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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
History of Bassooon
History of Bassooon
The modern day bassoon evolved from an instrument invented pre 16th century. This instrument was called the dulcian. It was a wooden instrument all in one piece.
The dulcian was used to add a strong bass line in a wind ensemble that consisted of mostly recorders and shawms.
There were 8 dulcians used during the 16th century, which included a soprano down to bass ranges.
The dulcian also had a conical bore similar to the modern day bassoon.
There were only 8 finger holes and 2 keys on the dulcian.
Click Here to hear a sample of what a tenor dulcian sounds like. (Quicktime is needed)
The 1800’s brought new demands on the bassoon and it had to be altered to meet the new needs of players, ensembles, and orchestral halls.
Carl Almenräder (a performer, teacher, and composer) and Gottfried Weber (acoustic researcher) designed a 17-key bassoon in 1823.
The new design helped to improve intonation, improve response, and make playing easier for performers.
J.A. Heckel (Almenräder’s partner) continued to make improvements on the bassoon along with 2 generations of his descendents.
By the 1900’s Heckel was the main company producing bassoons with 4,000 bassoons produced by the turn of the century.
The modern Heckel bassoon has between 24-27 keys and five open finger holes.
This system was stabilized before the Heckel system, but it was invented in a more conservative manner.
The Buffet System mainly focused on improvements to the key work and not a complete overhaul of the instrument.
This bassoon has a conical bore that is less in diameter than the Heckel bassoon.
This system did not stay around because it wasn’t as consistent as the Heckel system and wasn’t as easy to play.