Instruments | Heckelphone | Late Romantic | Classical
The heckelphone was developed by William Heckel after he heard from Wagner in 1879 that the orchestra lacked a powerful baritone double-reed instrument. Accordingly, he experimented with the oboe family and produced the first heckelphone in 1904. Built in three sections, it has a wider bore than the oboe, and is played using a bassoon-type reed mounted on a curved crook. The instrument in C has a compass running A to G sharp; the E flat instrument runs C sharp to F sharp and the piccolo heckelphone plays E to A sharp. Instead of ending in a flaring bell it ends in a bulb, similar in shape to an English horn. The heckelphone can be heard in Richard Strauss’s opera Salome.
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