I saw this in a parade.

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The tone sounded like a horn. I guess it is enlarged to make it louder in open areas.

  • The Section Leader in the Ohio State Marching Band gets to "dot the i" with this. Jan 10, 2020 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


It's a Sousaphone. Invented by one Philip Sousa, famed for his marches. He wrote many, which are still played, particularly in USA. He needed an instrument that would be capable of playing the lowest notes in marching bands, and came up with the serpentine bass you see.

Many years ago, I had one, sadly sold it to a friend. It took hours to polish, but later versions are fibreglass, so easier to maintain - and don't mind too much being played in the rain!

  • Do they play tuba parts, or are some songs arranged for sousaphones specifically? Jan 10, 2020 at 7:29
  • @piiperiReinstateMonica - seems reasonable to assume that any work by Sousa would have specific Sousaphone parts, I guess! But why couldn't any low part be played, possibly an octave out? That would surely work.
    – Tim
    Jan 10, 2020 at 7:32
  • I was just thinking about the actual marching bands who use sousaphones - do they usually just take any existing arrangement and its tuba part. I mean, if someone tries to find music for the sousaphone, or music where it's used, it might be good to know that it's used as a different kind of tuba. Jan 10, 2020 at 7:44
  • @piiperi Reinstate Monica - As part of that tuba family, and generally as a Bb instrument, yes, sousaphones can play any tuba parts (oviously Bb tuba parts make most sense!)
    – Tim
    Jan 10, 2020 at 8:21
  • 3
    Sousaphones are a type of tuba and play regular tuba music Jan 10, 2020 at 12:26

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