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(băso͞on`), double-reed woodwind instrument that plays in the bass and tenor registers. Its 8-ft (2.4-m) conical tube is bent double, the instrument thus being about 4 ft (1.2 m) high. It evolved from earlier double-reed instruments in the 16th cent. and by 1600 was common throughout Europe. When the orchestra developed in the 17th cent., the bassoon was one of the original woodwinds included and has been indispensable ever since. It was much improved in the 19th cent. in both France and Germany; the French and German bassoons have since differed from each other appreciably in tonal quality and construction. Although used in chamber music, the bassoon has only a small literature as a solo instrument. When played staccato it can have a humorous effect that has been frequently exploited by composers. The contrabassoon, also called double bassoon, is pitched an octave below the bassoon. Fingering is the same for both. The contrabassoon's tube, more than 16 ft (4.9 m) long, is doubled back upon itself four times. First made by Hans Schreiber of Berlin in 1620, it was used by Handel, Haydn, and Beethoven. Technical imperfections hindered any extensive use until a German, Wilhelm Heckel, in the late 19th cent. improved its construction and intonation, producing the model in general use today.



a wind instrument. The bassoon, formed by a U-shaped conical tube ending in a bell, consists of four parts. Sound is produced by a double reed attached to an S-shaped metal tube, which connects the reed to the bore. The bore contains 25–30 side holes, five or six of which are covered by the fingers and the rest by keys. The instrument has a range from B b below the bass staff to D or F at the top of the treble staff.

The bassoon was developed in Italy in the 1520’s and 1530’s and was introduced into the symphony orchestra in the mid-18th century. It is used in symphony orchestras, which generally have two or three, sometimes four, bassoons, in wind orchestras, and in other ensembles; it is also used as a solo instrument. Music for the bassoon is written mainly in the bass and tenor clefs. Of the other varieties of bassoon, only the contrabassoon is widely used.


Levin, S. Fagot. Moscow, 1963.
Levin, S. Dukhovye instrumenty v istorii muzykal’noi kul’tury. Leningrad, 1973.
Chulaki, M. Instrumenty simfonicheskogo orkestra, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1972.
Heckel, W. Der Fagott. Leipzig, 1931.


a woodwind instrument, the tenor of the oboe family. Range: about three and a half octaves upwards from the B flat below the bass staff
References in periodicals archive ?
When Helena Spencer was in the sixth grade and wanted to join her new school's band, her mother suggested she might like to take up the bassoon.
These include some violinists, a viola player, a cellist, a double bass player, an oboe, two bassoons, a clarinet, a trumpeter, a French horn and two trombones.
Textures come up bright and clear under Francois-Xavier Roth's conducting of the sparky Les Siecles orchestra, with gut strings so strikingly forward -- and, paradoxically, liberating the winds, not least grunting bassoons, as well as roaring timpani and well-focused brass, to sound so immediate.
People who play flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons should be of grade six standard and brass instrumentalists - horns, trumpets, trombones and tubas - should have grade seven.
The small orchestra was composed of Philharmonic players, but not many: just two oboes, two bassoons, two trumpets, two double basses, three cellos, four violists, handfuls of violinists and a pair of kettle drums.
With swollen cheeks and a somber throaty sound, he would give us the horns and bassoons.
Sardanes have never been danced to "the wistful sound of bassoons, clarinets, and flutes", nor are the gegants (giants) which feature so prominently in the study "men on stilts", to name just a couple of annoying little mistakes.
In the score you can see passages where the bassoon plays the role of a lead saxophone, with three bassoons underneath in the scoring, just as in a saxophone section," says Smith.
Sound is produced by forcing pressurized air (from three motorized blowers, in this case) through pipes, resulting in tones that resemble, but don't mimic, various instruments, including flutes, bassoons, trumpets and even strings.
David Lasocki [Utrecht: STIMU, 1997]), so reed makers for early oboes and bassoons have simply been guessing for decades.
In the middle movements of the Mozart symphony, there was a lovely muted quality to the horn playing and richly textured, suave interplay between the oboes and bassoons.
I suddenly heard the bassoons in a new light,'' said violinist Edie Markman, now in her 25th season with the L.