Musical Instruments

Baritone & Euphonium

The Brass Family

King 4-valve Baritone (UMI) Baritones and euphoniums are usually made of brass or other metal, and usually silver-plated or lacquered. Baritones and euphoniums are small tubas. The baritone sounds in the same range as a trombone. Baritones and euphoniums are found in concert and marching bands, and occasionally in the orchestra. Baritones and euphoniums also often play solos.

The baritone and euphonium come in many different designs. Orchestral and concert band instruments are held upright. Marching instruments have a bent mouthpiece pipe so that the weight of the instrument can be supported on the shoulder. Baritones and euphoniums have always had valves because they were invented after valves were.

Bach Baritone (Selmer)The baritone is very similar to the euphonium. The euphonium is usually larger bored and is related to the flugelhorn. The baritone is more closely related to the cornet. Baritones usually have three valves, while euphoniums often have four or five.

On a baritone or euphonium, the sound is made by the buzzing the player's lips. The mouthpiece helps the sound become clearer. The rest of the instrument makes the sound louder. Any fingering on the instrument can make many different notes so you need to have a good ear for music to know if you are playing the right note.


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Bach Marching Baritone (Selmer) The baritone comes from a long tradition of trumpet-like instruments first used in the ancient world for signaling and ceremony. Only a few notes could be played on these instruments made of conch shells, animal horns, and hollowed branches. By Roman times, and for centuries thereafter, brass trumpets and horns were common at military and civilian events.

The first baritones apeared in the late 1830's, just a few years after the invention of valved brass instruments. By 1850, baritones were used extensively in military and school bands. They were often featured as solo instruments.

Baritones used during the American Civil War had bells which pointed backwards over the player's left shoulder. Since the band marched at the head of the army, this was necessary to allow the other soldiers to hear the music. After the Civil War, marching military bands gave way to concert bands, and baritones with bells pointing upward or frontward became standard.


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Bach Bellfront Baritone (Selmer)

Before you play

: There is very little to assemble on a baritone or euphonium. All you have to do is place the mouthpiece into the lead pipe. Do this with a gently twisting motion. Do not hit or pop the mouthpiece into place. Oil the valves every day you play your instrument. Remove the valves one at a time and apply three or four drops of oil. Replace the valve, slotting it into place or turning it until it clicks. If the valve is not in the proper position, you can blow hard, but no air will go through. If this happens, check the position of each of the valves to correct the problem.

Tuning & Playing

: To lower the pitch of the baritone or euphonium, lengthen the instrument by pulling the main tuning slide out. To raise the pitch, push the main tuning slide in.

If your mouthpiece gets stuck while playing, do not attempt to remove it yourself or have anyone yank it out for you. Forcibly removing it can break the braces on the instrument. Your teacher will have a special tool to safely remove the mouthpiece.


: Once a week clean the mouthpiece with warm water and a mouthpiece brush. Once a month, give your instrument a bath. Remove all the valves and slides and run snake brushes and valve brushes through the instrument with warm soapy water (hot water may damage the finish). Put the baritone or euphonium back together. Oil the valves and grease the slides.

Note: This information is meant as a guide and provides only a short summary of the steps required to keep your instrument in good shape. Please ask your teacher for more information.

Related Links:

Baritone & Euphonium sites at Yahoo!
Baritone & Euphonium sites at Looksmart

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