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The saxhorn family of valved brass instruments was named after Adolphe Sax, who did much to bring it to its present day form. His claim to have invented the instrument was hotly contested by other brass instrument makers during his lifetime.

The saxhorn is a brass instrument with a characteristic tapered bore and deep cup-shaped mouthpiece. The sound blends elements of other brass families, such as trumpets and horns. The modern flugelhorn, tenor horn (alto horn in the US), and baritone horn are current developments of this family.

Developed during the mid to late 1830s, the saxhorn family was patented in Paris in 1845. Like the saxophone group they were designed for band use and pitched alternately in Bb and Eb. During the mid-1850s Sax continued to experiment with the saxhorn's valve pattern; eventually the family consisted of more than ten models of different sizes.

Saxhorns were popularized by the distinguished Distin Quintet, who toured Europe during the mid-nineteenth century. This family of musicians, publishers and instrument manufacturers had a significant impact on the growth of the brass band movement in Britain during the mid-to late-1800s.

A contemporary work featuring this instrument is Desire Dondeyne's "Tubissimo", for bass tuba or saxhorn and piano (1983).