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Thread: Euphonium Suitability for Concert Band

  1. #1

    Euphonium Suitability for Concert Band

    I have bee searching for a quality compensating euphonium to step up from my current 4 valve non-compensating horn. The instrument is used mostly in Concert Bands settings, occasionally in small groups, and for occasional solo work. In another thread about a 3 valve baritone (Yamaha 831 Neo I believe), someone made a comment about a 4 valve compensating Euphonium as being awfully expensive for "something that can only be used in brass bands". So, is there a euphonium or baritone type most appropriate for use in 50 - 80 member concert bands? Is there a different horn types suitable for a concert band VS a "brass band"? I am seeking opinions about this question: Given a qualified player, which choice (not necessarily brand specific) would be most appropriate from the following list: 1) 3 or 4 valve baritone, 2) 3 or 4 valve compensating baritone, 3) 3 or 4 valve non-compensating euphonium, 4) 4 valve compensating euphonium? Also am curious about the difference between a 3 or 4 valve compensating baritone VS a 4 valve compensating euphonium (beside difference in bore). Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Welcome to the forum.

    You would want a euphonium for concert band - and probably for the small group too. Baritone (British style) would normally be used in a British style brass band. For recommendations read some of posts in the 'Euph Brands' section of this forum.
    Rick Floyd
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  3. #3
    Glad to have you on the forum!

    To expand on this just a bit...

    In a British-style brass band there are always unique baritone and euphonium parts. The two instruments serve different roles. The baritones in a brass band are different from the American-style instruments with front valves that are often called "baritone horns." British baritones are less conical than euphoniums and have a smaller bore.

    In standard concert bands (or "wind bands") there is usually only a part intended for euphoniums. However, because of common, incorrect name usage in this country, the parts may be called baritone horn or euphonium. But in either case they are intended for either the American-style or the European-style euphonium.

    In a very few concert band pieces there are separate baritone and euphonium parts intended for those instruments. One such is Lincolnshire Posy by Grainger. There is also an unpublished (I think) manuscript version of Holst's First Suite in E-flat, which has the original separate parts. There are a few others that I can't bring to mind right now. There is a rough rule-of-thumb to tell if parts that are different are for divisi euphoniums or for baritones and euphoniums. If the difference between the parts is mostly to create harmony, they are probably just euph-1 and euph-2 parts. If the baritone part does not go nearly as much into the low register and has unique lines, it is probably intended for a true baritone.

    For 99.9% of your concert band playing you want a euphonium.
    Last edited by davewerden; 10-10-2015 at 09:37 AM.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  4. If you decide to buy a compensating euphonium at a great price, I recently bought a Yamaha British-style baritone horn and may not play my John Packer JP274 any more. I have an extra mouthpiece and John Packer gig bag as well as the original case. The horn is just 18 months old. Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks. Little Jimmy

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by RichardR View Post
    someone made a comment about a 4 valve compensating Euphonium as being awfully expensive for "something that can only be used in brass bands".
    I remember the thread, and I believe what was meant is that a 4-valve compensating British Baritone is awfully expensive for "something that can only be used in brass bands".

    With the exception of a few British entries in the repertoire, a British Baritone really doesn't have much use in a concert band. As Dave states, in most concert band literature, the Baritone / Euphonium parts are for euphonium.

    That said, I've got excellent players in my groups who use a mix of compensating and non-compensating 4-valve horns. At some point, it becomes less about hardware features and more about which instruments best match your sound concept. The top player in one of my bands makes his Yamaha 321 sound absolutely amazing. I know others who have top of the line compensating instruments but never developed the technique to make them sing.

    With that in mind, I'd ask what about your current instrument is and isn't working for you. Thinking that through and being able to articulate it will really help you find a good match with your next horn, whether it's compensating or not.
    Adrian L. Quince
    Composer, Conductor, Euphoniumist
    www.adrianquince.com

    Kanstul 976 - SM4U

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    There is also an unpublished (I think) manuscript version of Holst's First Suite in E-flat, which has the original separate parts. There are a few others that I can't bring to mind right now.
    Actually, some stray Baritone cues made it into the 1948 edition even though no separate part was published or indicated in the score. I've got to remember to tell the euphoniums to play the cues every time I read this edition with a new group or there's a big hole where there should be a soli line. Gotta love Boosey and Hawkes.
    Adrian L. Quince
    Composer, Conductor, Euphoniumist
    www.adrianquince.com

    Kanstul 976 - SM4U

  7. #7
    Thanks for all of the feedback to my somewhat broad question. Generally, this tends to confirm my original thoughts on the euphonium as an appropriate instrument for my purposes. In volunteer organizations, there is often a interesting mix of instruments being used, and while an instrument may not be ideal, the ability of the player to get the most out of the instrument seems to be far more important than the mechanical construction of the instrument. My current instrument is a non-compensating w. Nirschl, 3 + 1 which I purchased to replace a Bach 3 valve baritone. The instrument tends to sound a little thin in the top end, (even at my personal best), and there are tuning problems in the lowest ranges. No amount of adjusting the slides will bring all ranges into to an acceptable pitch compared to the other euphoniums around me. I understand that some notes are just simply not tunable with this instrument. That said, my purpose in searching for a replacement is to find an instrument with truer pitch and with greater presence.

    LittleJimmy, thanks for the offer, I will consider it along with several options I have available. I have played a Besson, and a Willson, but have also been impressed with the sound some have achieved with the YEB-321. It is the accomplished YEB-321 players which make me think I don't necessarily need a compensating horn. In any event, a 4 up valve design is probably not a good option due to some arthritis setting in. Any recommendations the better non-comp 3 or 3+1 euphoniums? Better means well made and very capable of great tone.

    Thanks for your replys!

  8. #8
    What is your price range?

    Also, do you want a deep, dark sound or a more lively sound? How is your air capacity?

    Since you mention arthritis I assume you don't want a horn that is very heavy, correct? And with the same thought, I assume you would be better off with no trigger because that is somewhat stressful if your hands are not entirely fine and dandy.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  9. #9
    Generally below $4K, preferably in the $2,500 - $3,500 range. I tend to shy away from horns made in China or India based on previous experience. I know that times are changing however, as a seatmate plays a Mack Brass with quite good sound quality. I have looked at the Wessex horns on the web but not had a chance to play one. A very nice used instrument would not be out of the question. Weight is not generally a factor as I have very good strength, but flexibility of one or two fingers is less than before. I don't feel a trigger would be needed for the vast majority of my playing. My wind is good, though not used as much as I wish. Blowing hard on the present instrument does not seem to project well so I tend to seek a better quality sound and therefore moderate my blowing. A very large bore would not be desirable, but something a like my .58 - .65 valves would be fine.

  10. #10
    One of my euphonium players just bought a new Wessex Dolce. He sounds excellent on the instrument and really enjoys playing it. To me, it felt a little stuffy, but the tone didn't suffer because of it. I will say that the build quality felt excellent, easily up to par with the American and European horns I've played. I couldn't say the same trying another friend's Schiller 3-4 years ago.
    Adrian L. Quince
    Composer, Conductor, Euphoniumist
    www.adrianquince.com

    Kanstul 976 - SM4U

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