What musical instrument plays in this commercial?

A friend is an accomplished musician and every week I try to come up with an interesting musical trivia question for him. I was looking for the largest wind instrument to see if he knew it. That seems to be the sub-contrabass saxophone. Only a handful have been made, and only in the past few years at that. (They are about $35,000 if you want one).

Then along comes this “Throne” commercial for the Infiniti QX-80. It is just dominated by the magnificent blast from some bass instrument. What is playing this melody?

What is the lowest note it plays? It would be helpful if someone knew it in Hz as well. I’m an engineer, not a musician. Can’t relate to that do-re-me stuff.


Definitely a synth.

The lowest note it plays is F2(87.31Hz).

Really? It’s not a giant tuba or something?


That is the synthiest synth that ever synthed.

Well, whatever it is, I would like to arrange for it to play whenever I enter the room. Especially at restaurants.


Bass Saxophone here I believe.

Didn’t read the OP? He links to the wiki article for the subcontrabass saxophone, which looks to be at least twice as big and even lower.

Hm. It would be 23 feet if straightened out. So that could count as technically the largest. But curled up, less difficult to haul around than an alphorn or a trembita.

Pretty sure that’s a Baritone Sax in the Video. Sax player I worked with had a Bass Sax he would wheel out (literally) once in a while. It was near 5’ tall and did have a little wheel on the ‘U’ bend of the bell for support on the floor. :cool:

Nope, that’s a bass sax.

Here’s a nice picture of the sax family, with the largest being the contrabass, bass sax (as seen in that Vampire Weekend clip) next, and baritone sax next to that.

Is there a linear diagram that shows the whole range of notes played by insturments and labels the notes for us musical dummies? I have no idea what F2 means. My guess from the context is 2 octaves below middle C?


The lowest note on a piano is A0, 27.5 Hz. The next white note is B0, but the next white note up from that is C1. (The octave numbering starts at C). So F2 would be the second lowest F note you can play on a standard 88-key piano. (There is at least one model of piano that has more lower keys, a Bosendorfer that starts at C0.)

But, yes, it works out that F2 is two Fs below middle C. Middle C is C4. The F below it is F3. The F below that is F2.

This is kind of a mess to read, but here’s one.

I’ll also point out that often (and likely in this chart), “ranges” are defined (inelegantly by me) as “easiest and most standard ranges play in, and guidelines for orchestration,” and not necessarily by limitations of the physical instrument.

For example, that chart gives B5 as an upper limit for the trumpet, which represents a range that all/most highly skilled classical musicians should be able to play (and play in tune with each other). But, you can absolutely make the trumpet sound higher than that. If you want a wide variety of orchestras to be able to play your pieces accurately and beautifully, you might want to use that top range judiciously, and not go above it. There are plenty of examples, though, of literature that goes as high as Eb6 on the trumpet.
Still, standard guidelines are that the trumpet’s top range is C6.

omg the guy in the subcontrabass sax Wikipedia article is this guy I know, Todd. hahaha

FWIW when I heard the sounds in the Infiniti commercial it sounded completely synth to me, too. There are too many high ends in the sound to be produced by any of the low saxes. I would consider the sound to be a synthesized group of trombones, if based on anything analog.

The song begins with the low note A[sub]1[/sub], 55Hz. The lowest note I hear is D[sub]1[/sub] below the A, which would be 36.71Hz.

Since we are approaching the limits of human hearing, not to mention the limits of audio reproducing equipment and harmonics abound, it’s possible that those notes are actually an octave higher or lower. Or, on laptop speakers, 2 octaves higher.

My setup is pretty good, and these numbers came from an evaluation on my system, using JBL 4311 speakers.

And yes, this is undoubtedly a synthesized sound.

Thanks, that’s perfect! Got it saved to my desktop for reference. When you save it the background is white instead of blue, even better.