Dashboard icon
View Member Profile
View Profile
Add or Edit My Works icon
My Works
Edit Member Profile icon
Edit Profile
Member Orders Page icon
Member Shipping Settings Page icon
Member Profile Page Statistics icon
Edit Member Settings icon
Member Inbox icon
Logout icon
Member Login Sign Up icon
Country Flag
per page
Artopium.com -> Library Index -> Music Terms -> Sousaphone

Music Term: Sousaphone

Library Menu icon
Library Home
Promotion Tools
Member Help
Member FAQ
Roving Festival FAQ
Site Map
Link to Artopium
About Us
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 1-9


Definition and background:

Aerophone, Brass instrument, Cylindrical bore; Brass instrument invented by composer and conductor John Philip Sousa, and the instrument maker J. W. Pepper (Philadelphia). The design was adapted from the tuba and the helicon. There were many helicons available at the time, including the 1883 Czerveny "Kaiser Bass" with a helicon shape. Sousa was happy enough with the sound of the helicon in a marching situation, but was looking for a mellower sound for his concert settings. In 1893, Pepper built an instrument that allowed the bell to be pointed upwards for the concert setting and forward for the march. He called it a sousaphone to thank Sousa for his suggestions. Other companies made their versions and the instrument maker C. G. Conn made a sousaphone preferred by Sousa in his bands. Today's sousaphone (starting with the 1908 Conn version) has a forward bell which coils around to rest upon the performer's shoulder thus allowing the instrument to be carried with greater ease while marching. After the introduction of the sousaphone, John Philip Sousa predicted that in a few years, every home would have one. The sousaphone is basically a tuba that coils around the body with a flared bell that faces forward. As such, it is similar to the tuba in how it is played. The main difference is the sousaphone wraps around the performer's body to make the instrument easier to carry in marching bands. It is It is made of the same brass material and can also be silver plated like a tuba. Many of the popular models are made of a fiberglass material that make it much lighter in weight, designed for more comfort when carried for long periods. Most sousaphones have only three valves. The sousaphone is played in the same manner as all other brass instruments. The performer vibrates his/her lips against the mouthpiece producing a tone, and the pitch is controlled by three valves. Sousaphones can be pitched in nearly any key. Most sousaphones are in the key of B-flat, however, it is not unusual to find instruments in E-flat. The sousaphone notes sound at the same octave as written, so it is a non-transposing instrument. The lowest note written for the sousaphone is the F 1 below the bass clef staff. The high range goes to the F 1 above the bass clef staff. A professional performer can extend the range more than an octave above this and extend the low pitches into the pedal range of the instrument.

Form of tuba with the tubing made in a wide coil to go round the player's body and rest on one shoulder and terminating in a large bell, 600mm or more in diameter directed forwards (but in the earliest models directed upwards)

Select from a letter above to find a music term in the Artopium index, or enter a music term below to search the entire index using Google Search.

This is a collection of over 7,000 music terms and definitions used for music theory, composition, instruments and more; a dictionary compiled by Artopium.com as a resource for all musicians everywhere, but especially for Artopium.com member artists. Artopium is a consignment website dedicated to promoting and selling the works of independent artists, musicians, filmmakers, fashion designers and authors from around the world. After looking up your music term and definition, if you have't already, please peruse the thousands of titles listed on Artopium by selecting from one of the categories above (Art, Music, Fashion, Video and Books). Or if you're an artist, sign up today for free and start selling your work immediately!

Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology

Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary

ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary

Artopium © 2002 - 2017