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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A mystery horn for you, vintage aficionados...
Some time ago I bought a small saxophone in a flea market, supposing it was a curved soprano. It was cheap and I liked the idea of having a tiny old horn at home to show.

Surprise was that it's actually tinier than expected, since it's actually a C curved soprano.
The engraving on the bell is very faint, but I'm pretty sure it reads:

D. Rancilio
Milano
Esportazione (unreadable word)

Musical instrument Reed instrument Human body Wind instrument Woodwind instrument


I tried looking everywhere on the internet but apparently nobody ever made a curved C soprano. An old kohlert catalogue points to a similar instrument but A)it has the same catalog number as the Bb curved soprano B) Nobody has a proof that it ever existed.

I don't know if Rancilio made his instruments at the time or just stenciled someone else's horns, but the tiny silver beast looks like no other horn I've ever seen and some mechanical solutions are very original (and pretty archaic, to be honest).

It is keyed from low Bb to high (very high) Eb, with an automatic octave key. No pearls or serial number. It originally came with some white pads without resonator and a stitch in the center (there were a few missing: I tried to repad it, but modern pads are too thick... maybe one day I will try with clarinet pads, but from what I was able to "play" on the instrument it sounds nothing like a saxophone). Soldered tone holes.

Detailed photograph: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjMhic3T
with a direct comparison to a Bb straight sop (I tried to align the stacks so you can notice that I'm not talking about a very sharp Bb curved soprano).

What can you tell me about it?
 

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there are 3 possible candidates.

Dante Rancilio, Diego or Delio Rancilio his sons. The shop and workshop was in via Monforte 32, Milan, Italy.


They were making and selling musical instruments made by others from 1903 until 1930 ( in 1929 Dante died and left his shop to his wife, sons and daughter) but they carried on selling musical instruments for a much longer period at least until 1938 and then under the son Delio’s name until the ’60.

It isn’t clear whether this shop after 1930 was simply selling saxophones made by other companies (namely Alfonso Rampone’s instruments).


in my opinion this is a post 1929 made saxophone and might very well have been made by Alfonso Rampone if not by Rampone e Cazzani.


In the ’60 the were, according to some sources, selling Alfonso Rampone’s instruments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
there are 3 possible candidates.

Dante Rancilio, Diego or Delio Rancilio his sons. The shop and workshop was in via Monforte 32, Milan, Italy.

They were making and selling musical instruments made by others from 1903 until 1930 ( in 1929 Dante died and left his shop to his wife, sons and daughter) but they carried on selling musical instruments for a much longer period at least until 1938 and then under the son Delio's name until the '60.

It isn't clear whether this shop after 1930 was simply selling saxophones made by other companies (namely Alfonso Rampone's instruments).

in my opinion this is a post 1929 made saxophone and might very well have been made by Alfonso Rampone if not by Rampone e Cazzani.

In the '60 the were, according to some sources, selling Alfonso Rampone's instruments.
Milandro you're a living encyclopedia!

But the production of C-melodies didn't had an abrupt stop after the 1929 crisis?
The only low-quality images I could see of a Rampone soprano show a different pinky cluster and markedly different mechanics.
Have you seen the strange low C# mechanism? I've never seen something like that before.

Do you think that someone in Quarna could help me in identifying the horn?
 

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Milandro you're a living encyclopedia!

But the production of C-melodies didn't had an abrupt stop after the 1929 crisis?
The only low-quality images I could see of a Rampone soprano show a different pinky cluster and markedly different mechanics.
Have you seen the strange low C# mechanism? I've never seen something like that before.

Do you think that someone in Quarna could help me in identifying the horn?
Nor really an Encyclopaedia but I am good at finding things on internet, and it helps if you are a member at

http://www.italianwinds.it/flauti.php

where I found most info. :)

Exactly because this is a post 1930 instrument, after their stopping with the fabrication of musical instruments I therefore suppose this was either a Rampone & Cazzani (more probable) or an Alfonso Rampone.

Claudio Zolla at Rampone & Cazzani could have more information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What makes you think that it's a post-30s instrument? To me (I'm trying to register to the Italianwinds site but it gives me an error...) the pinky cluster looks more ancient, the low C# key seems odd, the fact that it's a C instrument points to the 1919-1929 decade, the pads with the stitch usually are from a similar period (if I'm not mistaken Buescher introduced the snap-on system -more or less a resonator- in 1921: I can think that Italian manufacturers could adopt this some years later, but 10 full years later?).

