Morris Steinert Collection of Musical Instruments at Yale

Morris Steinert Collection of Musical Instruments at Yale In addition to preserving and restoring the instruments, the Collection serves as a valuable educational resource for musical life at Yale.
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Located on scenic Hillhouse Avenue, the Morris Steinert Collection of Musical Instruments is home to an extensive collection of rare, unique, and valuable instruments. The museum has regular public visiting hours, and features an annual concert series as well as lectures and demonstrations. Today, the Collection is comprised of nearly one thousand instruments, from ancient to present-day. Amongst

the permanent exhibits is a large gallery of historical keyboard instruments, including elaborately painted harpsichords from the 17th- and 18th-centuries, and a Bechstein grand piano once owned by Wagner. One of the world's largest collections of bells is also housed here, featuring instruments as old as 1500 B.C. Other highlights include violins by Antonio Stradivari and Jakob Stainer, a viol by Pietro Guarneri, and an assortment of curious hybrid and specialty instruments. The annual concert series presents many of today's foremost artists performing in an intimate setting. Recent seasons have included appearances by Steven Isserlis and Robert Levin, Juilliard Baroque, Paul O'Dette and Ellen Hargis, and Tapestry.

07/07/2023
07/07/2023
January 4th is National Trivia Day! In honor of this occasion, who here knows their musical instrument trivia and can id...
01/04/2022

January 4th is National Trivia Day! In honor of this occasion, who here knows their musical instrument trivia and can identify this instrument? Comment below with your best guess!

(Hint: this instrument is not complete)

12/13/2021
There might not be any shortcuts in learning a musical instrument, but that doesn't mean that inventors haven't tried! I...
12/09/2021

There might not be any shortcuts in learning a musical instrument, but that doesn't mean that inventors haven't tried! Invented by Georges Rétif in 1922, the ochydactyl was designed to increase finger agility, independence, flexibility, and strength. The ochydactyl was made by the company Sancoins during the mid- to late 1920s. Their advertisements implied that using this finger-exercising machine for just seven minutes a day could save a pianist one and a half hours of practice a day.

Georges Rétif received a total of four French patents for the ochydactyl and was awarded a US patent posthumously in 1929. The US patent (no. 1720571(A)) states, "Skill in playing musical instruments is acquired only after prolonged practice which endows the performer's fingers with nimbleness, independent action, and strength…The object of the present invention is to replace this long, arduous study which, in the case of students of no great talent, is sometimes without success, by an adaptation of the muscles acquired mechanically and without the exertion of personal attention by means of a mechanical device constraining the finger's to execute, with as great a speed as may be desired, movements analogous to those executed by a performer on the keyboard of his instrument…"

Accession no: 5202.1992
Check out music.yale.edu/browse-collection to see more instruments from the Collection!

In honor of BASTILLE DAY, we wish to call our readers' attention to a military snare drum in the Collection that may dat...
07/14/2021

In honor of BASTILLE DAY, we wish to call our readers' attention to a military snare drum in the Collection that may date from the French Revolution. The sides of the instrument are decorated with the tricolor (red, white, and blue) flag, the red cap of liberty, and fasces. The rims are painted with cross bands of wide red-and-white stripes. The drumheads are made of vellum. There are two gut snares and ten stretchers (likely not original) for adjusting the tension of the ropes. Height: 15.5 in (39.37 cm). Diameter: 16 in (40.64 cm). The Belle Skinner Collection. Accession no. 2001.1960. (Photo: Alex Contreras)

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille (a fortress utilized as a prison) on 14 July 1789 by disgruntled members of the bourgeoisie and peasant classes seeking social, political, and economic reform. One of their mottoes was: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.

The French national anthem, La Marseillaise, embodies these ideals. Shown here is an illustrated version of the anthem that depicts Marianne (the national personification of the French Republic since the French Revolution) and a boy in military uniform marching in step with a cylindrical drum.

In France, this day of remembrance is known as French National Day (Fête nationale) and The Fourteenth of July (Quatorze juillet).

  On July 3rd, instrument maker John Heald (1843–1934) was born! Here are two instruments that he made that are included...
07/03/2021

On July 3rd, instrument maker John Heald (1843–1934) was born! Here are two instruments that he made that are included in the Resounding Brass exhibition.

