The Taragot is a Eastern European derivative of the Saxophone. According to London-based group Eliznik, it shouldn't be confused with a Tarogato (or Toroksip), which they say is actually a double-reed shawm.
According to them, the Taragot was invented in around 1865 by instrument maker J.Schunda, working in Budapest.
There again, according to Costica Olan (a Member of the Taraf of Caransebes), it was designed by a Mr Stowasser in Budapest in 1890. mondomix carries some rather nice audio sample.
So, will we ever know? One thing is for certain, and that is that it post-dates Adolphe Sax's invention of the Saxophone (around 1842).
Clariboles and Company have a rather nice page dedicated to the Tarogato, which includes facsimilies of the patent applications by both Stowasser and Schunda, which seem to imply that Stowasser filed his application a whole 2 days before Schunda!
Clarinet & Flute makers Hammerschmidt & Söhne GmbH still make a Tarogato. Old man Hammerschmidt used to make them for Stowasser. Reputed to cost around 3000 Euro. Contact details on my links page.
Mine, strictly speaking, isn't actually a taragot either - Olivier Glet, who made it calls it a wooden saxophone (saxo en bois). You can find their contact details on my links page.
So, here we go: A bumper list of Taragot resources gleaned from various places on the Internet.
- Thanks to Marc Bueds for leeting me know the address of R. von Vittorelli a Begian taragot maker: 127, Rue du Cerisier, B1470 Court St. Etienne. Belgium. TEL 067/771271
- Eleventh Muse's Taragot resources page, including some fantastic audio samples. You simply have to listen to Dumitru Farcas and Luca Novac!
The site also has 3 small video clips (1x Gheorghe Popa, 2x Luca Novac).
- Stephen Fox custom-made clarinets, Ontario, Canada.
- Bruno Salenson, instrument maker, claims to make Taragots, and something he calls a Saxobois (wooden Saxophone), which resembles the Saxo en Bois made by Hervieux Glet.
- Lark in the Morning Used to sell German-made Grenadilla-wood Taragots. My guess is that these were by Hammerschmidt & Söhne. This page also includes some weird-looking Bamboo Saxophones. Anybody know what they sound like?
- On a trip to Romania in the late 1980's, I bought several records by Dumitru Farcas undoubtedly one of the foremost exponents.
- The Museum of Music History in Budapest has a Tarogato by Jozsef Schunda. There's a picture of it amongst those at the bottom of this page.
- Tarogato.hu the web site of Instrument maker József Tóth and mechanical engineer János Barcza contains some interesting history of the taragot. Plus they are available to purchase.
- Hungarian Online Resources has a nice page dedicated to the Taragot, with photos
I use Vandoren #3 Sopranino Sax reeds. Buy them online from Reeds Direct In Cambridge, England.
And now a load of Taragot pictures!