Verdi contrabass trombone – DESIDERA E FIGLIadmin
This large and quite outlandish instrument is known as a Verdi contrabass trombone. It is rarely seen by audiences nowadays, but maybe we can change that 😉. [Just making the photos was so much fun!]
The Verdi contrabass trombone is a member of the trombone family and is the largest form of trombone. It functions as a ‘cimbasso’ and this kind of instrument was chosen in 1881 as his preference by Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco VERDI (1813-1901) and others over the tuba because of its greater precision and its ability to mix better with other instruments in the brass section of the orchestra. Verdi would go on to include this instrument in operas such as AIDA or Othello.
The instrument is constructed to play in a seated position and is played vertically. The bell protrudes over the player’s shoulder. This was due to the obvious lack of space in an orchestra pit. This particular Verdi contrabass trombone is stamped with the name DESIDERA E FIGLI. DESIDERA, Leonildo e Figli were listed as musical instrument dealers in Mantova in 1926, and sold all kinds of wind instruments. We believe the instrument was actually made not in Italy, but in the Vogtland region (Germany) … perhaps in Markneukirchen or Graslitz. This is because it features a typical rotary valve mechanism from this area. It is a B-flat instrument and plays at around a=440 Hz.