Upbeat: CODA

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The Independent Culture
HOW does it feel to have a serpent in your mouth? No, this is not an invitation to kiss a critic. The two-yearly London International Exhibition of Early Music is back at the Royal Horticultural New Hall this weekend. All those instruments you really wanted to know about but were afraid to ask can be seen, heard and tried there: crumhorns, bagpipes, do-it-yourself keyboard kits, and this year for the first time the electronic harpsichord.

It's an especially good chance to catch up on the smaller craft makers, who know a good market when they see one and always turn out in force. But the big firms, publishers and record companies are there too. 'Drop a large smothering blanket,' say the organisers, 'and you could reverse the early music revival overnight.' Admission pounds 6 (concessions pounds 4), from 10 am today and tomorrow.

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