Contrabass ophicleide. The ophicleide is a keyed brass instrument similar to the tuba. It is a conical-bore keyed instrument belonging to the bugle family and has a similar shape to the sudrophone. The ophicleide was invented in 1817 and patented in 1821 by French instrument maker Jean Hilaire Asté (also known as Halary or Haleri) as an extension to the keyed bugle or Royal Kent bugle family. It was eventually succeeded by the tuba.