–Trumpet, ca. 1920, Springfield, Massachusetts, accession no. 3664.1972
–Pocket Cornet, ca. 1895, Springfield, Massachusetts, accession no. 3662.1972
Gifts of William Pendleton in memory of Beatrice S. Pendleton, niece of John Q. Heald

During the mid- to late 19th century, many American brass instrument manufacturers began moving towards the mass production of instruments. Heald, on the other hand, was known as a high quality, though low volume instrument maker during his life, which makes his instruments very rare. Throughout his career, he was awarded many patents for his innovations to brass instruments.

  On June 13th, 1799, French oboist Henri Brod was born! After graduating from the Paris Conservatoire, Brod became a me...
06/13/2021

On June 13th, 1799, French oboist Henri Brod was born! After graduating from the Paris Conservatoire, Brod became a member of the Paris Opera. Like many of his contemporaries, he also composed etudes, salon music, and chamber music for the oboe. He was an instrument builder who made (and assisted with) many innovations to the oboe that still influence oboists today.

Among his innovations, Brod built a straight-bodied English horn, which he referred to as a 'cor anglais moderne.' He also built oboes that extended the range of the instrument down to a B and even a low A, which not only extended the instrument's range, but was also thought to improve the tone quality of the oboe.

In addition to his innovations to the oboe and English horn, Brod invented a gouging machine that assists with making oboe reeds. Even though many non-oboists might not have heard of a gouging machine, the importance of a reliable gouging machine for oboists who make their own reeds cannot be understated!

Shown here are three examples of Brod's instruments at the Collection of Musical Instruments; one oboe (accession no. 3420.1988) and two English horns representing Brod's 'cor anglais moderne' design (acc. nos. 3435.1974 and 3439.1990). Check out music.yale.edu/browse-collection to see more instruments from the Collection!

    On June 7th, 1916, horn player Helen Kotas was born! Pictured here are seven mouthpieces that were owned by Helen Ko...
06/07/2021

On June 7th, 1916, horn player Helen Kotas was born! Pictured here are seven mouthpieces that were owned by Helen Kotas and made by Carl Geyer. These mouthpieces are part of the Resounding Brass exhibition and are on loan to the Collection from Eva Heater, a former student of Helen Kotas.

Helen Kotas (1916–2000) served as principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1941 to 1947. She was raised in Brookfield, Illinois, where she received her musical training from the age of six. Kotas joined the Chicago Civic Orchestra in 1936 and soon became a regular extra with the Chicago Symphony. In 1940, she briefly served in the Pittsburgh Symphony under the direction of Fritz Reiner. When Philip Farkas, principal horn of the Chicago Symphony, left his chair for a position with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1941, Kotas assumed his post and performed as principal horn of Chicago until his return in 1947. She remained as third horn before leaving the Symphony at the end of the 1947–48 season.

  This trombone made by H. N. White was recently donated to the Collection by Alice Crane Linder in memory of Lester R. ...
05/26/2021

This trombone made by H. N. White was recently donated to the Collection by Alice Crane Linder in memory of Lester R. Crane, a jazz trombonist.

Henderson N. White began making "King" model trombones in 1894 with the help of Cleveland-based trombonist Thomas King. "King" became a trade name for White's instruments, and the King line eventually included saxophones, trombones, French horns, trumpets, and other brass instruments. H. N. White instruments were used by many jazz players such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Tommy Dorsey.

For more information about the Collection and its holdings, check out music.yale.edu/browse-collection

05/01/2021

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments has received a major gift from Timothy A. Steinert ’82BA and his wife, Lixia Zhang, that will enable significant enhancements to the Collection and its offerings. Timothy Steinert is the great-great-grandson of Morris Steinert, whose donation of musical instruments to Yale in 1900 established the Collection. With the new gift, the museum will be renamed the Morris Steinert Collection of Musical Instruments. Read about our plans for the Collection, and join us in thanking Timothy and Lixia for their extraordinary generosity.

Read the full announcement: https://music.yale.edu/news/major-gift-renames-yale-collection-musical-instruments-enables-enhancements

  Made by F. Besson between 1905 and 1910, this horn is on loan to the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments from Richa...
04/26/2021


Made by F. Besson between 1905 and 1910, this horn is on loan to the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments from Richard J. Martz for display in the Resounding Brass exhibition.

