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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 ?
This perfectionism may make it easier to weed out applicants in search of a first-chair bassoonist, but it also means that musicians--and innovation itself--are left outside in the cold.
That was mostly because the band director had told her mother that the band needed a bassoonist.
The mood lightens considerably with Paul Moravec's Andy Warhol Sez: (2005), a work for bassoon and piano requiring the bassoonist to recite a short quote from Warhol before each of seven brief sketches.
It seems quite outrageous that the chief bassoonist, who lives in the north with his Turkish Cypriot wife and owns a restaurant in occupied Famagusta, is allowed to arrange work for his Italian mates in our orchestra.
We would like to introduce the opinions and experiences of the talented young Czech bassoonist Vaclav Vonasek, who has not been content to keep to the area traditionally assigned to the bassoon but makes audacious excursions into music written for other instruments and into the music of contemporary composers.
Type of participants: Violinists, violists, cellists, string bassists, clarinetists, oboists, flutists, bassoonists and hornists.
Bassoonist Chad Alexander remembers the warnings of his friends' parents when he told them that he planned to make his career in music: ``You're going to be poor.
Today, the reason there is a big shortage of young bassoonists is because of the following: Government cuts to peripatetic music services resulting in parents having to pay for their children's bassoon lessons; the cost of hiring a bassoon whilst still at school and having to return the instrument when the child leaves secondary education; The cost of a beginner bassoon (thousands of pounds compared to a few hundred for a beginner flute or clarinet) and bassoon reeds (each reed may last a few weeks and will need to be replaced - average cost PS12 each).
Not if the selection procedure for new bassoonists was anything to go by.
The Faculty Artist Series performance will also feature string players Fritz Gearhart, Leslie Straka, Lillie Wells and Andy Kolb; clarinetists Michael Anderson and Cindi Bartels; bassoonists Steve Vacchi and Helena Kopchick; hornist Jeanie Neven; and pianist David Riley.
Of course, to say that the baroque bassoon was technically up to the musical task is not necessarily to say that it sounded wonderful, and the fact that bassoonists Mathieu Lussier, Nadina Mackie Jackson, and Fraser Jackson (all of whom are accomplished players of historic instruments) chose to record these pieces on modern instruments--a fact they acknowledge in the liner notes without further elucidation--may suggest otherwise.
With their support, Ensemble Cymru bassoonist Graham Hobbs will be performing for primary school children in Upper Bangor, for the residents of Plas Hedd in Maesgeirchen and giving a class to young oboists and bassoonists at Galeri, Caernarfon.