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Out of the bass register and Fagottini and tenoroons – small, forgotten giants

Two research projects funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and hosted at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis / Hochschule für Musik at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland / Musik Akademie Basel

May 2020–April 2023 / October 2017–September 2019

The three-year SNSF project “Out of the bass register” was carried out by a team of researchers at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, FHNW (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland) as a follow-up of the two-year pilot project “Fagottini and tenoroons – small forgotten giants”, completed in 2019. The team explored organological and musicological aspects of smaller bassoons from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, covering a comprehensive scope of research. Evidence of the usage of these instruments in orchestral, chamber music, opera and sacred settings, as well as a function in pedagogy, indicate that they formerly played multi-functional roles in musical and cultural life before virtually disappearing in the twentieth century. Imprecise terminology is widespread, leading to questions regarding choice of appropriate instrument size, as well as the necessity to re-evaluate bassoon repertoire. The Instrument Catalogue and Suggested Repertoire List published here are works-in-progress and are being continually updated; related articles and links are also included. Innovative 3-D printing technology was used to create synthetic prototypes of several small-size bassoons, followed by conventionally-constructed models, enabling a thorough evaluation of organological and musical qualities of each size and type in performance and pedagogical trials.

Project metadata is now available at: https://meta.dasch.swiss/projects/0845/

Recent posts


Forgotten relatives – Small bassoons of the 18th and 19th centuries on stage again

24.02.2023 – 25.02.2023 Kleiner Saal, Musik-Akademie Basel, Leonhardsstr. 6, CH-4051 Basel

Link to “Symposium Impressions”

“Neue alte Klangkörper”
Ein multi-methodischer Ansatz zum Nachbau von zwei Oktavfagotten aus dem 18. Jahrhundert unter Verwendung der 3D-CT- und 3D Print-Technologie   
A multi-method approach to reconstructions of two original eighteenth-century tenoroons with 3D modelling
Image by: http:// www.culturalheritage.digital

This short trial, seen as a preliminary step to the instrument printing and reconstructions planned in the current project “Out of the bass register”, successfully tested 3D-CT technologies to produce initial copies of two fagottini. Please visit the project website at: https://www.fhnw.ch/plattformen/3dfagottino/

G. Ph. Telemann’s “Abscheuliche Tiefe des großen Verderbens”, TWV 1:1 – a performance featuring fagottino (Zoë Matthews)


New Publication

“Fagottini and tenoroons: small, forgotten giants” in The Double Reed, vol. 42, no. 2


Gallery of makers’ stamps

FT 15 Grenser & Wiesner 6-key fagottino

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