for the saxhorn when no saxhorn is available (and vice versa).


Developed during the mid to late 1830s, the saxhorn family was patented in Paris in 1845 by Adolphe Sax. Sax's claim to have invented the instrument was hotly contested by other brass instrument makers during his lifetime, leading to various lawsuits. Throughout the mid-1850s, he continued to experiment with the instrument's valve pattern.

Saxhorns were popularized by the distinguished Distin Quintet, who toured Europe during the mid-nineteenth century. This family of musicians, publishers and instrument manufacturers had a significant impact on the growth of the brass band movement in Britain during the mid-to late-1800s.

The saxhorn was the most common brass instrument in American Civil War bands. The over-the-shoulder variety of the instrument was used, as the backward-pointing bell of the instrument allowed troops marching behind the band to hear the music.

Contemporary works featuring this instrument are Désiré Dondeyne's "Tubissimo" for bass tuba or saxhorn and piano (1983) and Olivier Messiaen's "Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum" (1984).



See also

*Alto Horn
* Baritone

External links

* [ Saxhorn, Euphonium and Tuba site (in French)]
* [ Dodworth Saxhorn Band]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Saxhorn — basse Les saxhorns constituent une sous famille d instruments de musique, de la famille des cuivres à perce conique. C est en quelque sorte la déclinaison d Adolphe Sax des tubas. L instrumentiste jouant du saxhorn est appelé saxhorniste.… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • saxhorn — SAXHÓRN, saxhornuri, s.n. Instrument muzical de suflat făcut din alamă, întrebuinţat în fanfare şi orchestre. – Din fr. saxhorn, germ. Saxhorn. Trimis de LauraGellner, 17.07.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  saxhórn s. n., pl. saxhórnuri Trimis de siveco, 10 …   Dicționar Român

  • saxhorn — [ saksɔrn ] n. m. • 1846; de Sax, nom de l inventeur, et all. Horn « cor » ♦ Mus. Instrument de musique à vent en cuivre, à embouchure et à pistons. ● saxhorn nom masculin (de Sax, nom propre, et allemand Horn, cor) Instrument de musique à air,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Saxhorn — Sax horn , n. (Mus.) A name given to a numerous family of brass wind instruments with valves, invented by Antoine Joseph Adolphe Sax (known as Adolphe Sax), of Belgium and Paris, and much used in military bands and in orchestras. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Saxhorn — nannte Adolphe Sax (s. Sax 1) die von ihm in sieben Größen gebauten, vom alten Bügelhorn (s. d.) abstammenden chromatischen Blechblasinstrumente weiter Mensur mit Ventilen, die in Deutschland die Namen Piccolo in Es, Flügelhorn in B, Althorn in… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • saxhorn — [saks′hôrn΄] n. [after A. J. Sax (1814 94), Belgian inventor] any of a group of valved brass band instruments, with a full, even tone and a wide range …   English World dictionary

  • Saxhorn — (Junge mit) Bügelhorn, „Entfant de troupe“, Eva Gonzales, 1870 Zur Familie der Bügelhörner gehören Blechblasinstrumente, die durch ihre weite Mensur mit dem Horn verwandt sind (Horninstrumente). Nach der Bauart des belgischen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • saxhorn — noun Etymology: Antoine Sax died 1894 Belgian instrument maker + English horn Date: 1844 any of a group of valved brass instruments ranging from soprano to bass and characterized by a conical tube, oval shape, and cup shaped mouthpiece …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • saxhorn — /saks hawrn /, n. any of a family of brass instruments close to the cornets and tubas. [1835 45; named after A. Sax (1814 94), a Belgian who invented such instruments] * * * ▪ musical instrument       any of a family of brass wind instruments… …   Universalium

  • saxhorn — noun Any of a group of similar brass instruments, resembling a bugle in shape, but with valves …   Wiktionary

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