Bassoon in the United States
- James B. Kopp
The bajón, an early, one-piece bassoon, was brought into the southwestern United States during the 17th century by Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries seeking to convert the native peoples. In 1625–6 the packing list for a Franciscan expedition into what is now New Mexico included a bajón, while a supply contract of 1631 required that every five Franciscan friars there receive a set of chirimías (shawms) and bajónes. The administrator Fray Alonso de Benavides reported in 1634 that natives were taught music in eight or more missions, and that bajónes and chirmías accompanied polyphonic music in sacred services. Bajónes were documented in New Mexican missions at Ácoma Pueblo and Socorro (both 1672) and Cochiti (1776). The Jesuit mission of San Juan Bautista in Alta California in 1792 had a bassoon of some description, as did the Franciscan mission at Tumacacori (Arizona), built in 1800.
The four-piece Baroque bassoon was imported into the eastern colonies by English settlers by the mid-18th century. In Anglican or Episcopal churches, it was sometimes used to support congregational singing. A bassoon was used by ...