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the Turcophone: Ali Ben Sou Alle alias Charles Jean-Baptiste Soualle

2937 Views 16 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  milandro
Ali Ben Sou Alle alias Charles Jean-Baptiste Soualle

the artist whom may have introduced the saxophone to the Eastern world , he travelled extensively in the Far East and Australia, and created a mysterious atmosphere around himself and the instrument which he played. He claimed that the Turcophone or turkophone was his invention and not some modification of the Saxophone. He certainly applied many modifications to the Sax design and presented a patent application for this instrument as , his own.

Apparently one Turcophone ( reportedly one which belonged to A.Sax) unfinished, was bought by Leo van Oostrom a Dutch musician and famous collector.

Quite by chance I came across pictures of this rather picturesque player and I had to look up the name to find out more about him

He was a very famous player, born French and then adopted an " arabic or turkish-like" image in his time and he is depicted with what appears to be a straight alto in few pictures.

He played and adapter version of the saxophone ( which had been practically just invented) called at the time a Turkophone

here a comprehensive article

and hier another one

and one in French

this is a list of his compositions

this is a performance of one of his pieces (on recorder)

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Great to see this here! I'm writing a dissertation on this chap. There's lots to discover... watch this space!
Very nice to hear this, there is a lot on line but not quite so much about his instruments .

Where are they, are they on display, are they playable? Does anybody play them?
I'm afraid I don't know much about his instruments. The most detailed work on this seems to be Cottrell's article for JAMIS. My work is focussed on his compositions/performances and connections to Scottish culture via. Robert Burns, Walter Scott and the bagpipes. Who'd have thought!
Yes, I think I have quoted from that article, but it is all very condensed. To the saxophone collector there would be the need of pictures and details, I can't believe that the horn has gone destroyed and that there was only one.
Agreed. I think it's likely that the only surviving photograph is the one from 1864, which is held at the British National Archives and appears in the Cottrell article. Unfortunately, despite the filling of patents in 1860/61, I think the overall narrative of Soualle/Ali-Ben-Sou-Alle's life and career indicates that the "turcophone" and "turcophonini" (essentially alto and soprano saxophones) were bespoke, unique and not necessarily cherished after the demise of his performing career in the late 1860s.
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