[Wire to the Axis]

[Wire to the Axis]

Date: unknown
Creator: Artzybasheff, Boris, 1899-1965.
Description: A serpent made of metal wears a helmet with a swastika on it. The serpent has long tail, sharp teeth, and a long snout. Smoke billows in background. Metal beams in a "V" formation appear to approach the serpent from the upper left area of the poster.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Serpent and Ophicleide as Instruments of Romantic Color in Selected Works by Mendelssohn, Berlioz and Wagner

The Serpent and Ophicleide as Instruments of Romantic Color in Selected Works by Mendelssohn, Berlioz and Wagner

Date: December 2006
Creator: Morgan, Richard Sanborn
Description: Traditional scholarship has stated that the serpent and ophicleide (as well as their successor, the tuba) were developed and added to the standard orchestra to add a bass voice to the brass, allowing a tonal compass to match a similar downward expansion in the strings and woodwinds. A closer reading of the earliest scores calling for these instruments reveals a more coloristic purpose, related to timbre as much as to compass. Indeed, the fact that composers rarely wrote for serpent and ophicleide makes two points: it proves them to be inadequate choices as a brass bass, and when they were called for, they had an expressive, often descriptive purpose. Despite his conservative musical education supervised by Carl Friedrich Zelter, the seventeen-year-old Mendelssohn, under the influence of A. B. Marx, used the Corno inglese di basso, an upright version of the serpent, in his Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream to give a more rustic flavor to Bottom's ass-braying. Even when the English bass horn functioned as a bass voice, it was playing in contexts that were descriptive, where it often demonstrated its musical inadequacy. Berlioz's descriptive writing for the serpent and ophicleide are well known. A remarkable feature which Symphonie ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries