Posted by Klaus on April 12, 2002 at 10:15:10:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Tubas on auction site? posted by Mary Ann on April 12, 2002 at 09:13:33:
Helicons were the Czech/Russian/German answer to the weight distribution problems of marching tubas. The older Cerveny style helicons have the wide-throat/narrow-flare bells generally associated with German style tubas.
I have not heard such a helicon marched since 1961, but I never will forget that. Very effective for keeping the beat, sounding like an overblown bassbone taken an octave down, and with quite a bit more than a touch of sandstorm-in-Sahara to the sound.
That might have been, what John Philip Sousa disliked about helicons, when he suggested the design of the raincatcher sousaphone. Which should explicitely not catapult its sound in the face of the listeners.
What I see on pictures of raincatchers is the additional change of bell proportions in the direction of the ca. 1880 Conn front action tubas. Less throat-with, more flare. Taken to its extreme in some bell front sousas. With the side effect of bell ringing, discussed in more than one thread by JoeS, Rick Denney, and myself (amongst a lot of other boarders).
There also have been US made piston helicons. Those I have seen illustrated, have tended towards the general US tuba bell proportions. So I guess, that they had less Sahara to them. If you look under the archive for April of 2001, you can find JoeS' presentation of a wonderful conglomerated Eb helicon. I expressed my admiration back then, and I stand by it now. And I think JoeS will understand, when I say, that I really consider that helicon transcending the limits of its species. This is a tuba differently wrapped.
Rick Denney on his site presents a discussion of the effects of the German-versus-American bell proportions.
JoeS has told from his experiences with US BAT's, that he in many ways consider them large sousaphones wrapped back in tuba shape. Something I can understand after having aquired one of the highlights in the story of the US sousaphone: the Conn 40K.
Guess I made a full-circle-posting in more than one sense.