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Bb Bugle

A large unaltered or refurbished single twist brass conical-bored military bugle ca 1860 with bell garland (reinforce), typical of the larger bugles issued and used by both northern and southern bugler-musicians during the American Civil War.  Bugle is 15" long without the "pig-tail" with a bell diameter of 5 5/8". These large mid 19th century bugles were often referred to in military requisition documents as by their French name of "Clarion".  Unlike their modern counterparts, when played, these large conical-bored bugles/clarions produced a very distinctive dark mellow sound/tone, similar to, but even darker of tone then the modern flugelhorn found in today's British-style brass bands.  This example, like many others is equipped with an original detachable "pig-tail" crook.  Based on its construction, pigtail in all likelihood is original to this particular bugle.  When the instrument is "sounded" with it's "pigtail" attached, it produces a tone in the key of B flat.   While the maker and country of origin are anonymous, most of the surviving bugles of this type found today were unmarked.  The majority were imported from Europe (usually Germany) In the early days of the Civil War, when demand for military equipage was greater than the supply, bugles, like other items necessary to equip large armies were in short supply and it was by far cheaper for northern and southern government contractors to import them.

Instrument Notes by Mark Elrod

 

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