" ... The serpent was invented in 1590 by a Frenchman, Edme Guillaume, making it one of the oldest instruments currently in use today. Conceived as the bass member of the cornett family (the group of instruments - including the cornett, bass horn, serpent and ophicleide - that preceded today's modern keyed brass instruments), the serpent immediately found a home accompanying the plainsong of the Church. It became popularized in England in the eighteenth century where in addition to being used in church services, it became the bass of the military wind band.
The serpent has a tone quality unlike any instrument in the modern orchestra. When played loudly, its powerful sound carries easily and with authority; quietly, it blends well with bassoons and voices. But with only six open holes and no keys, the serpent lives up its name in more than just its appearance - it is as treacherous as its namesake from the Garden of Eden. While numerous fingering charts for the serpent have been published, no printed matter can disguise the fact that playing the serpent is an inexact science at best, relying on the steady lip of the performer to get a firm grip on the intonation of any given note. ... " Visit website for more information. (ed.)
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Added on: Mar 08, 2008 | Hits: 1119