In the second picture, you will see the elaborate engravings on the bell. At the top of the inscription on the bell, within a banner, is “System Prototype”, which refers to the system of mandrels the Besson company invented in 1858 to make their bells more consistently. The bottom of the inscription shows the awards the Besson company won at international expositions in Paris (1900), St. Louis (1904), and Liège (1905).

For more information about this horn, check out http://www.rjmartz.com/horns/Besson_090/

Instruments lie dormant in the museum’s Gallery of Keyboard Instruments. It has now been over a year since the onset of ...
04/19/2021

Instruments lie dormant in the museum’s Gallery of Keyboard Instruments. It has now been over a year since the onset of COVID-19 forced the closing of the Collection’s doors to the public. Once all fears associated with the spread of the virus have subsided, we hope to be able to share the sounds of historical instruments once again through the resumption of tours, lectures, and our early music concert series.

Even though Antonio Stradivari is best known for his violins, new research shows that Stradivari actually made this saxo...
04/01/2021

Even though Antonio Stradivari is best known for his violins, new research shows that Stradivari actually made this saxophone in 1715 during his ‘golden’ period. While it is unknown how or when Stradivari began making saxophones, it is possible he learned his saxophone building skills from Nicolò Amati. With its beautiful, silvery tone and outstanding craftsmanship, this saxophone is quite the discovery for music historians.

This saxophone is made of brass with mother-of-pearl keys and is pitched in the key of E-flat, all standard characteristics of saxophones made in Cremona, Italy during the 17th and 18th centuries. The golden-orange lacquer is similar in color to the varnish that Stradivari was known for using on his violins. Even though the inscription on the bell clearly reads “MADE BY C. G. Conn Ltd”, a closer examination reveals many common Stradivari trademarks.

  Today is the 88th day of 2021, which means it is international piano day! Here are just a few pianos from the Yale Col...
03/29/2021

Today is the 88th day of 2021, which means it is international piano day! Here are just a few pianos from the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments.

Johann Jakob Könnicke, Vienna, ca. 1795
Ignaz Bösendorfer, Vienna, 1828
Alpheus Babcock, Boston, ca. 1820
John Broadwood & Sons, London, ca. 1842
Steinway & Sons, New York City, 1864

More information about these instruments and audio samples can be found on our online database: https://music.yale.edu/browse-collection

Stuart Isacoff covering music museums during the pandemic features Yale’s Collection. WSJ article: The Staying Inside Gu...
03/14/2021

Stuart Isacoff covering music museums during the pandemic features Yale’s Collection.
WSJ article: The Staying Inside Guide: Seen and Heard

The online collections of music museums and schools offer the opportunity to meet the acquaintance of Cajun accordions, buzzing mirlitons and the world’s oldest piano.

Strike up the band and shout, “Happy 163rd birthday to the inimitable Frank Holton!”Rising to national prominence as the...
03/10/2021

Strike up the band and shout, “Happy 163rd birthday to the inimitable Frank Holton!”

Rising to national prominence as the principal trombone player in John Philip Sousa’s band, Holton would go on to develop a slide oil “the slipperiest combination ever made by hand of man” and eventually open a shop to produce his own line of brass instruments. Business boomed, as Holton used his contacts and reputation as a player to receive endorsements for his instruments from well-known musicians including Vincent Bach, Arthur Pryor, Renold Schilke, Maynard Ferguson, and members of the Chicago Symphony. Holton’s instruments would become the favorites of professionals and small-town bands alike and their colorful testimonials were featured in his Holton’s Harmony Hints catalog. After leaving a large impact in the design and manufacture of American brass instruments in the first half of the twentieth century, the Holton company was eventually sold to Leblanc in 1964.

The Collection holds a number of brass instruments made in the early days of the Holton Co., some of which are a part of our RESOUNDING BRASS exhibition. More information about Holton’s instruments can be found on our website: https://music.yale.edu/collection

Cornet made ca. 1913 and given in memory of Sybil I. Gordon by Dr. and Mrs. Martin E. Gordon & Family Acc. no. 3677.1977.

Tuba in CC made ca. 1910, a gift of Dr. Eli Newberger Acc. No. 3684.2002.

Happy International Women’s Day!Over a century before the first international women’s day was celebrated in Austria, a w...
03/08/2021

Happy International Women’s Day!

