Somewhat overshadowed by their European counterparts at Paiste, UFIP (Unione Fabricanti Italiani di Piatti musicali e tam-tams) are nevertheless part of the European gong-making tradition.

Bronze working in the area around Pistoia in Italy can be traced back nearly 4,000 years to the Etruscans. Centuries later, during the 1700s, the Tronci family were using bronze in pipe organs. They had a long tradition of bell making dating back to the Renaissance and, by the 1800s, they had expanded into chimes, bells and cymbals with the demise of large pipe organs. The great Italian opera composers such as Puccini, Verdi and Mascagni commissioned large gongs and tam-tams for their operas (e.g. Puccini uses large tuned gongs in Turandot).

The current range of UFIP gongs and tam-tams are made from either cast bronze or from rolled sheets of bronze or brass. They also use two bronze alloys – B20 and B8 bronze and, surprisingly, brass! Generally, instruments up to 28" (71cm) in diameter are made from bronze and from 32" (81cm) diameter from brass.

© Philip McNamara. www.pmgongs.com


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