The Soprillo


Piccolo saxophone

The piccolo saxophone or sopranissimo (or soprillo) is a new instrument in the  saxophone family. It was invented by the German manufacturer Benedikt Eppelsheim in 2002.
It is the smallest saxophone built to this day, it measures half of the length of a soprano saxophone. Its key range is limited to high E, but a special fingering system can allow it to reach the high F#.
The tuning of this instrument remains particularly difficult to master in the high register, because of its proportions, but it possesses a personality and a tone color completely singular, who makes it indispensable in new saxophone ensembles.
As all the saxophones of high tessitura, its tone is powerful and can very well adapt itself to outdoor play. If it is correctly studied, it can nevertheless produce very soft sounds, in registers difficult to master on other reed instruments.
Among the curiosities connected to its size, the 2nd octave key hole had to be  in the mouthpiece. This one is generally designed on the basis of a sopranino saxophone mouthpiece a little shortened.
Also, sopranino saxophone reeds must be slightly shortened to be adapted.
Only a limited number of soprillos are in circulation in the world up to this day.

«Japanese» improvisation on soprillo

On the left : the  specific form of the  soprillo’s bell and the repartition of the keys reaching outside of the instrument.

On the right : three straight saxophones. From left to right : Soprano, Sopranino, Piccolo.

Extreme duo with Claude Georgel

Four straight saxophones : Bb soprano Selmer SA III lacquered, C-soprano Buescher silver-plated, Sopranino BG in Eb , Soprillo Eppelsheim  in Bb (the 2 last are lacquered).

Note the size proportion of 1/2 between

soprano and soprillo, and the differences between bells ... and mouthpiece cover !

«Folksongs 2» de François Thuillier par François Thuillier et Serge Bertocchi lors d’un spectacle Carte Blanche du groupe Zic Zazou au Centre Jacques Tati à Amiens en 2011. (puis un solo de JM Maddedu)