The structural development of the bassoon

At the end of the 16th century, the new bass instrument was used in some musical groups. However, it was not yet a solo instrument and used only as a basso continuo instrument. I mean, it could be played only for bass lines with cellos, double basses and harpsichord. It did not have soloistic function. In this period, we can observe two types of bassoon models, the French and the German ones. They were produced in a single wood piece and both of them were similar. In the 19th century they were developed by different companies. At present, there are many differences between French and German bassoons in the timbre, fingerings etc. Because the instrument changes musical differences also occurred. In the 19th century, French bassoon was developed by Buffet – Crampon which was a French company. German bassoon was developed thanks to Wilhelm Heckel who was a bassoon manufacturer. Nowadays, many bassoon players prefer to use German model instruments because they facilitate the performance more than the French models. With the development of bassoon composers started to use bassoon as a solo instrument in the 19th century. Still, the instrument continues its improvement.

If I mention about the technique of the early bassoon, we can investigate the instrument in 3 different types. The very first one had only 3 holes and ordinarily these holes are raised. In some instruments there are 5 different holes so “[its] range goes from B flat 2 octaves below middle C, up to the A above middle C.” (About the Baroque Bassoon, Its sound is very dark. In 1800, the bassoon’s length was extended by manufacturers, so its range, and could be used as tenor instrument rather than a bass one. Its sound was calm than the early bassoon. In a lot of ways, it could be more useful thanks to the helping keys and additional helping holes. Finally, when we look at the modern bassoon, it has 28 different keys and a register more than 3 octaves. It can be played as a solo or orchestral instrument.


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