Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve system? Bookmark and Share

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Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve system?

Postby imperialbari » Thu May 11, 2017 6:14 pm

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/652387

I have seen several of 90º bent Belgian and French valve trombones. Appears like there are two types.

One has 4 valves, which lower the main bugle by the same intervals that we know from 4 valve non-compensating euphoniums and tubas.

And then there are the ones with 6 valves. Until today I thought their valves were laid out like with the 3+3P French tubas, but that is not the case. They follow the patent by Adolphe Sax that is described at the page behind the above link.

Only I don’t get it from that description how the open bugle is tuned and what happens, when which valve is pressed.

I somebody here on TN has tried out an instrument after that patent, please tell how it works.

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Re: Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve syst

Postby MikeW » Fri May 12, 2017 6:30 pm

Disclaimer: I never even heard of these before, let alone played one.

The best I could find is this:

http://music.allpurposeguru.com/2011/06/the-oddest-looking-trombones-ever-by-adolphe-sax/

In brief, with no valves pressed the beast plays like a trombone in seventh position (slide fully out).
Pressing each of the valves shortens the tube to one of the other six positions.
Presumably you can play a harmonic series at each position.

Conceptually, it would play in tune, if you don't include all the subtle variations in slide position possible on a slide trombone.


I have also seen (somewhere) diagrams and a photograph of an attempt at a rotary-valved ophicleide. It had four valves to raise the pitch one, two, three, or four tones, plus two valves for semi-tones, one with short tubing for use with high notes, and one with longer tubing for use with low notes.
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Re: Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve syst

Postby imperialbari » Fri May 12, 2017 7:51 pm

Thank you very much for finding that article!

Where my intuitive understanding of the Sax system failed, was about the open length of a Bb instrument being in E natural, and the Bb length taking the pressing of a valve.

Now I get it. And I get, why this system failed: Because it is not intuitive. We may train almost whatever system, but if its inner logic is not obvious, it will be hard for us to make it work.

One thing about the Sax system being at odds with our practices on normal valves is that pressing more than one valve makes no sense. The valve closest to the mouthpiece will have the saying, as it shunts of the airstream before it even reaches the next valve.

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Re: Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve syst

Postby Mikelynch » Fri May 12, 2017 9:18 pm

I believe these instruments are addressed in a dissertation by Eugenia Mitroulia (with apologies for any misspelling) on Sax's brasswind production. To the best of my recollection, the open horn was in A, with 3 ascending valves, and 3 descending valves. But I'm going by memory here.
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Re: Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve syst

Postby imperialbari » Fri May 12, 2017 10:03 pm

Thanks! This lead me to this age:

https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/5490?show=full

At the bottom of $the bage there are two pdf-files that may be downloaded.

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Re: Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve syst

Postby Eflatdoubler » Sat May 13, 2017 6:49 am

I have read about these horns, perhaps in Anthony Baines' "History of Brass Instruments". I recall that part of the reason they failed was due to the fact of how heavy the horns were, and they were much less practical to schlep around.
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Re: Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve syst

Postby imperialbari » Sat May 13, 2017 7:09 am

Page 95 (paginated as 77 in the lower right corner) of this file

https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1842/5490/Mitroulia2011.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y

tells that MikeW told the right understanding of the Sax independent valve system.

Open horn gives E natural
6 gives F
5 gives F#
4 gives G
3 gives G#
2 gives A
1 gives Bb

All notes told in concert pitch for a Bb instrument.

An actual baritone, which has the Sax independent valves in a 3+3 setup, and which is slightly bigger in bell dimensions than my 1967 Boosey & Hawkes Imperial compensator, is reported to weigh 7,5 kg, which is 3 times as much as my said baritone.

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Re: Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve syst

Postby kingconn » Sat May 13, 2017 8:36 am

Isn't this similar to Dr. Young's tuba?
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Re: Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve syst

Postby imperialbari » Sat May 13, 2017 10:15 am

kingconn wrote:Isn't this similar to Dr. Young's tuba?


As I remember Dr. Young’s tuba, it is a compensating double tuba in BBb and EE natural.

Both systems claim perfect intonation, but neither addresses the fact that the series of overtones is determined more or less perfectly by the Pythagorean subdivisions, whereas the valve systems, at best, strive to be perfect according to equal temperament scales.

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Re: Any experience out there with Sax’s ascending valve syst

Postby imperialbari » Mon May 15, 2017 3:52 pm

Here an auction that has ended. It was about a baritone made after the Sax independent valve system. The system rather being about a series of shunting loops is very obvious for at least the 3 first valves. Looks like the photos disappear right after the page opens, but you only have to scroll down a bit.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Saxhorn-ou-euphonium-ancien-6-pistons-valves-D-amp-P-Lebrun-Bruxelles-/292112694504?nma=true&si=lvHwjBtQ37YQxJk22BmAQSRZmC8%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
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