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Annotated Checklist of Ophicleides
The Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection of Brass Instruments

NMM 10789. Ophicleide in C, probably Germany or Austria, ca. 1850

NMM 10789.  Ophicleide in C, probably Germany or Austria, ca. 1850.  Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection, 2004.
Maker's mark on ophicleide

Embossed within signet-ring-sized circle on garland, to be read from the rim: JVB

Three-part (descending tubing, bow, ascending bell), U-shaped brass body. Overlapping tab seam (width of tabs ca. 2 mm; at the flaring part, 2 mm apart; at the conical part, 10 mm apart). Nürnberg rim, wire embossed with dot pattern. Ferrules with engraved and impressed lines.

Flat, round key heads with some remains of light brown felt pads (presumably not original); thick tone-hole rims with borders soldered to body; keys pivot in tube on two pillars on T-shaped foot-plate. Brass leaf springs, touching the foot-plate extension, riveted to key shanks.

Back of NMM 10789

Nine keys in the following order (related to C-tuning, counted from the bell): B1 (open key, index finger/left hand); C-sharp (closed key, middle finger/left); D (closed key, thumb/left); D-sharp (closed key, ring finger/left); E (closed key, thumb/right); F (closed key, little finger/right); G (closed key, ring finger/right); A (closed key, middle finger/right); B-flat (closed key, index finger/right).

Accessories:  Single-coiled brass crook serving as mouthpiece receiver.

Sounding length:  2323 mm (including crook); internal diameter, receiver of crook: 13.2 mm; internal diameter, receiver minimum (at ca. 32): 12 mm; bell diameter: 197 mm.

This ophicleide follows the early French model, patented by Halary (Jean Hilaire Asté) in 1821, with flat key heads and a single-coil crook without tuning slide. However, some features, like the Nürnberg bell rim and the thick tone hole rims remind one of an ophicleide by Joseph Meinlschmidt, Vienna, after 1866, in the Leipzig Musikinstrumentenmuseum, so this instrument might be of German/Austrian origin.

Lit.:  Sabine K. Klaus, "Found in the Sunny South:  A Trumpet by Johann Carl Kodisch, Imperial City of Nürnberg, After 1681," National Music Museum Newsletter 32, No. 1 (February 2005), pp. 4-5.

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Most recent update: March 8, 2014

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