Online Encyclopedia

BASSOON

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 953 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BASSOON.) The reform in the construction of the flute due to Theobald Boehm of Munich about 1840, a reform which principally consisted in the rational division of the tube by the position of the lateral holes, prompted Triebert to try to adapt the innovation to the oboes and bassoons; but he failed, because the application of the system denaturalized the timbre of the instruments, which it was necessary, before all things, to preserve, but further improvements made upon the same lines by Barret and later by Rudall Carte, have trans-formed the oboe into the most delicate and perfect of reed instruments. In 1856 a French bandmaster, M. Sarrus, thought out the construction of a family of brass instruments with conical tubes pierced at regular distances, which, by diminishing the length of the air column, has rendered a series of fundamental sounds easy—more equal and free in timbre than that of the oboe family. Gautrot of Paris realized the inventor's idea, and, under the name of " sarrusophones," has created a complete family, from the soprarino in E flat to the contrabass in B flat, of which his firm preserves the monopoly. In order to replace the old double-bassoon of wood, the firm of C. Mahillon, Brussels, produced in 1868, a reed contrabass of metal, since much used in orchestras and military bands. The first idea of this instrument goes back to 1839, and is attributed to Sch011nast & Son of Pressburg. It is a conical brass tube of very large proportions, with lateral holes placed as theory demands, in geometrical relation, with a diameter almost equal to the section of the"tube at the point where the hole is cut. From this it results that for each sound one key only is required, and the seventeen keys give the player almost the facility of a keyboard. The compass written for this contrabass is comprised between and (~t but sounds an octave lower. See CONTRAFAGOTTO. (V. M. ; K. S.) 7 See Doppelmayr, Historische Nachrichten von Nurnbergischen Matematikern and Kiinstlern, Nurnberg, 1730. 8 See complete edition, vol. iii. No. 4. 2 Vol. xiii. No. 1. 10 A fine edition has been published with reproductions of the original sketches for the scenes and the full score by Adler in Denkmaler der Tonkunst in Oesterreich, Bd. iii. p. xxv. u See Captain C. R. Day's Catalogue of the Musical Instruments exhibited at the Royal Military Exhibition (London, 1891), p. 75, No. 151. 12 Ib. p. 75, No. 150.
End of Article: BASSOON
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BASSOON (Fr. basson; Ger. Fagott; Ital. fagotto)

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