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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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Seu Fagotto / con / Organo / Ex Choro Claro= Tumbano / S: O: C: Anno 1740.
Elena Fagotto is senior research associate and Mary Graham ( is codirector of the Transparency Policy Project at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Non per niente, dopo la seduzione, Rube esce dalla stanza di Eugenia "a passo di lupo," simiie "a un ladro col fagotto della roba rubata" (88).
Correspondingly, the grandson dies cursing the king, anachronistically since "il re ormai aveva fatto fagotto e vigeva la costituzione della repubblica fondata sul lavoro" (1), but convinced of legality's contingency, and of a correspondingly arbitrary alienation from a material plenitude otherwise, in principle, available.
Questi oltre l'esatto, e diligente lavoro sono corredati da altro differente suono, e col mezzo di un registro si ode al naturale il fagotto, ed altre variazioni.
Soli SATB, coro S(S)ATB, 2 oboi, fagotto, 2 trombe, timpani, 2 violini, viola e basso continuo (violoncello/contrabbasso, cembalo/organo).
As noted in "Improving Workplace Hazard Communication" by Elena Fagotto and Archon Fung (Issues, Winter 200203), prior to the HCS being promulgated, it was often difficult for employers to identify chemicals in their workplaces, much less locate any information regarding the effects of these chemicals and appropriate protective measures.
Andante, e Tema con variazioni, per flauto, clarinetto, corno, e fagotto. Hrsg.
Elena Fagotto ( is senior research associate with the Transparency Policy Project at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Sonate a 1, 2, 3, per il violino, o cornetto, fagotto, chitarrone, violoncino, o simils altro strumento (1641).