Wacky Instruments at the Met

While we were in New York a while back I had the opportunity to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the very first time. Suffice it to say, it’s an overwhelming and wonderful place. We went specifically to see the new collection of cubist paintings, but you can’t help but gawk at everything you pass by, including Medieval armory, Roman sculpture, Egyptian mummies or…wacky musical instruments.

Here is a selection:

French Horn

Bass Flugel Horn in Bb 1850-60

This would be a hit at any jam session!

Cornet 1900

Ornate Cornet 1900

This Missenharter cornet is the second one I’ve seen with a serpent encircling the lead pipe which acts as a brace between the lead pipe and the valve cluster. The other one belongs to Sally Kuhns, formerly with the Oregon Symphony. The difference is that the eyes of the serpent on Sally’s are red and the eyes on the one at the Met are green.

Fluegel-Cornet Combo 1890

Flugel-Cornet Combo 1890

What can I say? Where would you play a thing like this?

Bass Clarinet in C 1810

Bass Clarinet in Bb 1860 and C 1810

Serpents are a theme.

Very French Horn, 1850-55

Very French Horn, 1850-55

The craftsmanship of the cloisonné enamel on the bell is spectacular on this horn. Fit for a French king!

Pocket-sized strings

Pocket-sized strings

And last, but not least, super-teeny, playable pocket instruments. I wonder if the sheet music is proportionate!

If you are ever in New York, it’s well worth a visit to the Met.



About randyjmueller

Sr. Instrument Repair technician
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