At university, we had a test in musical analysis last week, so I dedicated myself a little bit 😉 to studying for it.
As it mainly concerns analysis of orchestra music regarding instrumentation, timbre, articulation and so forth, some of us definitely needed some “upgrade” regarding knowledge in orchestration, so I started reading the book of Walter Piston.
This gentleman, who lived from 1894 until 1976 was a notable american composer, music theorist and professor at Harvard University, one of his students was Leonard Bernstein.
Very interesting and very well written, doesn’t leave out the smallest detail and all very easy to understand.
What I couldn’t resist, was to write about a quite unknown instrument he presented in the family of winds, I found really curious and had never heard of before:
It is a large transposing brass instrument played with a double reed mouthpiece like the bassoon.
It existed in various sizes, but the most common was the Eb version.
Having a strange sound, it was only very rarely used in classical music with some exceptions and seems to have been “forgotten”, although there’s a rumour of having been played by a Jazz virtuoso who later denied it… Read the full story on Wikipedia.
Now listen to a demonstration, it really sounds weird, I don’t like it 😛
Having scared you this weird “metal beast”, now it’s time for another strange instrument, altough much prettier and with a much nicer sound and also quite a little more common:
Click here to read the story about it, one could say it is a tuba in portable format.
Or should I say a mobile tuba? No, it doesn’t have Wi-Fi ahahaha 😛
Listen to it being played solo: