If you are untrained in distinguishing the different brass instruments, you may mistake the marching euphonium for a marching baritone. You may also think that both instruments are the same. Moreover, you will fail to distinguish between a concert euphonium and a marching euphonium. Yet, if you are well-versed with these instruments, you will know for sure the difference between the different brass instruments. Moreover, you will figure out exactly the difference between the marching euphonium and the marching baritone.
The main difference between a marching euphonium and baritone and those euphoniums and baritones used in the concert halls is that the marching ones are designed to give you a concert sound on the marching field.
In the marching field, you will have no walls to resonate against. Hence, you need to get that resonance on your own without the help of the concert walls. So, the marching euphonium and marching baritone, for example, were constructed in such a way that they could resonate well even in the marching field.
Difference Between Marching Euphonium and Marching Baritone
Most instruments do not come with a marching version. Only the trumpet, mellophone, baritone, euphonium, and tuba have their marching versions. The marching euphonium and baritone, as mentioned above, may look the same to the uninitiated. Yet, they are very different. Below is a short discussion of what the marching baritone and euphonium are and the differences between the two brass instruments:
The Marching Baritone Horn
The baritone or baritone horn features a low-pitched instrument of the saxhorn family. The saxhorn family, of course, consists of piston-valve brass instruments that feature mouthpieces with a deep cut and conical bores. The baritone horn comes with a mellow tonal quality that blends well with other brass musical instruments.
The marching baritone horn is a type of baritone horn that is specifically created for use in bugle corps and marching bands. It has three valves along with a front-facing bell. Moreover, this marching baritone horn is considered the tenor voice of marching bands and bugle corps.
The marching baritone comes below the trumpet’s soprano voice and the alto horn or mellophone’s alto voice. Besides, it is widely used across the United States, though its use is also becoming popular in street bands and jazz bands of Europe.
The Marching Euphonium
To understand the marching euphonium, you need to learn about the euphonium. The euphonium features a medium-sized brass instrument that comes with 3 to 4 valves. It also features a conical bore. Moreover, it is a tenor-voiced brass instrument that got its name from the ancient Greek word Euphonos which means well-sounding. Almost all current models of euphonium have piston valves.
You can play the euphonium in bass clef like a non-transposing instrument. You can also play it in treble clef like a transposing instrument. Moreover, British musicians treat the euphonium as a treble-clef instrument, while in the United States, it is treated either in bass clef or treble clef.
Drum and bugle corps and marching bands mainly utilize the marching euphonium. In drum corps, you will usually find one euphonium part and two baritone parts. Moreover, the euphonium plays the lower parts. Besides, there are some corps like the Blue Devils that march all-euphonium sections. However, the euphonium and baritone get used interchangeably in most high-school marching bands.
The weight of the euphonium may weigh on the marcher’s hand. Thus, if you intend to master the euphonium, you must also have great strength to hold the instrument up during performances and practices. Because it’s heavy, many players of euphonium experience nerve problems in their right pinky and problems in their back and arm.
You will also find another marching euphonium form that is convertible. You can convert this euphonium from being a concert upright into a marching forward euphonium. Yamaha and Jupiter mainly produce this type of euphonium.
How are Marching Baritone and Euphonium Constructed?
The baritone comes with a smaller bell and bore as compared to the euphonium. It also has cylindrical tubing with the same diameter throughout. Moreover, its sound is brighter and lighter. It also has three valves, although some may have four. It also has a more tightly wrapped feature than the euphonium with a smaller bell. These features make it more compact, and for this reason, it is easier to handle and carry than the euphonium.
The euphonium, on the other hand, comes with a larger bore and bell. Its tubing is conical, which means its tubing enlarges as it nears the bell. Moreover, it has a more robust and darker sound. Euphoniums also feature three to four valves. In case there is a fourth valve, you would usually play the fourth valve with your left index finger while you play the first three valves using your right-hand fingers.
When Should You Use the Marching Baritones and Euphoniums?
The baritone and euphonium are relatively new instruments, having been invented only in the 1840s. Hence, you will seldom hear them played in orchestras, given that not many parts were written for them by the great composers of the previous centuries. Nevertheless, you will often see them played in brass bands in England and concert bands.
You can find these two instruments in brass bands because brass bands consist of percussions and brass instruments. Moreover, there are lively competitions of brass bands in the UK, and such competitions are of value to local communities.
Concert bands, on the other hand, consist of brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments. They mostly perform in concert halls and venues. Concert bands also play lighter music and popular tunes. They also sometimes play classical compositions.
Of course, the marching baritone and euphonium are used in marching and military bands. They are wrapped versions of the baritone and euphonium, designed to give that concert hall resonation even when in the marching field.
As mentioned above, there are no walls and roofs in the marching field. So, the ordinary euphonium and baritone sounds will find it hard to resonate without walls and ceilings. Hence, manufacturers came up with the idea of designing baritone and euphonium for marching. These marching brass instruments can resonate even without the help of those concert walls and ceilings.
Knowing the difference between the ordinary euphonium and baritone and the marching euphonium and baritone will help you choose correctly the instruments you will be needing. So, before zeroing in on a particular brass instrument, it will help to ensure that you distinguish first between the euphonium and the baritone before shelling out your hard-earned money.