The rhythm factory in Pistoia: turning bronze in sound

Music can give us so many emotions but behind unforgettable vibrations there is often a skilled craftsman. I recently visited an old factory in Pistoia, which creates handmade bronze cymbals by following an accurate technique of metal casting. The origins of this ancient factory, called UFIP, date back to the beginning of the Twentieth century.
[Photo Credits: Flavia Cori Tuscany Social Media Team]
[Photo Credits: Flavia Cori Tuscany Social Media Team]
In Tuscany there is an ancient tradition in metalworking, this is due to the presence of metalliferous hills, but the bronze that is now being used to produce cymbals is the result of the alloy of copper from Asia and tin from South America.
"Foundry = Synergy" this is a detail of the UFIP foundry [Photo credits: Visit Tuscany]
UFIP professional lines cymbals are obtained through a procedure of centrifuge-casting. This process ensures the removal of all the impurities present in the alloy bronze, granting a greater thickness of the bell compared to those cymbals obtained by simple pressing. This technique allows a best propagation of sound waves, to guarantee the best performances.
At the first step of production, cymbals can weigh roughly double of what will be their final weight [Photo credits: Flavia Cori]
At the first step of production, cymbals can weigh roughly double of what will be their final weight [Photo credits: Flavia Cori]
At the first step of production, cymbals can weigh roughly double of what will be their final weight. They are patterned and then hammered to compress its parts. As famous hams, cymbals undergo a period of two months "aging", necessary to make them improve their characteristics.
[Photo Credits: Flavia Cori Tuscany Social Media Team]
[Photo Credits: Flavia Cori Tuscany Social Media Team]
Today this factory manufactures around 8 kinds of products required by hundred of musicians around the world. Can you guess what do Charly Watts (Rolling Stones), Billy Coban and Zucchero have in common? Tuscan cymbals, of course!
[Photo Credits: Flavia Cori Tuscany Social Media Team]
[Photo Credits: Flavia Cori Tuscany Social Media Team]
See also: UFIP factory tour Fondazione Luigi Tronci - Museo della Musica e delle Percussioni