Over a century before the first international women’s day was celebrated in Austria, a woman (b Augsburg, 2 Jan 1769) struck out on her own, independently from her father and brother (renowned piano builders in their own right) and in 1802 established an Austrian piano firm in her own name: ‘Nannette Streicher née Stein’.

Her husband, a music professor in Vienna, left his job to join her in business. Her firm became one of the most important in Europe, making pianos for Weber, Beethoven, Hummel, and Brahms. Her home was a center of Viennese musical activity.

The collector Morris Steinert believed this piano to have been loaned by her to Beethoven at his summer retreat in Baden; she and Beethoven were close friends at the time this instrument was built. She died in 1833 and is buried opposite Beethoven.

  On February 21st, 2020, the Collection opened its newest exhibition, 'Resounding Brass: Conch Shells to Silver Trumpet...
02/21/2021

On February 21st, 2020, the Collection opened its newest exhibition, 'Resounding Brass: Conch Shells to Silver Trumpets,' to the general public. There are 54 instruments on display, including loans from institutions such as the Yale University Art Gallery and the Peabody Museum and individual collectors such as Dr. Thomas P. Anderson, Eva M. Heater, Stephen Herseth and the family of Adolph "Bud" Herseth, and Richard J. Martz.

The exhibition traces the development of brass instruments from early forms of signal horns to modern brass instruments. Shown here are just several highlights from the exhibition: a 15th-century hunting bugle made of gold and silver; a silver presentation keyed bugle made by E. G. Wright; a centuries-old cornetto, serpent, and ophicleide; and three French horns, each with a different type of valve system.

Also on display are four photographs from Harold Shapiro's 'Luminous Instruments' series, which depict musical instruments in motion. Mr. Shapiro was also generous enough to photograph the exhibition during its opening.

Even though the Collection is currently closed to the public, you can browse through more instruments from the Resounding Brass exhibition using the Collection's online catalog at https://music.yale.edu/browse-collection.

Here is the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments after yesterday’s blizzard, but did you know that the town of East Ha...
02/02/2021

Here is the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments after yesterday’s blizzard, but did you know that the town of East Hampton, Connecticut (just 30 miles away from New Haven) used to be referred to as Belltown?

These sleigh bells were made by William Barton, who established his foundry in East Hampton, Connecticut in the early 19th century. Barton taught many apprentices the trade of bell making, many of whom started their own bell making companies nearby. Because East Hampton was home to so many professional bell makers, the town earned its nicknames, “Belltown” and “Jingle Town.”

Sleigh bells were attached to the harness on a horse to signal the arrival and departure of a horse-drawn sleigh and also to alert pedestrians of the sleigh. Sleighs moving over snow-packed streets could be difficult for pedestrians to hear and the sleighs were difficult to stop if someone were in its path.

Accession no. 1230.1972 from the Robyna Neilson Ketchum Collection. For more information about the Collection and its holdings, check out music.yale.edu/collection.

Silver Bells… Siilllver BellsI bet you were able to sing what comes next! Artists from Bing Crosby to Michael Bublé, Ell...
12/22/2020

Silver Bells… Siilllver Bells

I bet you were able to sing what comes next! Artists from Bing Crosby to Michael Bublé, Ella Fitzgerald to John Denver, and pretty much everyone in between have recorded this beloved holiday tune. Silver bells are found in church handbell choirs, held by Salvation Army ringers, and will often ornament Christmas trees. We at the Collection thought we would share with you a few silver bells of our own. Each bell was made in the 19th century and is a part of the Robyna Neilson Ketchum Collection. For more information on these bells, please visit our website https://music.yale.edu/browse-collection

  On December 19th, 1880, James Hembray Wilson was born. Pictured here is his trumpet (accession no. 3686.2005), a ‘King...
12/19/2020

On December 19th, 1880, James Hembray Wilson was born. Pictured here is his trumpet (accession no. 3686.2005), a ‘King’ Liberty No. 2 Silvertone model with a sterling silver bell made by H. N. White in Cleveland, Ohio. On the bell are elaborate art-deco-style engravings with gold vermeil inlay. Also shown are Wilson’s baton and trumpet case (acc. nos. 5109.2005, 5110.2005).

