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Percussion Instruments in MIMEd

TitlePercussion Instruments in MIMEd
DescriptionThis division of the Collection includes drums and other percussion instruments of Western cultural origin, and consists of over 230 instruments plus 90 beaters or pairs of beaters. This is one of the most comprehensive collections of percussion instruments in Britain. The collection of tuned percussion instruments is very wide, with representatives of most of the types to be found, including a very early example of the vibraphone. Other types are glockenspiels, the tubaphone, and a tiny glass glockenspiel. The drums include the main types used in British orchestral and band music and include examples from the mid 18th to the late 20th centuries. The instruments include a number used professionally in the long playing career of James Blades, by the gifted musician and author Andrew Shivas (1922-1996), and the drums probably acquired by Sir Samuel Hellier (1736-1784) for orchestral use at Wombourne, Staffordshire. The timpani include examples of the traditional hand-tuned kettledrums (used commonly by most orchestras until the 1960s or later), several models of single-handle tuned drums deriving from the invention of Cornelius Ward (1837), and some of the first pedal timpani used in Britain, including a pair used by James Bradshaw at Glyndebourne and elsewhere. Three types of bass drums are represented: the earliest are military type drums (long drums) in which the depth of the drum shell is equal to or greater than the diameter. Of the second type are the rope tensioned military marching band drums, with the drum depth much less than the diameter. The third type represented is the screw tensioned bass drum typically used in early drum kits and orchestras. Single headed ‘gong’ drums are also present fall into this third category. Many of this group are marked on their rims giving evidence of clamped attachments such as pedal beaters and other musical accessories. The snare drums in the collection fall into two broad categories: rope tensioned military type side drums which were used with a shoulder sling and played both in marching bands and also for military signalling purposes, and the shallower snare drums in which the depth is much less than the diameter. The greater number of the latter category will have been used in orchestras or dance band kits, floor mounted on stands. Tambourines are well represented, ranging from the large eighteenth-century military band instruments, via many types of orchestral or dance band instrument, to examples of simple ‘educational’ instruments. The core of this division of the Collection was acquired by the Reid Professor of Music in the 1850s. Some further items have come from the Glen Collection, the Ross Collection, which was assembled by the Andrew Rosses Senior and Junior, proprietors of the firm of J. & R. Glen up to 1978, the Blades Collection, and the collection of Andrew Shivas.
CustodianRobert Glen (1835-1911); James Blades (1901-1999); Andrew Shivas (1922-1996); Andrew Ross Sen.; Andrew Ross Jnr.; Professor John Donaldson (1789-1865)
Custodial HistorySome items were purchased by the Reid Professor of Music in the 1850s, for which some of the accounts survive; items from the Glen and Ross Collections were purchased in 1983; the James Blades Collection was partly purchased in 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1989 and partly donated in the same years, and in 1992; items from Andrew Shivas were partly given in 1993 and partly received by bequest in 1996. Further items on loan.
Parent Collection MIMEd