And they have done it again…

Remember Benedikt Eppelsheim? He’s been a bit quiet recently: after he announced his Bb contrabass clarinet and the Eb contrabass sax, there haven’t been any additions to his website. I know that he’s produced Sarrusaphones and Ophicleides, but as of yet nothing has come up.

However, looking at Guntram Wolf’s website, the picture that with any luck should appear with this post features heavily. He and Eppelsheim have previously collaborated on the Contraforte, a redesigned Contrabassoon and evidently they have been busy working on this Lupophone. I know that it isn’t a saxophone, but it looks so extraordinary that I felt that I had to share it with you.

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This entry was posted in Clarinet and Flute, Eb/Bb saxes, Humour & Techie. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to And they have done it again…

  1. alan says:

    Hello ukebert, that posting certainly scared me !   Why do I get an image of the Lupophon  being played underwater, is it the curiously shaped  bell ?  🙄
    Echoes of the conn-o-sax bell – but an inverted version…

    (update) Ah – I see it’s a heckelphone on steroids…

  2. lewis Pelham says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but I thought that a Bass Oboe was called a Bassoon.
    I have far too many problems with just one reed, especially as the problems increase as the cube of the number of reeds.

  3. alan says:

    Lewis – yes, I think they are close cousins in the same family, but with different fingerings and tone – interestingly from this article, the Heckel family improved early bassoons – is it just a coincidence then that the bass oboe was called a Heckelphone… ?  😐
    I like the idea of a tenoroon, a tenor bassoon…  ( yes, it exists ! )  Or how about a Contrabass oboe ?
    A whole new set of instruments has just been added to my vocabulary – great for dropping into confusing conversations – I wonder if Walt Disney would be interested in making an animated film about them ?   😀

  4. ukebert says:

    Lewis, it is doubtless down to the bore. One can say that with a knowledgeable air and nobody can quite have the confidence to put you right 🙂

    And the Heckelphone is a rather specialist type of Baritone Oboe, rather than a bass. You’ll notice that Lupo is latin for “Wolf”, so it is continuing the Heckel tradition.

    And Wolf himself makes, er, faggotinos I think he calls them, bassoons around the size of a soprano sax. Sadly my first outlay into the double reed world will be the bombarde, as they cost under £20.

  5. lewis Pelham says:

    Owen.
    Please feel free to put me down any time you think it appropriate.
    The vast majority of my postings are tongue in cheek…born out of pure ignorance.
    The knowledge that both you and Alan have of these obscure instruments simple astounds me.
    I have to ask however “….What is the purpose of them…”?
    To a simple soul such as I, all the sounds necessary for good music can be achieved with Drums, Electric Bass, Electric Guitar and Saxophone….anything else just muddies the sound.  🙂

  6. ukebert says:

    What is the purpose of them?

    What indeed… 😉

    My instruments may be different from yours, but I have a similar number necessary to create a good sound. Well, the absolute minimum would be one piano…

    The obscure ones are fascinating, but superfluous in the grand scheme of things. Lovely bit of engineering though, especially as the bore taper is continuous throughout the rather complicated curved sections, and I’ve heard good things about the ergonomics of the keys.

  7. lewis Pelham says:

    I do agree about the piano…but only if played in the style of Albert Ammons. 😉
    If just one instrument, then it has to be the tenor sax…no surprises there.
    Pan Pipes can sound good however….airy and ethereal….but only in the right circumstances. Hmmmm, amplified Pan Pipes in a rock band….do not knock it if you haven’t tried it.  🙂

  8. Gary says:

    The Bass Oboe and the Heckelphone are two different instruments with the Heckelphone having a bore almost twice the size of the Bass Oboe. Until last week I was the owner of Heckelphone #5005 and shall be sorry to see it go. However I am inclined to get in line for a Lupophone once the current economic climate eases up a bit. Looks and sounds delicious.

  9. ukebert says:

    Wow, I had no idea that the bore of the Heckelphone was so wide. Have you heard the Lupophone then Gary? I am aware that it was exhibited at some show or other.

  10. Mal-2 says:

    The way the keywork operates on the bow and bell sections looks a lot like a saxophone, aside from the necessary differences due to the fingering system. This makes sense — why reinvent the wheel?

    If I had the scratch to order something from Eppelsheim, I’d want a Tubax… in C, with a low A. Maybe a soprillo too, just for the reaction it would get, but I could work a Tubax into a gig. Soprillo would be a novelty at best — I have gigged with the soprano ONCE (and the silver is already peeling off after a year and a half!), and own neither a C-sop nor a ‘nino. I don’t even have an eefer, though I’ve considered picking one up since they’re neither rare nor expensive.

