Its name is derived from the Greek word euphonos, meaning "sweet-voiced" and many consider this instrument to be the ancestor of the modern day euphonium.
The ophicleide was a difficult instrument to master. Treble clef euphonium parts transposing down a major ninth are included in much concert band music: [note 1] in the British-style brass band tradition, euphonium music is always written this way. Qualifications for playing the Serpent were good musicianship and an excellent sense of pitch as intonation was a serious problem.
For a thorough discussion of the valves and the compensation system, see the article on brass instruments.
United Kingdom[ edit ] Alfred James Phasey —English ophicleide, baritone and euphonium artist credited with modifying the bore of the baritone saxhornprecursor of the baritone hornto enlarge it and make it more resonant thereby creating the first true euphonium which he went on to popularize as a performer and author of an early instructional method for tenor brass.
The euphonium can also double on a trombone part in a jazz combo. The man who would succeed him for that title would be Simone Mantia. I play the Euphonium. It was constructed of wood, brass, or silver and played with a deep-cup mouthpiece made of horn or ivory.
The euphonium was immediately well received as a fully chromatic tenor-range instrument for use in military bands, which is the context in which it was most widely employed. The latter, David Childs, is a second generation euphonium player.
The euphonium and the ophicleide co-existed for at least five decades, but the euphonium was easier to play, and both cheaper and easier to manufacture in large quantities. There are, nevertheless, several orchestral works, a few of which are standard repertoire, in which composers have called for instruments, such as the Wagner tuba, for which euphonium is commonly substituted in the present.
Compensating systems are expensive to build, and there is in general a substantial difference in price between compensating and non-compensating models.