Instruments | Bassoon | Late Romantic | Classical
Attempts were made in the nineteenth century to turn the bassoon into a metal instrument: Charles and Adolphe Sax experimented with brass bassoons and the latter patented such an instrument, with 24 keys, in 1851. There were rival arrangements of keys (which implied different ways of fingering) available in the nineteenth century. There continue to be French and German models available.
The Heckel family worked on developing the instrument, and their Heckel double bassoon (developed in 1876 and revised in 1879) won the approval of Wagner, who wrote for it in Parsifal. The loop-shaped double bassoon, or contrabassoon, has a larger reed than the bassoon. The contrabassoon will play up to C and down to C sharp; by adding a downward-facing metal bell, the range was extended to B flat and later A sharp.
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