July 11, 2003

Here Be Serpents

Mirabilis has uncovered a site dedicated to a peculiar early instrument called the Serpent. Best of all, the site has instructions for how to build your own serpent sound-alike for about $30 and a weekend.

Posted by Will Duquette at July 11, 2003 10:29 AM

Deb said:

I want one! I saw one of these once back in college and completley forgot about it til now. It's the most bizarre instrument you've ever seen. Maybe I could talk the Husband into making me one--we could use The Son's mouthpiece from his trombone....Hmmmm

Will Duquette said:

I'd be interested myself, except that I haven't the wind needed to play a brass-style instrument. It's why I like recorders--you get a nice tone, and you don't have to work so hard.

Deb said:

I played bassoon where you force all your air into a big long instrument thru two itsy bitsy reeds wired together--it's not so much about wind as diaphragm and lip and cheek muscle control. With bassoon you also had to half hole and needed a really long spread between thumb and pinkie--this monster doesnt seem to require that. The business about lip vibration to get the instrument to sound is interesting. I imagine that would take some getting used to--numb lips and all. ;0)

Will Duquette said:

Yup. That's true for brass instruments in general, I understand.

A recorder, on the other hand, is basically a carefully made whistle--the vibrations are caused purely by the instrument, rather than by your lips.

Of course, a recorder is also much less expressive...