ally it has been made with a bore abruptly bent on itself like that of the bassoon. Its compass is more extensive than even the clarinet, and its tone fuller and more reedy.
Mozart is the composer who has written most for this instrument. In one great work, his 'Requiem,' it replaces the clarinet, there being independent parts for two players. Perhaps the finest instance of its use is in the opening of the 'Recordare.' In his opera 'Clemenza di Tito' it is also employed, and a fine obbligato is allotted to it in the song 'Non piu di fiori.' In his chamber music there are often parts for two or even three bassethorns.Mendelssohn has also written for it, especially two concert-pieces for clarinet and bassethorn, op. 113 and 114, intended to be played by the Bärmanns, father and son, with pianoforte accompaniment. Other composers have occasionally employed it, but it is to be regretted that it has never taken so prominent a place in orchestral music as its fine tone and facility of execution entitle it to hold. It is often confused with the Cor Anglais, or English horn, which is an oboe of similar pitch to the Bassethorn.
[ W. H. S. ]
[ M. C. C. ]
[ J. R. S. B. ]
[ C. H. H. P. ]
BASSO DI CAMERA, Italian for a chamber-bass; that is, a small double-bass, such as is generally used by double-bass players for solo performances.BASSO OSTINATO is the same as the English Ground-Bass, which see. It means the continual repetition of a phrase in the bass part through the whole or a portion of a movement, upon which a variety of harmonies and figures are successively built.
[ C. H. H. P. ]
BASSOON (Fr. Bosson, Ital. Fagotto, Ger. Fagott). A wooden double-reed instrument of eight-foot tone. The English and French names are derived from its pitch, which is the natural bass to the oboe and other reed instruments; the Italian and German names come from its resemblance to a faggot or bundle of sticks.It is probably, in one form or another, of great antiquity, although there exists circumstantial evidence of its discovery by Afranio, a Canon of Ferrara. This occurs in a work by the inventor's nephew, entitled 'Introductio in Chaldaicain linguam, mystica et cabalistica, a Theseo Albonesio utriusque juris doctori,' etc. (Pavia, 1539). It is illustrated by two rough woodcuts, and is termed 'Descriptio ac simulacrum Phagoti Afranii,' from which it would appear that the author, although an Italian, did not realise the etymological origin of the name. A class of instruments named bombards, pommers, or brummers, which were made in many keys, seems to have been the immediate predecessor of the bassoon. Some of the older forms are well described, with representations of their shape, in the 'Metodo complete di Fagotto' of Willent. They possess a contrivance which does not exist at the present day on any reed, though it somewhat anticipates the 'crooks' and 'transposing slides' of brass instruments. Besides the holes to be stopped by the fingers, there are other intermediate apertures stopped by pegs, and only to be opened in certain keys. No doubt
- Bassi is usually said to have been also the orginal Almaviva in Figaro; but this is incorrect, Mandini was the first. See Jahn's 'Mozart' (2nd ed.) ii. 243.