The Contrabass sarrusophone is the deepest of the family of sarrusophones, and was made in three sizes. The EE♭ version was the only sarrusophone that was ever mass-produced in the United States. It was made by companies such as Gautrot, Couesnon, Romeo Orsi, Rampone (and Cazzani), Buffet Crampon (Evette and Schaeffer), and C.G. Conn.
Contrabass sarrusophones are extremely light for contrabass instruments, weighing only about as much as a baritone saxophone, and being approximately four feet tall, about the same height as a bass saxophone. This makes them more convenient to carry around, fitting into cars more easily, and putting less strain on one’s muscles while carrying or playing it. Conn made contrabass sarrusophones, instead of contrabass saxophones, because the sarrusophones were easier to ship across seas, and to send through the mail, due to their lightness.
The sarrusophone is still used sometimes in France and Italy for the contrabass reed parts. Several composers have written parts specifically for the sarrusophone(s):
- Stravinski “Threni”
- J. Holbrooke’s “Apollo and the Seamen”
- Roscoe Mitchell’s “Four Compositions”
- Paderewski, Symphony in B Minor (“Polonia”) – calls for three sarrusophones
- Bruce Broughton’s “Tombstone” (soundtrack – also uses contrabass trombone)
- “Seismic Disturbances” by Adam Gilberti