2004 P.Missin - Details

COUESNOPHONE OR "GOOFUS"

The above illustration is taken from French patent 569294 awarded in 1924 to the brass and woodwind manufacturers Couesnon. The instrument is described in the patent as a "saxophone jouet" ("saxophone toy"), but was marketed under the name Couesnophone. This proved a little difficult for English-speaking people to pronounce, so it was commonly anglicized as "queenophone", but it was even more commonly known as goofus.

The instrument did resemble a sax, an instrument very much in vogue at the time, but it was actually a free reed instrument much like the harmonicor, with the reeds being selected by piston-like keys arranged in a similar manner to the keys of a piano - one row of keys giving a C major scale, the other row arranged in alternate groups of two and three to give the sharps and flats. It could be played whilst held in a position similar to a sax, but it also came with a long rubber tube that allowed the player to place it on a horizontal surface and play it like a keyboard whilst blowing it through the tube.

I have no idea how it came to be known as the goofus, but it did enjoy brief popularity with some early jazz musicians, most notably the multi-instrumentalist Adrian Rollini who even formed a group called The Goofus Five.


A Brief History of Mouth Blown Free Reed Instruments
What Is A Free Reed?
Origins Of The Free Reed
Eastern Free Reed Instruments
A Selective Discography Of Asian Free Reed Instruments
Western Free Reed Instruments
Bibliography


Return to Main Index