Oscar Abella - Tuba and early brass instruments
header french tuba

Depending on each country, some types of tubas have been imposed on others over time. Thus, the German and Austrian tradition have taken lead in the vast part of the use of the valve Tubas in F and BBb-. England on the other hand roots on piston E-flat Tubas, and in the United States the favorite instrument is the piston Tuba in C. With all kinds of exceptions, of course. The French case is particular, where in 1843 Adolphe Sax, the Belgian manufacturer based in Paris, patented the "new chromatic system" of the Saxhorn, an instrument with its own instrumental family that goes from soprano to contrabass. The most common today is the Tenor/Baritone saxhorn in Bb and the Alto in Eb.

Until well into the 1960s, a particular type of saxhorn, usually in C with 5 or 6 pistons, was the most used instrument at the bottom of the Brass section in most French orchestras. With a smaller and cylindrical pipe size and width than the current euphoniums, the instrument gives a slightly lighter and more metallic sound quality. The saxhorn remains a great pride for French instrumentalists, although the use of the euphonium and Bass and Contrabass Tubas have also become widespread in the country.
French Tuba Tuba Français Tuba Francesa Saxhorn orchestra rtf 1958Orchestra of the RTF in 1958.
French Tuba Tuba Français Tuba Francesa Saxhorn Mahillon Oscar Abella French 6-piston Tuba “Mahillon à Bruxelles” (ca. 1937). Oscar Abella Collection.
bell French Tuba Tuba Français Tuba Francesa Saxhorn mahillonDetailed Bell. Text on the armor: "Unity is strength."
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