The euphonium is a conical-bore, baritone-voiced brass instrument. It is a non-transposing instrument known for its distinctive tone color, wide range, variety of character and agility. A person who plays the euphonium is sometimes called a euphoniumist, euphophonist, or a euphonist. The euphonium is in the bass brass family and is used in symphonies, orchestras, school bands, and marching band.
There is another instrument called a baritone that is similar to a euphonium which mostly uses the same fingering system. You can read more about it here.
As portrayed in Hibike! Euphonium
There are three students that play euphonium in Kitauji's Concert Band:
- The euphonium is a mid-sized brass instrument.
- In size comparison, the euphonium is smaller than the tuba, but bigger than the baritone horn.
- The euphonium, tuba, baritone horn and alto/tenor horn are shaped similarly, but in different sizes.
- Euphoniums are stereotyped as people who do nothing but constantly explain to non-musical people what their instrument is and why it is not a tuba, and explain to musical people why their instrument is not a baritone. Kumiko Oumae, in some ways, fits this stereotype.
- The euphonium can be played in either bass or treble clefs, with the bass clef written in concert pitch as a C instrument, and the treble clef being written in Bb sounding a major ninth, which is an octave plus a whole step, lower than written. This change in clef does not affect the way the instrument sounds, it is simply different between sheet music.
- The euphonium is quite a rare instrument, as many do not know what it is.
- The euphonium, baritone horn, and alto/tenor horn are all part of the saxhorn family of instruments.
- In the United States euphoniums are often confused with baritone horns while in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe it is confused with alto/tenor horns. This confusion is caused by the minute differences in the instruments and as such they are usually interchangeable in music.
- Notable pieces of music that call for a euphonium, tenor tuba, or a Wagner horn, all filled by euphoniums most of the time if said instrument is not available, include Gustav Holst's The Planets, Richard Strauss' Don Quixote, and Dmitri Shostakovich's The Golden Age.