The euphonium is a tenor-voiced brass musical instrument that has 3 to 5 valves with conical tubing. It looks very similar to a small tuba but has a higher pitch and mellower sound, with a rich and deep tone quality. The word euphonium itself is derived from the Greek word euphonos that means well-sounding or sweet-voiced. The history of the euphonium dates back to the 18th century when wind instruments were still in the early stages of development. The euphonium traces its origin to the serpent – a brass instrument that was used as a marching bass in military bands which eventually gave way to the ophicleide, since it was difficult to control its pitch and tone quality. The ophicleide was more advanced however; it also failed to satisfy musicians and composers.
The euphonium was invented in 1843 by Ferdinand Sommer in Weimar, Germany. Carl Moritz and Adolph Sax also created instruments of similar kind around the same time. In 1874 David Blaikley developed the British-style compensating euphonium, while the double-bell euphonium was fashioned in the United States. Over the years the baritone was usually confused with the euphonium. However they are different - the baritone has a smaller bore with a brighter and lighter tone whereas the euphonium has a bigger bore and delivers a more powerful and richer tone. The euphonium has a wide range from E2 to about D5 which can be extended from B0 to as high as B?5. Depending on the valve set-up of the instrument the lower notes can be obtained. From the UK, USA, and Japan the art of playing the euphonium has spread to other parts of the globe as well. This exclusively band instrument is mostly played in solo; hence it is rightly called the ‘King of band instruments’.