No, my Photoshop skills aren't this good.
No, my Photoshop skills aren't this good.
OK, I'll play... A Frankenhorn.
Modern keywork on a horn keyed to low B with what looks like a tenor (alto?) right thumb rest. Side Bb only... No F# key, but they did put an underslung octave key and a bis Bb on the thing... I'd say some bastardized sopranino keyed to high D or D# only. Am I close?
Is it a kiddies starter?
There wasn't much info on the website the pic is from. Just "Custom Soprano." IMO, it's not very far from other "eyecatching horns" like the Vibratosax except, in this case, it's very doubtful you'll see another.
The interesting thing, to me, is that there's a lot of keywork that's purposely left off. If I was going to have someone make me a custom horn, I'd want it to at least have the same keywork as an "ordinary" instrument, if not more.
I'd file it under "people that have too much money and/or time on their hands," but it looks like it's fairly well done. If it was built from an existing soprano body, you'd think that there might be a hint of the other side keys. It's got the "Removabell"-like body to bow connector, too.
I was thinking of something liket he Alpha sax, but with slightly different keywork and a shorter bell. Otherwise a similar idea of much reduced keywork.
The QRS Play-a-Sax is more-or-less a musicbox that you blow into. More of a harmonica than a sax. Helen's website has more on them.
If I could remember where the website of that soprano came from, I'd post it, but the horn was for a pro. As I said, custom one-off.
On the other topic, the idea of "beginner" saxophones have been around for quite some time. You could probably argue that the horns from European manufacturers from he 1920s through the 1930s based on the A. Sax design were the first "sax gateway drug." You then have the Buescher Academy horns and the later Yanagisawa "training" horns. Heck, there are keyless models that aren't really intended for beginners. Get your harmonics on!
I've always viewed the saxophone as being pretty much complete once the automatic octave mechanism was installed. An "improved" sax (again, in my opinion) would have alternative ways of fingering low C# (like on the clarinet) and better ways of handling the palm keys.
The A. Sax sax does pretty well within its "base scale", running from low D up through high C# (although the middle finger C stands out like a dissonate note played as the root of a chord). But, once you are "off the holes", the fingering system breaks down...at least for me...
Instead of the palm keys, why not a third octave key (using a vent or vents located farther up on the horn, along the lines of the Triebert oboe) that would allow continuation of the upper end of the range with the same fingerings? Has this been tried?
That's an interesting idea. If you were using a Yamaha WX-11, this idea is implemented, but that's an electronic instrument. I wonder if it's even possible to implement this on an acoustic instrument. Interesting thing to check up on, tho!Instead of the palm keys, why not a third octave key (using a vent or vents located farther up on the horn, along the lines of the Triebert oboe) that would allow continuation of the upper end of the range with the same fingerings? Has this been tried?
...are always quite possible. The bass clarinet and other harmony clarinets have them, except for the traditional arrangement of the basset horn. (Playing a basset horn, with the difficult transition between registers, is a chore, particularly when you contrast the ease of playing the same parts on an alto clarinet.)
All saxophone already have them in dual form. Hell, my Yamaha baritone even has a two hole system (for a grand total of three vent openings) that allows for a smoother transition from register to register. (The lower set of vents has two holes, one of which is rigged with a flat spring connection to open a fraction of a second later than the first.)
Oboes do it. Selmer produced a clarinet (the Marchii, or something along those lines) that had a vent on the barrel for the altissimo register. Arguably, Heckel bassoons have it with their flick keys on the wing joint.
Why not on the sax? One of youse should get to work on this pronto...
I believe there was an A Sax instrument that had four. Something like that. However, I think the real question is not necessarily the amount of vents, but what their effect is. The register vents on the sax are usually just to get a portion of notes to play in better tune, rather than allowing you to play four+ octaves, especially if you're talking about doing it with the same fingering. I think.
I know little to nothing about acoustics. I wonder if there's an inherent problem in the conical instrument design that prevents you from having more than two octaves with the same fingering.
The oboe manages that quite nicely, of course. As did the Marchi clarinet, which can be seen at:
Despite the claims of "greater complexity" and of being a "technician's nightmare", they are no more complicated than your average pro bass clarinet, and certainly less complex that the French system oboes that one sees these days.
All that the various and sundry altissimo fingerings of which clarinet players are so fond use extra venting that "picks" the higher harmonics in a similar fashion. In their case, it's the half holed first finger left hand (or use of the finger plate hole on the bass).
Here's something interesting: this horn has shown up on eBay.de with a different neck and is being called an "experimental" Eb alto "Manzello."
Here's the ad. Quoting:
There's a bit of additional blurbage down the page, which I'll translate and transliterate:THIS IS A UNIQUE INSTRUMENT:
I developed a prototype of a Children´s saxophone further:
- I had two side keys added so that it is playable from Low C - High F# and of course all flageoletts
- A silver plated original Buffet Grampon neck was customized to fit which improved sound and resonance
- all keyguards etc that were unnecessary were removed to make the sax as light as possible - it weighs a bit over 900 Gramms now.
The body of the instrument is gold plated, it has a G# key that also serves as a C#/C trill. The instrument is tuned in Eb like a regular alto and plays from low C-F#(...)
I used it often in concerts during the last year, often as a solo-instrument, here is a sound example of a live recording:
I called this sax in remembrance to Rahsaan Roland Kirk "MANZELLO" and used it with a Babbitt C-Melody mouthpiece and Bass-Clarinet reeds (mpc not included!). It also works with good intonation with standard alto mpcs.
It ships in a real historic wooden case that needs some work for daily use but protects very well.
The instrument is fully playable but keep in mind THIS IS AN EXPERIMENTAL SAX, I am lacking time and financial resources to make this a real professional instrument.
I would exchange the experimental side keys for newly designed ones with new toneholes, would have the body maybe again gold plated, tweak and improve the mechanic etc.).
I hope this goes to someone who really enjoys this special sound and instrument and maybe invests in it...
Many thanks for your interest and have a great musical day!
============1. Yes, it's gold plated, not gold lacquered. It has a silver-plated neck.
2. The saxophone was used as prototype children's saxophone for the Musikmesse in Frankfurt. I modified it heavily AFTER Musikmesse.
3. This horn was inspired by Peter Jessen's G-mezzo-soprano and plays well with a natural alto mouthpiece. Because of the shortened body, you can also use a C Melody mouthpiece.
So, what I had read on the other website is one of the following:
* Wrong and this really is an Eb alto (probably the most correct).
* There are two horns out there that look pretty simular: a Bb soprano and Eb alto. I suppose this is possible, but considering I have no recollection anymore, probably choice 1 is correct.
Album of pics.
Last edited by Helen; 08-09-2012 at 01:30 AM. Reason: Minor German Translation Correction
I wrote about this horn on my blog yesterday. Gotta' keep up man, gotta' keep up. Oh, and you should see my pretty pic today. OK, so I didn't take but... it's still pretty. I'll post under the M. Keilwerth section for it though.
But I posted this page over a month ago, so I win. Neener, neener.
something wrong with my ebay searches, this didn't show up..
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