An Eb contrabass sarrusophone. The sarrusophone is essentially a metal bassoon, the design of which borrowed heavily from saxophone design. Like the saxophone, sarrusophones came in sizes from sopranino through contrabass, but only the contrabass became popular. They are still made in Italy, and although they have been considered obsolete for 80 years or so, they are having a bit of a revival.


The Eb Contrabass Sarrusophone.  Probably the most popular out of the Sarrus family.  Sarruses are double-reeds, but made of metal like saxophones.  Their purpose was mostly to give a double-reed sound in marching bands, because wooden double-reeds suffer tonality, can be awkward to carry, and are much more expensive if accidentally dropped…  They basically compare and compete with the saxophone, though I don’t really think Gautrot (inventor of the Sarrus) planned to really give Sax a run for his money.  Sax sued him multiple times for multiple reasons.  The Sarrus’s fingerings are very similar to a saxophone’s of the 1800’s when it was invented, and ranges from low Bb to a high G (Saxes in those days were low B- high F)  Both were promoted in marching band, and invented relatively close together, the saxophone patent was in 1846 and the Sarrus was invented in 1856.

The instrument was made in sizes similar to, and in the same key, as saxophones: Eb Sopranino, Bb soprano (these two looked like very narrow bored sopran(in)o saxes) Eb Alto, Bb Tenor, Eb Baritone, Bb Bass, Eb Contrabass, CC Contrabass (this  sarrus was used quite frequently until more modern technology allowed contrabassons to be more easily made and better sounding) and also a BBb Contrabass.

The French used these instruments the most as they were invented there.  However, the US army had Conn get a hold of some and make over 200 or so Eb Contrabasses for them.  Conn also invented a single reed mouthpiece for it, using a smaller hole for the bocal, causing the horn to sound more saxophonish.

"Never play it sober!"


I was looking up things for my Oboe Reeds, and I stumbled upon a Saxophone forum, and the question was “Is there a double reed for Saxophone?”

Those on the forum argued that, no, there wasn’t, and their defense was that the bore size would make the reed ridiculously big.

I wasn’t buying into that, so I looked into it further, and I found this.

I present to you: the Sarrusophone!

Where is your god now?

Do you even double reed?

fagottophilia asked:

I love the rauschfife and and especially the Eb contrabass sarrusophone on the Mink Car version of Older! Did Linell play those? Can you tell me anything about why you used those instruments?

JF: those guys were ringers! You can hear just from the sounds that those instruments have really extreme textures in different registers, so I suspect that basic contrast was exciting to JL, but it’s really something I can’t be sure of.