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Halari 10 Key Ophicleide , c. 1875
Halari 10 Key Ophicleide, c. 1875, made in Paris, nickel plated finish, brass.
This is a rare historically-significant piece: a 10-key ophicleide, made in the Paris shop of Halari (also spelled "Halary," aka Jean-Hilaire Aste), the gentleman who invented the instrument in 1817. Originally conceived as a tenor-bass development of the keyed bugle, the ophicleide was designed to serve as a bass horn alternative to the serpent.
What makes the instrument we're offering so unique is that it has ten keyed tone holes rather than the more prevalent eleven. Technically, ophicleides could range from nine to twelve keys. In fact, Halari showed the instrument as having nine keys in his 1821 patent application, even though the prototype displayed in his shop only had seven.
By the 1840s, the 11-key system became the one favored by most ophicleide players. However, apparently instruments with the other key ranges were still being produced well into the last decades of the 19th century, when the ophicleide was eventually superseded by the bass tuba and euphonium.
The maker's mark is a stamp with a coronet encircling an "H". Below, the emblem reads "DIPLOME D' HONNEUR". This is followed by the legend engraved in cursive: "Halari 6 et 8 rue des Poilevins a' Paris".
Overall length is 38.50 in. (97.8 cm.), 8.875 in. (22.5 cm.) diameter of bell.
In overall fine condition, though, like most extant antique brasswinds, it could probably use some minor restorative work. There are several superficial dents along the windway as well as a repair to the rim of the bell. Very Good + Condition.
Item # 547
This item has been sold.
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