HISTORY OF THE BARITONE AND THE EUPHONIUM The euphonium and the baritone have a relatively short history; both emerged in German military bands in the late 1820’s after valves were patented. In the 1840’s, Adolphe Sax produced a family of saxhorns, which were used by the French army. They became popular in England where brass bands eagerly adopted them. The baritone is a descendant of the saxhorn baryton. At the same time, an inventor named Sommer of Wiemar, Germany created the Sommerophone or Euphonium and exhibited it at the Crystal Palace in London in 1851. This enormous trade show exhibited all the latest technology from the Industrial Revolution, including steam trains, and was viewed by millions of Europeans. In the 1870’s, instrument makers at Boosey developed a compensating system to correct the intonation of the euphonium. By depressing a fourth valve when playing multiple-valve combinations, the pitch of the instrument (usually sharp) improved. At the turn of the twentieth century, composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst were eager to explore the warm tonal quality of the euphonium and wrote many solos, especially for wind band. Strauss, Wagner, Musorgsky/Ravel and Shostakovich wrote considerable orchestral music with euphonium. Euphoniums continue to be appreciated in orchestra and wind ensembles; baritones are more widely used in brass bands. Until recently, the words baritone and euphonium were used interchangeably in the United States. However, there are many differences that can visually and aurally distinguish the two. The euphonium bore and bell throat are larger than the baritone’s. Euphoniums usually have 4 valves; the baritone has 3. The more conical bore of the euphonium gives it a timbre that is deeper in color and weight than the baritone. Another factor that adds to the confusion surrounding these two instruments are the European names. In Italian and German, the words for euphonium are baritono and Baryton respectively. Baritones are known as tenore and Tenorhorn. It is important to keep this information in minds when using music published in these countries.
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