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The bassoon’s characteristic voice cannot be mistaken. Its dark, reedy sound and wide range make it a unique accompaniment to any orchestra’s woodwind section. Shop among the best Fox, Schreiber, and Amati bassoons available from Woodwind and Brasswind.
Bassoon styles fall into one of two systems – the Heckel System or the Buffet System. While the Buffet System is used in France, Belgium, and parts of Latin America, the Heckel System is far more prevalent in most of the rest of the world. The German Heckel System traces its roots to Carl Almenräder who developed a 17-key bassoon that ranges four octaves in the early 19th century. Perhaps equaling in significance of his instrument are the treatises that Almenräder wrote about enhancing the bassoon’s playability and response. After being introduced to these papers, Ludwig van Beethoven requested his own Almenräder bassoon. Eventually, Almenräder opened his own factory with Johann Adam Heckel who continued to develop the instrument. Before long the Heckel System bassoon had surpassed other models and systems in prominence and popularity.
While the bassoon is commonly used to double other instruments, its unique voice often results in specialized music written for it. The bassoon has a remarkably difficult passage in Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” and takes on a comical role as the grandfather’s theme in “Peter and the Wolf” by Sergei Prokofiev. Much of its initial widespread recognition can be attributed to Antonio Vivaldi’s passion for the instrument and the 37 concerti he wrote for it. The oboe is also featured in the first movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Jupiter,” and in Jean-Baptiste Lully’s “Les Petits Violons.”
Among bassoon manufacturers, Fox is established as one of the most admired and purchased brands. Fox is unique in that, instead of adding bassoons to its instrumental repertoire later, it all began with bassoons. Hugo Fox was the principal bassoonist from 1922-1949 in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. After this period he began perfecting the bassoon and made his first instrument in 1951. The company has since been passed on to his son Alan Fox and has also expanded into other instruments but its excellence in bassoons remains.
Introduced in 1971, the Renard line of instruments from Fox is incredibly popular among bassoonists. The Fox Renard Model 41 Bassoon, Fox Renard Model 240 Bassoon, Fox Renard Model 220 Bassoon, and Fox Renard Model 51 Bassoon are all available from Woodwind and Brasswind. Fox designs and manufactures four basic acoustical variations among their bassoons. It features “Long Bore” instruments with a rounder tone as well as “Short Bore” bassoons which possess more flexibility and an open tone quality which perfectly fits the needs of a soloist. Demands of professional orchestras have also led to the development of the Fox Model 601 Bassoon and the Fox Model 660 Bassoon. Both of these designs have thicker compositions and more resonant tone holes. While they are more difficult to play, they are well-equipped to meet the demands of professional players in the world’s best orchestras.
While Fox bassoons certainly have a prominent presence, The Woodwind and Brasswind is also proud to offer bassoons from Schreiber, Amati, Selmer, J Puchner, Jupiter, and Allora. Regardless of what you require, you can find your dream bassoon at Woodwind and Brasswind.