Join our zoo community

Ivory and Musical Instruments

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by jbnbsn99, 27 Jul 2015.

  1. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

    3 Feb 2009
    Some of you may or may not know that I started out life as an orchestral musician. My particular ax is the bassoon (hence the "bsn" part of my user name). There's been something interesting going on in the bassoon forums concerning ivory. Many older instruments have an ivory ring attached to the top of the instrument. This is not unlike ivory keys on a piano. However, the different comes in that a bassoon is portable, a piano, pretty much, stays put.

    Well, evidently, there has been a law shift in the last few years concerning ivory in musical instruments. The ivory can no longer cross international borders. This has become a huge concern for professional musicians who have to tour with their orchestras. There's been a mad scramble recently for musicians to have this ivory replaced with high grade plastic. The ivory doesn't affect how the instrument plays and is purely aesthetic and has some strengthening and protective qualities as well.

    All the instruments with ivory (or at least well over 95% of them) are from pre-CITES convention and some are antiques. An instrument I used in grad school was over 100 years old. My own personal instrument was built in 2005, so it complies with CITES.

    I know from some off-hand comments that other musicians are having to deal with this as well (particularly string bows), but as far as I understand it, bassoonists have the brunt of the weight on them (due to the older bassoons having the largest chunk of ivory on their instrument.

    Just a fun bit of trivia that shows musicians are having to modify their expensive instruments (usually in the $30,000 to $40,000 range) in order to comply with wildlife laws.
  2. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

    12 Aug 2008
    California, USA
    I love music and musicians. I love elephants.

    If musicians were endangered and elephants were doing something that was potentially leading to their extinction, then I would expect the elephants to alter their behavior.

    Thanks to the musicians for helping shut down the ivory trade.
  3. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

    28 Jan 2014
    League City, Texas
    This is giving me so many funny mental images.