James Hembray Wilson (1880–1961) was a trumpeter and cornetist who worked for most of his career at Huntsville Normal School, now called Alabama A&M University. During his tenure, Wilson served in many different capacities. He taught band, rhetoric, and bible study; sponsored the school’s first YMCA and sorority; and also served as the University’s Postmaster, bookkeeper, Financial Secretary, and eventually became the first African-American Treasurer of the school.

During Wilson’s time at Huntsville Normal School, he influenced generations of students through all the classes he taught and the administrative roles he performed. He worked under the first four presidents at the college, but he also influenced the school and its students through both world wars, the Great Depression, and even into the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century. Today, on Alabama A&M’s campus is the Alabama Black Archives Research Center & Museum, which in 1990 was dedicated in Wilson’s memory. For more information about Wilson, see: ‘With Trumpet and Bible: The Illustrated Life of James Hembray Wilson,’ written by Frank Tirro, a former dean of the Yale School of Music. For more information about the RESOUNDING BRASS exhibition, check out music.yale.edu/collection.

This rare "four in one" cornet was made by Conn & Dupont in Elkhart, Indiana, ca. 1878. It is on loan to the Collection ...
12/07/2020

This rare "four in one" cornet was made by Conn & Dupont in Elkhart, Indiana, ca. 1878. It is on loan to the Collection for display in the Resounding Brass exhibition from Thomas P. Anderson. C.G. Conn and Eugene Dupont received their patent for the "four in one" cornet in 1878, about a year and a half after forming their business partnership.

C.G. Conn began playing the cornet as a child. After serving in the Civil War, he learned several different crafts, including plating and engraving silverware and also making rubber stamps. By 1874, he started making rubber-rimmed mouthpieces for the cornet. Conn likely began making these mouthpieces after suffering a severe laceration to his lip, which was said to have happened during an altercation between him and one of his fellow bandmates in the Elkhart Silver Cornet Band. In 1875, Conn met Eugene Dupont, who was a brass instrument maker and a former employee of Henry Distin. After only three years, Dupont and Conn dissolved their partnership, which left Conn as the company's owner until his retirement.

This instrument is pitched in the key of E-flat, but it can be easily transformed to play in C, B-flat, and A by adding different leadpipes and adjusting three tuning slides accordingly. These four keys were commonly used by cornetists of this era for playing in church groups, brass bands, orchestras, and also for solo music.

Check out collection.yale.edu for more information about the Collection and its holdings.

This cornopean was generously loaned to the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments from Thomas P. Anderson to display in...
11/22/2020

This cornopean was generously loaned to the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments from Thomas P. Anderson to display in the Resounding Brass exhibition. It was made by Charles Matthew Pace in London, ca. 1850.

This cornopean has a number of unique features, and the inscription on its bell helps tell this instrument’s story. It is one of only several cornopeans that Pace made with ‘Berlin-style valves’, which were designed to be very wide to avoid sharp bends in the tubing. It also has a tuning slide that allows it to be played in the keys of G, Ab, A, or Bb. This tuning slide design was registered on January 26, 1847, and is one of many functional designs that came following the Designs Act of 1843 in Great Britain, which allowed for ‘useful’ designs to be protected for three years.

Check out collection.yale.edu for more information about the Collection.

Hunting horns, similar to the one seen here (accession no. 3605.1957), were popularized by King Louis XIV for use in the...
11/18/2020

Hunting horns, similar to the one seen here (accession no. 3605.1957), were popularized by King Louis XIV for use in the Royal Hunt in France during the 17th century. These hunting horns have a very long and narrow bore so that the player could play more notes higher in the harmonic series than they previously could with hunting horns made with a shorter and wider bore. Because this style of hunting horn is so long, it needed to be coiled in a loop so that the player could easily carry it over their shoulder while riding on horseback.

This model has three and a half coils and is known as the demi-trompe or trompe d'Orléans, named for the Count of Orléans, who commissioned a horn of this design in the early 1830s. The Périnet company made this particular horn while they were located at 31 rue Copernic in Paris during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. To see more instruments from the Resounding Brass exhibition and more information about the Collection and its holdings, check out collection.yale.edu.

This cornet is an early example of a Three Star Cornet made by Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory, ca. 1880. Henry Es...
11/13/2020

This cornet is an early example of a Three Star Cornet made by Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory, ca. 1880. Henry Esbach patented his Three Star Cornet in 1879, and this rotary-valved cornet is only one of eight known examples made in Esbach’s original patent design, made just before the piston-valved versions.

