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Thread: continental baritone (mainland Europe) is the tone different?

  1. #1
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    Question continental baritone (mainland Europe) is the tone different?

    There is a Bb baritone sold by Woodwind Brasswind, www.wwbw.com. Levante LV-BS5605. It is wrapped differently than United States baritones. Does anyone know if its tone is similar: would it blend in with an American concert band? I saw a picture, on Wikipedia under "baritone horn" of what is called a "four-valve continental baritone horn". The Levante and the one in the photo both have rotary valves. The Levante has three. Anyone ever heard a continental baritone horn played?

  2. #2
    I don't think I've heard of Levante as a brand. That looks like one of the Chinese clones, and I believe one of our members has a similar horn. There are also European makes who have produced these for years, many of very high quality. They have a pretty sound, but intonation is different from the horns you usually find in concert bands here. In German or Russian bands that use these, they often have 2 like the one above, and one of a larger bore, which is more euphonium-like and named "baryton."

    You don't say what your goal is. If you want to play in a community band or school band in the USA, I would lean heavily against this choice.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Dave. I think the Levantes are manufactured in Belgium. I play in a community band in the USA, French horn presently but wanting to switch to baritone. I will avoid the continental baritone if it won't blend with my other band member's horns. It is a concert band with woodwinds and brasswinds and percussion. The intonation would vary on certain notes I assume. So I would be out of tune a lot. Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    You are probably right on all points, Dave--Levante instruments are probably made in China. But they are distributed and serviced in Brussels, Belgium. They also make an American type euphonium.

  5. #5
    What do the other members of the section play ("Besson" style with side valves, or American-style with front valves)?
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
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  6. #6
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    I don't know. We have a rehearsal Tuesday and I will talk to them and ask to see their instruments. I've never really looked at their horns. I'm wanting to switch from French horn to baritone, because I think my lips are too full, or thick, to play horn as well as I'd like. When I first joined band in 7th grade, the band instrument company man said my lips were too thick to play trumpet which was what I wanted to play. He said I could play trombone or French horn. I chose horn. I was pretty good, but I always felt weak in rapid tonguing and fast fingering. I lost my horn and mouthpiece years later. I've never been able to find a mouthpiece I like as well as that one, an Olds #2. I use the biggest inner diameter available, but still feel insecure with it. Do you think baritone would be easier to play well for me with thick lips? I already know trumpet fingering pretty well, so I could read treble clef.

  7. #7
    Just to eliminate confusion, the instruments used in almost all concert bands in the USA are either the large euphoniums with side valves (the valves are parallel to the other tubing) or the smaller American-style euphonium with front valves (the valves are at an angle to the other tubing). An English-style baritone is usually configured with side valves, and has a smaller bell and bore. The oval instrument you looked at rides in between an English baritone and a euphonium.

    In the USA the term "baritone" or "baritone horn" are often applied to the American-style euphonium. This article explains more:

    http://www.dwerden.com/eu-articles-bareuph.cfm

    The 2 euphonium types both use mouthpieces that are much wider than a French horn mouthpiece. They should be more compatible with your chops. The American-style horn is a little easier to play for some people because it has a slightly smaller bore than the large euphoniums. But its tone is not quite as big and dark. The larger horns require more air, but even small players can usually get used to them.

    4 valves are a must-have for a serious player. The solo repertoire will make use of the extended low range the 4th valve enables, and many advanced etudes also use that range. Even for less-serious players, the 4th valve fixes the intonation problems a 3-valve horn would have with 13 (somewhat sharp) and 123 (really sharp). But the extra valve adds extra weight. You can get by with 3 valves in most concert band music; you don't need the low range except in maybe 2% of the pieces, and even there you can opt to play up an octave; but you'll need to find a way to deal with the treble clef written C# below the staff (123).

    eBay might provide some nice old American horns with 3, or sometimes 4, valves.

    Here is a 3-valve Yamaha with side valves, with has a bore in between the small and large euphoniums:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Yamaha-YEP2...p/273036007026

    Or here is a pretty good King American-style horn with 3 valves:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/KING-625-BA...e/312050637710

    And you can move up to 4 valves for a little more with this used Yamaha 321 (a very solid model):

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Yamaha-YEP3...G/282818349402
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  8. #8
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    Thank you so much David. I was reluctant to look on eBay until I knew more about the various horns. I now feel confident. I'll try to get a four valve one. Must sell my French horn. Thank you so much for your help. I like that 4 valve one you gave the link to. Have saved the seller. Will try to buy it.

  9. On a lark, I purchased a 3-valve Russian oval baritone off ebay last year. I had my tech make it playable. It has an 11-inch bell, but a bore half way between euph and BBB baritone, @ .550 (actually, about the same bore as the oval Eb instruments that take the place of French horns in these bands). It has a piquant tone, present but not assertive. It sounds and intonates best in the midrange. Even though the bore is marginally smaller than a typical American 3-valve bari/euph hybrid instrument with the .561 bore, it has similarities in response and intonation. I have all the original hardware and mouthpiece, so there is no extrapolation to "what if." For Russian concert band music, it serves the function perfectly. It is not a solo horn. It is not a versatile horn. But it has its place, and I am looking forward to an occasion where I can use it to its strengths.

  10. #10
    That Levante instrument is what the Germans would call a Tenorhorn. The sound is a little more veiled than a British Baritone, but it will still be the brightest thing in any American Euphonium section. Aside from playing German wind band music, there's not many places that the instrument would sound correct.
    Adrian L. Quince
    Composer, Conductor, Euphoniumist
    www.adrianquince.com

    Kanstul 976 - SM4U

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