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The Euphonium Family - Baritone, Euphonium, Double-Bell Euphonium

Rating: 13 votes, 5.00 average.
There has been so much confusion for soooooo long about the difference between baritone and euphonium that I wrote a monograph a few decades ago, which later become this web page:

I think it helped many to understand the technical differences. But there is nothing like seeing and hearing the different horns in action, so I recently recorded on video the same song, played in the same room, recorded on the same equipment, played on euphonium, double-bell euphonium, and baritone horn.

The double-bell is an interesting instrument (now extinct). The large bell definitely has a euphonium-like sound, although it is not as big as today's euphoniums. The small bell is actually a slightly smaller sound than on my baritone, although my baritone had a bigger sound than some earlier models. If you ignore the small bell, you have a horn that was used in most public schools the most of the 20th century (until upright, front-valve euphoniums started to take over). Those horns were often called "baritones" out loud and at the top of the sheet music. However, the fit all the technical/design definitions of a euphonium and have the round sound of a euphonium.

The horns used below are:
Euphonium: Adams Custom, with .60 brass thickness and a sterling silver bell, 4 valves compensating. Bore: .592"
Double-Bell Euphonium: Holton from about 1935; 5 valves (4 for playing notes and 1 for switching bells). Bore: .560"
Baritone Horn: Besson Sovereign 955 (from around 1982), 3 valves, compensating. Bore: .515"

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Double-Bell Euphonium:
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Baritone Horn:
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  1. heimat's Avatar
    David, this is very useful overview. Could you please add a demonstration of european oval style rotary Barione, or Kaiser-Baritone? It may be an interesting comparison. :-]
  2. davewerden's Avatar
    heimat: I absolutely would do that, but I don't have access to an oval horn. It would be a great addition, though. I have noted where the microphones were, so if I have a chance in the future I'll set everything the same way.
  3. John the Theologian's Avatar
    In the spirit of Dave's demonstration and Heimat's suggestion to include the oval baritone, I was wondering if anyone has any comparison with the Conn 90G valve trombone, the one sometimes erroneously called a trombonium-- I understand the properly that name is for a smaller bored King horn, notorious for playing out of tune.

    I ran into one of them on the Chicago Craig's List this morning, looking for a large bore trombone. Here's the link:

    I understand that these horns were basically Conn 88H bell sections attached to front action baritone valves and don't exactly sound like any other valve trombone. My question is how do they compare with English baritones such as Dave is playing above?
  4. RickF's Avatar
    Just watched all three of these videos. Excellent example showing the differences in tone quality of each instrument.

    Thank you for taking the time to do this.