Station: [10] Brass Instruments and Cornettos

We have a rousing welcome from trombones and trumpets for you at this stop. But at the same time, we’d like to draw your attention to the ornate trombone from the 1920s. It came from the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra and with support from the local savings bank, we were able to take possession of it for our museum in the very early days. This metal beauty once graced the concert hall and now graces our museum.

Other instruments on display here include old post horns and cornetti (sometimes called cornetts or zinks). A cornetto looks like a conical flute, but it’s blown through a cup mouthpiece, like a trumpet. The display includes various different shapes, both straight and curved. The cornetto is regarded as a brass instrument, although it’s generally made of clay with a wooden mouthpiece – or alternately of wood, covered in pitch, like the wooden trumpets in the showcase. Brass was reserved for the nobility at that time. Common people had to make do with other materials if they wanted to imitate the sound of brass instruments.

The cornetto sounds almost like a trumpet, but not quite as solemn as its brass counterpart. It was the instrument of the common people, who were not permitted to play brass instruments. Those were regarded as national emblems and were played during hunts, by postilions, by the military and by heralds.

The serpentine, a cornetto with a snake-like shape, is a bass instrument and the largest of all the cornettos. The reason for the meandering shape is to make it easier for players to reach the finger holes. This particular serpentine is a modern instrument made of plastic. In the past, it would have been made of clay or cast iron.

The large tuba is an original from just before the Second World War. It once belonged to the Lissberg firefighters’ band. In the photograph, you can see the band in its original line-up with its instruments – including the tuba on display here.

All depictions: © Dagmar Trüpschuch