The ophicleide is a brass musical instrument. Belongs to the class of klappenhorns.
The name is derived from the Greek words “ophis” and “kleis”, which translates as “serpent with keys”. The shape of the case resembles another wind instrument – the serpent.
The playing technique is similar to the horn and trumpet. The sound is extracted by a jet of air directed by the musician. The pitch of the notes is controlled by the keys. Pressing a key opens the corresponding valve.
The date of invention is 1817. Four years later, ophicleid was patented by the French music master Jean Galeri Ast. The original version had a mouthpiece similar to the modern trombone. The instrument had 4 keys. Later models increased their number to 9.
Adolphe Sax had a special soprano copy. This option covered the sound range an octave above the bass. By the 5st century, 3 such contrabass ophicleides have survived: XNUMX are kept in museums, two are owned by private individuals.
The tool is most widely used in European countries. Since its inception, it has been used in academic music and military brass bands. By the beginning of the XNUMXth century, a more comfortable tuba had replaced it. British composer Sam Hughes is considered the last great player on ophicleide.