The Bassoon (fagott) is the bass
instrument of woodwinds.
The meaning of its Italian name, fagotto, is "a bundle of canes",
for its length (stretched out) - 10 feet - requires the cane's folded structure.
The double mouthpiece, common to both bassoon and the oboe
family, is on top of the metal pipe attached
to the cane. The instrument was invented in the 16th century, but received
its matching systems of leverages and stops in the 19th century, by Thoebald
Bohm. Throughout history, bassoons in different
sizes were built, among which is the particularly well known double bassoon
(contrabasson), larger in size and lower in pitch by an octave.
The low pitch sounds of the bassoon
gave it serious bass parts, yet rapid staccato
playing clears out what gave it the nickname
"the orchestra's clown". Paul
used is to describe the image of the "Sorcerer's
Apprentice", and Prokofiev
deployed it for the grandfather's figure in
"Peter and the Wolf".
wrote his Concerto
in F, Op. 75, for the bassoon soloist.
Les Musiciens a l'orchestre (1872)
Edgar Degas, Musée du Louvre, Paris
By Nadav Dafni