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bassoon (băso͞onˈ), 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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Wilhelm Kuhnen, 1687), 116-118].) These earliest sources were not specific solely to the bassoon; the first treatise published that was devoted wholly to the instrument appeared in 1770 (in England, published by Longman, Lukey and Co.).
In many ways it felt like a mini concerto for orchestra as so many instruments had striking solo lines: those angular lines for the bassoon solo echoed in the woodwind chorus, the percussion punctuating the whole texture and the soloist carrying on regardless.
But she comes from such a notorious area of Barrhead, near Glasgow, that until last week she was barred from practising at home - in case her bassoon was stolen.
At the moment the author plays 'really bad' bassoon for a band called The Really Terrible Orchestra but hopes that his technique will improve.
New Brandenburg Philharmonic Orchestra; Albrecht Holder, bassoon. Recorded in 2001, at Neustrelitz Concert Hall.
The latest presentation was 'Richard Strauss: Creativity in Old Age,' during which his composition Duet Concertino for Clarinet and Bassoon was played."
25) Is it possible to excite with nothing but a clanky bassoon? Beck improvises a resounding yes.
Wesleyan, for example, would often consider applicants with SAT scores of 1200 or lower if they had other attributes that the institution was seeking--such as mastery of an instrument in short supply (like the tuba or bassoon), residency in a state with low representation on campus (Nebraska), or identification with a minority group.
The programme includes Mozart's bassoon concerto, Dvorak's Slavonic Dances and highlights of Puccini's La Boh?me, directed by Robin Tebbutt and sung in English.
[4] Stress velopharyngeal incompetence has been documented in trumpet and bassoon players.
In the article that started this exchange, for example, he invoked the bassoon part of the Dresden Missa to bolster his contention that ripieno singers read from the same music as concertists.(4) Does he mean now to imply that he would no longer do so?
She choreographed her solo, Cry, " set to Andre Jolivet's Concerto for Bassoon String Orchestra, Harp, and Piano, in 1965.