Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Octavin - our mystery musical instrument

Our Octavin is missing its bell.
We finally found educatus.com and this is what they say:
 The octavin is a perculiar oddity among the single-reed family, and was invented
 - apparently in vain - by Jehring and Adler or Markneukirchen in 1894.
 The instrument in the photograph is made of rosewood
and has a conical bore in one butt,
with a plated metal bell pointing forwards,
 and an ebonite barrel and mouthpiece.
Little is known of this instrument,
as it was never taken up seriously by band or orchestra.

The octavin is a woodwind instrument with a conical bore and a single reed.
As such it resembles a saxophone, and its range is similar to that of a soprano saxophone,
but the octavin differs in three respects:
first, its conical bore has a smaller taper than that of a saxophone;
second, its body is made of wood, rather than metal;
third, its usual shape is similar to that of a bassoon,
having two parallel straight sections joined at the bottom,
with the mouthpiece attached to the top of one section
and a metal bell to the top of the other.
(A few straight octavins exist, having a wooden bell;
in this configuration it resembles a tarogato but has a smaller taper.)
The instrument was produced in B♭ and C.
One writer (Altenberg) mentions a bass octavin
but no such instrument is known to have been produced.
The (written) range of the octavin is from G♯3 to G6.
While invention of the octavin around 1893
is sometimes attributed to Julius Jehring,
Oskar Adler and Hermann Jordan of Markneukirchen patented it.
The octavin never caught on and is an
extremely rare instrument, though the
American composer Jeff Britting (b. 1957)
has composed a sonatina for octavin.

this is where the bell goes

Other References:
 knowing instruments