© 2004 P. Missin - Details


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

Return to Main Index