ophicleide (ŏfˈĭklĪd) [key] [Gr., = serpent with keys], brass wind musical instrument of relatively wide conical bore, largest of the keyed bugles; invented in 1817 by Jean-Hilaire Asté of Paris. It had from 8 to 11 keys and a full, loud tone; since its intonation was deficient, however, it was soon displaced in the orchestra by the bass tuba. Many composers scored for it before the tuba was available.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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