I'm only speculating: you could probably tell me why I'm wrong..
 

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You are right, it could be earlier, although not by much....... but I have been speculating too.

Fashions such as the C instrument craze were an American invention and it would have taken some time before the craze would have travelled to Italy, a musically rather traditional country, where a family involved in making or selling instruments would have decided to make a C melody themselves or buy one from another company which maybe also got the idea a bit later than it would have been where the idea came from.

In 1929 Dante Rancilio dies.......the family gets the business and the two Rancilio bros. decide to change things and give new impulse to a business which maybe, because of the death of its founder, was a bit slow.

Just speculation.

Orsi horns of the ’50 up to the ’70 are often thought to be much earlier because they were decidedly old fashioned when they were made, maybe there were more companies slow at changing things and Rancilio was one of them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You are right, it could be earlier, although not by much....... but I have been speculating too.

Fashions such as the C instrument craze were an American invention and it would have taken some time before the craze would have travelled to Italy, a musically rather traditional country, where a family involved in making or selling instruments would have decided to make a C melody themselves or buy one from another company which maybe also got the idea a bit later than it would have been where the idea came from.

In 1929 Dante Rancilio dies.......the family gets the business and the two Rancilio bros. decide to change things and give new impulse to a business which maybe, because of the death of its founder, was a bit slow.

Just speculation.

Orsi horns of the '50 up to the '70 are often thought to be much earlier because they were decidedly old fashioned when they were made, maybe there were more companies slow at changing things and Rancilio was one of them?
I think it makes sense...
I should investigate the C melody craze in Europe, if it ever existed.
 

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although it is possible to order pads in different and unusual thicknesses, some folks out there make their own (several techs on sotw too do that) as this famous technician in the NL, Nico Bodewes shows in this video (only at the beginning of the video, which is in Dutch, don't get scared :)

 

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I think it makes sense...
I should investigate the C melody craze in Europe, if it ever existed.
well, despite what I once thought (Ah! Those foolish years!), There were many companies (including Selmer) which made C melodies in Europe. Were they ever successful, I don't know, but there were quite a few.
 

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I put the stitched pads as ending about 1925ish when rivets and brown skin became popular. I would put this little gem at about 1905-20. No fork F#, bis or articulated G#. It is possible that the tangs under the G# lever were added later. Since the G# is not articulated, it would be odd to link the low C# and B levers to it as you would not be able to take advantage of the linked fingering. That metalite mouthpiece is probably not usable on this one! I would put a nice Yamaha 3C or 4C on it to have decent intonation with a good full sound. The thin pads can be found. Check with MusicMedic. I use them on the straight C sopranos and on my sopranino. Before you repad it, the worn keys can be replated as the finish is pretty good. If you replate say one bell key, do both to get a nice match.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I put the stitched pads as ending about 1925ish when rivets and brown skin became popular. I would put this little gem at about 1905-20. No fork F#, bis or articulated G#. It is possible that the tangs under the G# lever were added later. Since the G# is not articulated, it would be odd to link the low C# and B levers to it as you would not be able to take advantage of the linked fingering. That metalite mouthpiece is probably not usable on this one! I would put a nice Yamaha 3C or 4C on it to have decent intonation with a good full sound. The thin pads can be found. Check with MusicMedic. I use them on the straight C sopranos and on my sopranino. Before you repad it, the worn keys can be replated as the finish is pretty good. If you replate say one bell key, do both to get a nice match.
The metalite is just to put a mouthpiece on it: I use my other mouthpieces on the soprano and the metalite has been badly modified by the previous owner.
Regarding the thin pads: I've seen that Music Center in Italy (Pisoni) makes the same kind of pad in different thickness. You just have to pretend you're repadding a bassoon or a clarinet. How can I estimate the correct thickness?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have just visited the Jay Easton site where he shows another real curved C soprano (albeit apparently only descending to B). He says that only two curved C sopranos are known to exist... I would say three, by now! I'm quite proud.
 

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Hello to You,i have also on c curved soprano from Kohlert and sohns Graslitz factory.
Hello , You are replying to a 18 years old thread, there is nothing wrong with using old threads as long as you are aware of what you do. Several of the people whom answered above are no longer participating to this thread.

You second post in this thread is a quote of your previous post, familiarize with the forum functions before you post , you can use the " preview" to show what your post will be like before you actually publish it. Good Luck!
 
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