In the Coronation March of the 'Prophète' it takes the melody, and in Auber's Exhibition March two such instruments are employed. It is written in the treble or tenor clef, the latter being better, as assimilating its part to that for the bassoon. Although occasionally of value for producing exceptional effects, it does not present any great advantages for orchestral use.
[ W. H. S. ]
BASS CLEF. The well-known mark of the bass clef,
is a modification of the letter F, which has in the course of centuries arrived at its present shape, in the same way that the G and C have altered their forms. The early sub-division of the graver male voices is attested by the variety of positions on the stave occupied by the bass or F clef. Since the beginning of the 18th century this clef (for whatever variety of bass voice) has occupied the fourth line exclusively. Up to that period its occasional position on the third line
indicated that the music following it was for the baryton voice; the stave so initiated being called the baryton stave. At a still earlier epoch the bass clef was sometimes placed on the fifth line,
. This basso profondo stave, which makes room for two more notes below than can be placed on the bass stave proper, is used (among others) by L. Lossius in his 'Psalmodia' (Wittenbach, 1579), and more recently by Praetorius in his 'Cantiones Sacrae' (Hamburg, 1622). It does not seem however at any time to have met with general favour. On the other hand, the baryton stave was much employed, not only for choral music, but for solos, up to the beginning of the last century. Some of Purcell's songs (e. g. 'Let the dreadful engines') in the 'Orpheus Britannicus' are written upon it, and with reason, for it takes in, with the aid of a single leger-line, the entire compass employed, from the lower A to the upper F. [ Clef.]
[ J. H. ]
BASS-DRUM. This is the largest of all drums, and is used in military bands and modern orchestras. [ Drum, 3.]
[ V. de P. ]
BASS FLUTE. There were in former times four forms of the flute à bec or flageolet, the lowest being the bass flute, and the others respectively tenor, alto, and descant flutes. These are now all but disused. A bass flute still exists, though it is rarely heard, and is not written for by any composer of eminence. Its compass is from
upwards. In older forms of the Bass-flute, to bring the mouthpiece within reach of the finger holes the tube was bent, and returned upon itself, as in the Bassoon; but as made by Boehm it resembles an ordinary flute of large size—32 inches long, and one inch diameter. The Bass-flute requires a great deal of breath, and the tone is not strong, but it is of very fine quality.
[ W. H. S. ]
BASS TRUMPET. [ Trombone.]
BASS TUBA. The lowest of the saxhorns. [ Bombardon.]
BASSANI, Giovanni Battista, an eminent violin-player and composer, was born at Padua about 1657. He lived for some years at Bologna as conductor of the cathedral-music, and from 1685 in a similar position at Ferrara, where he was a member of the 'Accademia della Morte.' He was also made a member, and in 1682 'principe' of the 'Accademia dei Filarmonici' of Bologna. From 1680 to 1710 he published six operas and thirty-one vocal and instrumental works, viz. masses, cantatas for one, two, or three voices with instruments, and two sets of sonatas for two violins with bass—a complete list is given by Fétis. These works, copies of which are now very rare, are said to be written in a noble pathetic style, and to be marked by good and correct workmanship. Kent borrowed from them largely. Amongst others the chorus 'Thy righteousness,' in his anthem 'Lord what love,' is taken from Bassani's Magnificat in G minor with very slight alteration. The 'Hallelujahs' in 'Hearken unto this' are transcribed note for note from Bassani's 'Alma Mater.' But Kent was a sad appropriator.
Bassani died at Ferrara in 1716. It is generally believed, though not absolutely proved, that Corelli was his pupil.
[ P. D. ]
BASSET-HORN (Fr. Cor de Bassette; Ital. Corno di Bassetto; Germ. Bassethorn).
A tenor clarinet standing in F, furnished with additional low keys and a prolonged bore, enabling it to reach the octave C, which is equivalent to F below the bass clef
. With the exception of the last four semitones thus added, the instrument is in all respects a clarinet, and the necessary transposition will be found under that heading. These four notes are obtained by means of long keys worked by the thumb of the right hand, which, in the ordinary clarinet, has no other function besides that of supporting the instrument. For convenience of handling, the instrument has been made in various curved shapes; with a bend either between the right and left hands, or in the upper part just below the mouthpiece. Occasion-