    I don’t know exactly what a bass oboe would be used for, but wouldn’t it encompass pretty much the same range as a tenoroon or a tenor rothphone or sarrusophone?

  11. lewis Pelham says:

    It is still my opinion that it is too close to other, existing, equally obscure instruments to be valid.
    Much work for such little effective result….What’s the point? Where, when, and under what conditions will it be needed? 😕

  12. ukebert says:

    I think that the main selling point is that it has a larger range than the Heckelphone, there is some piece or other in which the heckelphone part goes too low.

    I think that actually this instrument will replace some of the obscurer instruments, rather than be unable to compete.

    And a C Tubax would be fun, if a trifle big and heavy to be carting around to gigs…

  13. lewis Pelham says:

    Owen.
    I am shocked….you are telling me that my Heckelphone is now obsolete.  How will the other members of the Blues/Rock band react to such bad news?  🙂

  14. ukebert says:

    Don’t worry Lewis, the Heckelphone will probably still be around, just not the tenoroon. Sorry about that 🙂

  15. Grant says:

    Technically, the heckelphone bore is twice the diameter of the oboe’s bore, while the bass oboe bore is twice the cross-sectional area of the oboe’s bore (i.e., 1.4x the oboe bore diameter), the latter being the standard way to scale instruments up to larger sizes. My understanding is that the Lupophone has a bore somewhere between the Heckelphone and the bass oboe. Based on the bore profile, it should sound somewhat more like a big English horn, and a bit less like a tenor sax.

    Note that the “baryton” and the bass oboe are the same instrument. We should probably consider the bass oboe as actually a *tenor* oboe (labeling the EH as the alto instrument), and have a bass instrument in F an octave below the EH, more consistent with the shawms from which these instruments originally derived.

  16. ukebert says:

    And now I know 🙂

  17. alan says:

    I always wondered if the Heckelphone, and maybe now the Lupophon, was/is more geared to the requirement for a ‘bigger’ sound – taking it out of the purely orchestral arena, and into wider integration with it’s potentially more raucous saxophone friends.

  18. Mal-2 says:

    What is with the inconsistent naming of instrument families? Flutes, clarinets, and (it seems) oboes have soprano, alto, and bass with bass an octave below the soprano. There is no tenor (except flute where the “tenor” is a Bb instrument between the soprano and the alto!), there is no baritone — below bass you have contralto, contrabass, sub-contrabass, etc. (I am ignoring anything higher than the soprano member of the family.) Recorders are soprano/descant, alto, tenor, and bass. Saxophones are soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone respectively, then bass and contrabass (no contralto except that Schmidt C-tenor).

    If saxophones followed the clarinet nomenclature, a tenor would be called a bass, and a baritone would be called a contralto. Adding to the confusion is the way the bari reaches the lower compass of the cello which is considered the TENOR instrument of its family. The strings are alone in having an octave between the alto and tenor members, however.

    ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓ ❓

  19. Grant says:

    Actually, the violin and viola originated in a different family from the cello and contrabass. I wouldn’t expect any kind of consistency there.  The cello evolved from the bass viol — the string bass is the contrabass size. So, actually, you have the soprano (violin), alto (viola, which is even called “alto” in many scores, and reads alto clef), then the bass (cello) and contrabass (double bass, bass viol, contrabass), with no tenor or baritone in between.

    British nomenclature used to call the alto flute a “bass flute in G”.

    Frankly, I like the sax nomenclature — it provides for a lot more instruments before you start naming things “sub-sub-contrabass”, etc.  E.g, if the bass flute was considered to be the tenor, the sub-bass in F would be “baritone”, and the contrabass would be simply “bass”.  With a range to C below the bass staff, this would be consistent with the bass clarinet, bassoon, and bass sax. The double contrabass would then be the true contrabass, with a range like that of the contrabassoon or contrabass clarinet.

    Makes sense to me 😉  Unfortunately, the names are set by history and tradition, and change is hard…

  20. Alan says:

    ….and change is hard…
    Grant, don’t we know it, most of us play C saxophones which tend to fall between the gaps in most sax-players logic…

  21. Mal-2 says:

    You are right about the bass being descended from the viol family — sloping shoulders and tuning in fourths are pretty much conclusive proof of that. The ‘cello though has its tuning in fifths and does not have sloped shoulders. In terms of construction, it has more in common with the violin and viola (scaled up) than it does with the bass.

    I forgot to mention the bass trumpet, which is more or less equivalent to a tenor (valve) trombone and is usually played by either a trombone or baritone/euphonium player as they have the closest match in terms of performance technique. Baritones, of course, are really tenors too — but since the British brass band tradition is to call alto horns “tenor horns”, the baritone name is largely to avoid confusion rather than cause it. Euphoniums are tenor tubas, which is fine since they aren’t claiming to be anything else.

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