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A keyed brass instrument of the bugle family with a baritone range that was the structural precursor of the bass saxophone and was replaced by the tuba in orchestras.

[French : Greek ophis, snake (from its resemblance to the serpent, a musical instrument) + Greek klēis, klēid-, key.]


(Instruments) music an obsolete keyed wind instrument of bass pitch
[C19: from French ophiclēide, from Greek ophis snake + kleis key]
References in classic literature ?
The army consisted of a magnificent band that also did duty on the stage, where it was quite pleasant to see the worthy fellows marching in Turkish dresses with rouge on and wooden scimitars, or as Roman warriors with ophicleides and trombones--to see them again, I say, at night, after one had listened to them all the morning in the Aurelius Platz, where they performed opposite the cafe where we breakfasted.
Gardner had the CBSO playing out of the palm of his hand, Zoe Beyers (how lovely to see her back) leading strings which so often evoked the soundworld of the composer's Aida, flutes swaying like seraphims, and heavy brass, including Graham Sibley's splendid cimbasso (should have been an ophicleide, really) portentously strident.
A Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall B Clarissa Dickson Wright C Anthony Worrall Thompson D Rick Stein QUESTION 7 - for 7 points: The ophicleide is an old instrument of which family?
Steven Bossuyt, keyed bugle in Bb; Jan Huylebroeck, Ophicleide in C.
10pm, when Anthony George presents a fascinating lecture-recital, Taming of the Beast, featuring early wind instruments including monstrous ancestors of the tuba such as the serpent and ophicleide.
These ensembles included: flute, bassoon, bass viol, clarinet, oboe, serpent, ophicleide, bugle, vamp-horn (megaphone), guitar, banjo, drums, concertina and tin-whistle.
Refractaire, quiconque n'a pas pied dans la vie, n'a pas une profession, un etat, un metier, qui ne peut pas se dire quelque chose, ophicleide, ebeniste, notaire, docteur ou cordonnier, qui n'a pour tout bagage que sa manie [.
They played admirably some selections from popular operas; a bass cantata on the ophicleide was executed with considerable talent.
My 1919 Elson's Pocket Music Dictionary tells me that the ophicleide is "a large bass wind instrument of brass.
A badly cracked ophicleide, which also looked past reasonable repair, sold for [pounds]472.
His scoring is for double woodwind (he had four each of flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons available), serpent, four horns, four trumpets, three trombones, ophicleide, timpani, organ and a large body of strings (28, 26, 18, 18, 17).
A double bass reinforced the Iow register, as the ophicleide was known to go off into virtuosi flourishes.