Henry (Heinrich) Esbach immigrated to the United States from Saxony in 1848. Soon after, he began working for the brass instrument maker, E.G. Wright in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1869, the firms of E.G. Wright and Graves, which were both based in Boston, merged to become Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory. BMIM soon became a leading band instrument manufacturer in the United States, but were probably most famous for their Three Star Cornets. Engraved on this cornet just underneath the three stars is the Latin phrase “Ne Plus Ultra,” which literally translates to “no more beyond,” and in this context means “none better” or “the ultimate.”

Accession No. 3663.1980

MASQUERADE AT COURT. This scene on the front of the museum's double virginal by Hans Ruckers, Antwerp, 1591, depicts two...
10/26/2020

MASQUERADE AT COURT. This scene on the front of the museum's double virginal by Hans Ruckers, Antwerp, 1591, depicts two couples colorfully clad in masks and costumes.

They may be actors entertaining noble members of society during an evening's MASQUE or dramatic presentation. Or, they may be aristocrats themselves relishing their disguises as they engage in the elegant gestures of courtly dance. Whatever the circumstances, their mood is merry.

The woman at left is clothed as a cook, complete with gray dress, full white apron, soft billowy cap, and wooden spoon. Her es**rt may be posing as a peasant or agricultural worker, given the straw sombrero on his head.

The man at right wears the apparel of an Ottoman sultan--his turban plump, his coat heavily adorned with multiple button closures. One wonders if his black moustache and beard are false or true. His partner is dressed in smooth, upper-class silks or satins of the day. She sports an ostrich plume in her hair (or wig), wears a long cloak, and carries a delicate fan. Her full, white lace collar, or ruff, is representative of the more ornate, pleated type worn by men and women of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

"The MASQUE was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio ... A masque involved music and dancing, singing and acting, within an elaborate stage design, in which the architectural framing and costumes might be designed by a renowned architect, to present a deferential allegory flattering to the patron." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masque

Double Virginal / Moeder en Kind
Mother (8-foot) and Child (4-foot)
By Hans Ruckers, Antwerp, 1591
The Belle Skinner Collection
Acc. no. 4870.1960

An excellent example of colonial Yankee craftsmanship, this instrument is one of just a few surviving violins by the ear...
10/16/2020

An excellent example of colonial Yankee craftsmanship, this instrument is one of just a few surviving violins by the early American maker Peter Young. Today we think of violinmakers as very specialized craftsmen, though during Young’s time it was common for American makers to begin as artisans of another trade. In Young’s case, he started out as a joiner.
Young began advertising himself as a violinmaker in the 1770s where he lived and worked in Philadelphia. In the 18th century, the city served as a port of entry for many German immigrants who then comprised the largest non-English, European ethnic group. The German influence in the cultural world of Philadelphia was substantial and long-lasting.

In a 2006 interview with NPR, historian David Schoenbaum calls the violin practically a household fixture in America as far back as colonial times. Played by farmers, merchants, and statesmen alike, “I can’t think of a more democratic instrument than the violin.” The distinguishing features of this instrument include a deep red varnish, a high arching top and back, and small, blunt corners. While the violin is based on a well-established European design, this instrument is clearly imbued with a rugged American style.

Violin by Peter Young
Philadelphia, 1778
Acc. No. 4725.1962
Gift of Hugh W. Long

This bronze   (Collection no. 1135.1972) is modeled after Edith   (1865-1915), a British nurse trained at the London Roy...
10/12/2020

This bronze (Collection no. 1135.1972) is modeled after Edith (1865-1915), a British nurse trained at the London Royal Hospital, several blocks away from the Bellfoundry. She was serving as matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels when World War I began, and then joined the Red Cross, where she treated soldiers of all nationalities. On August 5, 1915, German authorities arrested her for assisting some 200 captured Allied solders from the hospital to neutral Holland. After nine weeks of solitary confinement and a trial, she was executed by firing squad – October 12, 1915. Her case received sympathetic worldwide press coverage, and her legacy is commemorated by a statue near Trafalgar Square.

Cavell's hands are manacled to indicate that she is a prisoner of war. An inscription reading "DEPOSE" on back of skirt suggests French manufacture.

