Friday, September 21, 2012

No mention of Pepper's horn in 1898

Building on the post below, it is further curious that in Pepper's Musical Times and Band Journal dated May 1898 (vol. xv, no. 174), the following appears:
(Image courtesy of the Museum of Making Music and the J. W. Pepper Co.)
There are a few significant points we can make from this promotional piece from Pepper:
  • The image of Sousa is the very one used for the engraving on the first Sousaphone, showing the bandmaster in his uniform from 1894 or 1895. Once again, this reminds us that the first Sousaphone was most likely built during or after those years.
  • The same "ho-hum" endorsement of Pepper instruments from Sousa that was first published in 1896 (see post below) is now typed out for all to read clearly (couldn't they get a better quote from him?!).
  • The "prominent members of Sousa's Band who use and endorse" Pepper instruments include two BBb Bass players - Herman Conrad and Fred Walen. But in the 1896 Journal, Conrad is specifically identified as playing the Sousaphone. Why is he not so identified here? Unless, of course, he was no longer playing that Sousaphone, but had reverted back to a regular BBb Bass. This suggests that, by this time, Pepper's Sousaphone had, for some reason, fallen out of favor with Sousa, or with Conrad, or perhaps with both. And it is at this point in history that Conn enters the picture of Sousaphone history (lots more to come on that!).
  • Well, actually there is one more possibility to consider regarding the previous point. Perhaps Conrad is not mentioned as playing the Sousaphone at this time simply because that instrument was not in production, and so there would have been no point in drawing attention to a horn that no one could buy for themselves.

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