Serpent in C

Catalogue number: 8.5

Original name: Serpent in C.

Type or system: Three keys.

Maker: Unknown.

Place of origin: England, c.1820-40.

Overall size: 745mm.

Sounding length: 2206mm (without crook).

Diameter of crook receiver: 24.5mm.

Technical description: Wooden body, covered with leather; three metal stays; six finger-holes bushed in ivory.

Three brass keys mounted on brass saddles, springs attached to the key: B, C sharp and F sharp.

Faults: Main body broken at first bend from mouthpiece due to rotten wood. Serpents often went rotten from the inside and broke at the first bend due to a build-up of moisture from playing and no water key to release it. Crook missing.

General usage: Probably a military instrument (smaller loops to facilitate better finger position when standing up).

Illustration references: See below.

Previous owner: Sir John Holder. Donated to Birmingham School of Music, 1904.

Previous collection numbers: A and B: Item 59.

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