Learn more about Edith Cavell and the archive: https://edithcavell.org.uk

To learn more about this bell and other instruments, browse: https://music.yale.edu/browse-collection

This trombone is displayed in the Collection's RESOUNDING BRASS exhibition. It is a dual-bore tenor "American Standard" ...
10/11/2020

This trombone is displayed in the Collection's RESOUNDING BRASS exhibition. It is a dual-bore tenor "American Standard" model made by Henry Lehnert, ca. 1880. Dual-bore refers to the inner slide, which has two slightly different diameters, the lower being the larger of the two. "American Standard" is the trade name Lehnert used while living in Philadelphia. Both the instrument and its mouthpiece are stamped "79".

Henry Lehnert immigrated to the United States by around 1860 from the town of Freiburg, Saxony. Even though Saxony was the home of many instrument builders, the town of Freiburg was not too close to any instrument manufacturing hubs, so it is unknown whether Henry Lehnert had any previous instrument building experience before moving to the United States. He first moved to Boston where he may have worked for other well-known instrument makers such as E.G. Wright or at the Graves factory before moving to Philadelphia by 1867 to open his own shop. While in Philadelphia, Lehnert created a line of military instruments called the "Centennial Model" to commemorate the United States' 100th anniversary. These horns were designed to equally distribute their weight on both of the player's shoulders instead of just one shoulder like a helicon or an over-the-shoulder saxhorn. Lehnert received a patent for his design in 1875, which was in time to publicly display his "Centennial Model" instruments at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876.

The second picture shown was taken by local photographer Harold Shapiro from his Luminous Instruments series. The Luminous Instruments series was inspired by the Leonard Bernstein phrase, "Music is movement...". In this picture, Mr. Shapiro uses a long exposure time to capture a bass trombone in motion.

This omnitonic horn was built by French instrument maker, Pierre Louis Gautrot, ca. 1847. It is on loan to the Collectio...
10/05/2020

This omnitonic horn was built by French instrument maker, Pierre Louis Gautrot, ca. 1847. It is on loan to the Collection from horn collector, Richard J. Martz. Gautrot designed this horn with "taps" that can be turned to change which key the horn plays in. These taps redirect the air to pass through what are essentially built-in crooks, which meant the player wouldn't have to change crooks between pieces or carry a large set of extra crooks. On this horn, there are three rotary taps marked with either an O or F, for 'ouvert' or 'fermé' (open or closed).

First patented in 1818 by J.B. Dupont (the same year as the first patent for valved brass instruments), omnitonic horns still required hand-stopping techniques to play a fully chromatic scale. Many orchestral players from that era preferred the timbre differences that resulted from hand-stopping certain notes. Gautrot's company continued to make omnitonic horns until the 1870s, in addition to a large inventory of valved brass instruments. The third picture shown here is Gautrot's last model of the omnitonic horn.

Stamped on the bell is the coat of arms of Louis-Philippe, "King of the French" from 1830–1848, which suggests that this horn was built during that period. During the mid-1840s, Gautrot and many other French instrument makers competed against Adolphe Sax for large government contracts. Gautrot may have hoped French military bands would continue using his instruments, but instead, the usual military band instrumentation was replaced by mostly saxhorns in 1845, which Adolphe Sax had the sole rights to produce. While this new French military band instrumentation was overturned just a few years later, it could have left Gautrot with a larger than expected inventory. Not only that, this horn was stamped with the coat of arms of King Louis-Philippe, who was abdicated in 1848, and Gautrot may have looked to export all his instruments bearing that stamp. Also stamped is "I. Charpentier à Mexico", who may have been Gautrot's agent in Mexico.

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With new resources and a new name, the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments will expand its curriculum
The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is closed through April 15 due to concerns related to COVID-19. We will reassess the situation and provide an update as the situation changes.
looking forward to visiting the collection, Christina!
"Luminous Instruments" opening at CAW next Monday! Below, an article on the "Resounding Brass" exhibit at Yale Collection of Musical Instruments and Harold's inspiration for this energetic, musical series.
Mardi Gras is the perfect occasion to celebrate the “Resounding Brass” exhibit at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, which reopens today after renovations.

The exhibit's horns range from ancient conch trumpets from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, to instruments created by renowned makers and owned by great performers.

The Collection's concert series resumes April 1, and its holding of keyboard instruments is also accessible to the public. Read more: https://bit.ly/3a9Rib7

📷: Surbhi Bharadwaj ’20