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date: 17 November 2019

Bassett: Nicololocked

  • Charles Foster


Double-reed wind-cap aerophone, illustrated in M. Praetorius, Syntagma musicum, ii, Sciagraphia (Wolfenbüttel, 1620), pl.XIII, alongside a consort of crumhorns. No other description or example is known. The wind cap, turnings, and fingerholes resemble those of the extended bass crumhorn illustrated, while the lower section has four keys covered by a large fontanelle, as in the ‘Basset oder Tenor Pommer’ illustrated in pl.XI of Praetorius. Baines argued that the Bassett: Nicolo resembles the instrument referred to in the Cassel inventory of 1613 as ‘ein lang Strack basset zu den Krumbhörner’. Praetorius is known to have worked at Cassel both before and after the date of this inventory. A reconstruction by Charles Foster (1991) after the illustration produced an instrument with the same range as an extended bass crumhorn, fully diatonic for the range of a 12th from C. Unlike an extended-bass crumhorn, it does not require the presetting of sliders for its lowest notes and it provides a more resonant bass....

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Galpin Society Journal