The Slide Reed Subcontrabass

The slide reed subcontrabass is the invention of Philip Neuman, of the Pioneer Brass and other performing groups.  Dr. Neuman plays mainly low brass instruments in these ensembles, but has been known to sneak in the reed contrabass, ophicleide, and other oddities from time to time.  

The instrument at right has a slide diameter (outer diameter of the inner slide) of 5/16", and an overall length of 37".  It plays in two registers: fundamental, and a subharmonic a perfect fifth lower.  The lowest note is Eb0 (Eb below the piano's lowest A).  The highest note is Eb1 (a half step below the string bass's lowest note).  Yes, that is a monster double reed, made specially for this horn.  And yes, we have heard (and played) tromboon, as described by PDQ Bach.

You can hear this marvel on The Pioneer Brass "A Pioneer Brass Christmas" (1994, Gagliano Recordings GR505-CD).

The subcontrabass slide rackett


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