Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Double tuba and baritone, "Bellophone" in BB-flat

Maker:
H. N. White Co. (American)
Date:
ca. 1930
Geography:
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Culture:
American
Medium:
Brass, mother of pearl
Dimensions:
Approx. maximum overall measurements when assembled: 55 1/8 × 39 3/8 × 35 7/16 in. (140 × 100 × 90 cm)
Classification:
Aerophone-Lip Vibrated
Credit Line:
Gift of Drs. Eli and Carolyn Newberger, 2015
Accession Number:
2015.768.1a–f
Not on view
This singular instrument was made to the specifications of the distinguished performer and teacher William Bell, who set modern standards for tuba playing in America. Through this feat of brass instrument engineering and construction, Bell sought one instrument capable of playing the wide range called for in the tuba and low brass parts of orchestral and band repertoire. Typically, players would need to switch between bass tubas and tenor tubas or baritones built in a variety of keys and sizes to handle these parts. The "Bellophone" alleviated the need for a tuba player to have several instruments at hand during a performance. To achieve this, the instrument was built to function both as a tuba and as a baritone. It has two separate bells but a shared set of four Périnet valves. A separate rotary valve directs air into either the baritone or tuba section of the instrument. Of the two mouthpiece receivers, one serves both instruments and leads to the rotary change valve; the other allows the tuba to be played independently. Two players can thus play the instrument simultaneously. Bell performed on this Bellophone in the Cincinnati Symphony, the Band of America, and the Goldman Band.
Inscription: Inscribed on the tuba bell:
KING/ MADE BY/THE/H.N. WHITE/CO/CLEVELAND/OHIO
Stylized floral and graphic engravings around inscription

Inscribed on the baritone bell:
KING/ MADE BY/THE/H.N. WHITE/CO/CLEVELAND/OHIO
Eli Newberger
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