Steve Coleman

Tuesday May 20, 2003

The invention of the Aulochrome by François Louis represents a turning point in the development of woodwind instruments and the first serious extension of the original saxophone design by Adolph Sax. Although there have been several attempts by individual musicians to produce such a concept that suggest similar ideas (for example Rahsaan Roland Kirk playing the Saxophone, Manzello and Stritch together or George Braith’s invention and playing of the tenalto Braithophone), these instruments were only available to their inventors. The Aulochrome is the first refined version of this idea as well as incorporating elements that as far as I know are unique.

The mechanism of the Aulochrome seems to be revolutionary as well. As soon as I saw and heard it I could see in my mind’s eye many uses in particular directions for creative music today.

I particularly like the idea of incorporating the ancient concept of the double-body reed instrument, the first known examples of which can be seen depicted on the walls of ancient Egyptian temples and in ancient Babylonian records. Later the ancient Greeks picked up on this idea with the instrument called the Aulos (hence the name Aulochrome). However François Louis’ instrument is chromatic, in the same way as modern instruments are, in addition to having a modern design.

I look forward to the mass production of this instrument as it will surely lead to some very innovative music being produced once it is in the hands of creative musicians. Only by putting this instrument in the hands of creative musicians will the full importance of its invention be demonstrated and recognised. Therefore we must support the production of the Aulochrome. This instrument continues the great creative tradition of Belgium inventors of musical instruments, Adolph Sax would surely be proud!

Steve Coleman