Hear a Serpent

The most common feedback from people who browse the Serpent Website is "where can I hear a Serpent, without buying one of the recordings in the Discography?" In an effort to make it possible for interested individuals to access a Serpent sound bite via the web, this page is provided to link a few sound files.

For this link to work, your computer and browser must be able to automatically access some sort of program that will recognize and play either WAV files or MP3 files. For most Windows computers and browsers, this should work by default.

When you click on the link below, you may need to wait for a short while while your browser launches the WAV or MP3 playing software, such as Quick Time, WinAmp or equivalent. After listening to the sound bite, you can use the 'Back' function of your browser to return to this page.

A note on the Serpent sound bite currently provided; This is a simple scale played on a Church style Serpent, with a historic style mouthpiece to provide a 'classic' Serpent sound. The notes played are those in the scale shown below. The recording was made at a medium volume in a large acoustic space, giving the sound a depth that is hopefully close to that in the Serpent's original church setting. Of course, this resulted in a very large sound file; the quality of the WAV file was then degraded to so-called 'telephone quality' to get a smaller file for faster web access. This compression also resulted in some distortion and background noise, but the overall Serpent sound is still apparent. The MP3 file was created at the lowest bit rate, also to save on download time. Inconsistencies in intonation, volume and timbre are typical of the Serpent in general, but note that the shortcomings are largely up to the individual player. This sound bite allows the listener to hear a player making a good but not entirely successful effort to even out these shortcomings. Depending on the Serpent player, his individual instrument, his mouthpiece and how loud he is playing, the sound can be considerably different.

Click here to access the Serpent scale & sample (WAV file)

Click here to access the Serpent scale (MP3 file)

Click here to access the Serpent sample (MP3 file)

By popular demand, this page now includes a short tune played on the ophicleide. The selection is the main theme from "Come Into the Gardern, Maude", a rather lustful Victorian ballad composed by M.W. Balfe, after a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and is a fairly appropriate choice for this instrument. The recording was made in a somewhat live chamber, and is presented in the following link as an MP3 file.

Click here to access the Ophicleide sample (MP3 file)

Want to hear more? Doug Yeo's website features excerpts in MP3 format, taken from his various serpent concerts and recordings. Go there viw the Links page of this website.

The Serpent Website: Return to Index

Copyright Paul Schmidt 1999
Revised February 2001