Yesterday Buffet R13’s – Today…a Tarogato!

20th April 2010
Just received a beautiful blood red looking soprano sax, which was not a soprano sax but, of course, a Tarogato. The owner needs me to make a mouthpiece for it, which roughly resembles a clarinet mouthpiece, as it fits into the instrument and not over it similar to the soprano. However, what is a Tarogato I can hear you asking? Originally a Hungarian/ Rumanian instrument steeped in folk law and when played with its original double reed certainly frightened the hell out of ones enemy. However, a revival of folk instruments by Hungarian musicians about 1890 saw it changed to using a mouthpiece and single reed, thus producing a much warmer sound without the ‘serial killers’ character.

There is a family of these instruments, such as tenors and basses, all producing this marked warm woody tone that resembles a deep male voice that has just won the lottery: but I doubt if one would ever see these instruments except in a museum. Everyday brings unusual requests and a mouthpiece specialists work is always on the verge of either ‘eurika’ or ‘valium’. But while today’s request is particularly interesting, I will never forget the request for a mouthpiece with a specialised raised portion on the beak as the player needed extra support for his false teeth. We aim to please at all times.

Anton Weinberg 20/4/10