The Central Coast Philharmonia

Tubax & Subcontrabass Tubax

The Eb tubax is a brand new instrument made by Eppilsheim to satisfy the demand for a more practical contrabass saxophone. It is compact for its pitch field, incredibly agile and easy to play, and features an impressive 5-octave range, making it appealing to instrumentalists. The tubax plays with the fingering of a saxophone, but its conical bore gives it an entirely new sound. The typical tubax is the Eb contrabass pitched the same as the contrabass saxophone. However, even as it gains practicality and manuverability over the contra sax, it lacks the power, volume, and warmth of the low saxophones. Still it is much louder then the contrabassoon, the contrabass clarinet or the contrabass sarrusophone, which makes it attractive as an orchestral instrument, and for that matter, much easier to play and control--and likewise, it can make a clear pianissimo on its lowest pitches, a feature only otherwise achieved on the contrabass clarinet in the wind family. Having a superbly well-designed keying system, the tubax is capable of clear quartertones and better intonation then any other woodwind instrument. The tubax is featured throughout the Genesis concert, as well as its larger cousin, the subcontrabass tubax (also called the subcontrabass saxophone). The sub-contrabass tubax has all the notable features of the contrabass tubax, adding to its fame a range which exceeds the piano's in depth. Bottoming out at Ab below the lowest A on the piano, the Bb subcontrabass tubax is truly the lowest pitched available woodwind instrument. Genesis features the subcontrabass tubax in the violin concerto where it solos. There are currently only four subcontras in the world.

Some technical info: Tubax music is written in treble clef, and fingers exactly like saxophone. The Eb contrabass tubax sounds in pitch with the contrabass saxophone and the contrabass sarrusophone, the subcontra sounds in Bb a full octave lower than bass saxophone (and its music transcends the contrabass clarinet by an octave into the depths as well). The contrabass tubax can actually be played with a baritone saxophone mouthpiece allowing little difficulty of play for any experienced saxophonist. Tubax are expected to receive much action in new music and in films due to their practicality and excellently designed keying systems. It is the intention of the Genesis concert to show off these excellent instruments and inspire more to write for them. More info on the tubax can be found at in the "Contrabass Compendium," on Jay Easton's site, under the "subcontrabass saxophone" heading, and at the Eppilsheim website:

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