This welcome volume encompasses the entire history of the
bassoon, from its origins five centuries ago to its place in
twenty-first-century music. James Kopp draws on new archival
research and many years of experience playing the instrument to
provide an up-to-date and lively portrait of today's bassoon and
its intriguing predecessors. He discusses the bassoon's makers, its
players, its repertory, and its audiences, all in unprecedented
The bassoon was invented in Italy in response to the need for a
bass-register double-reed woodwind suitable for marching. The
author examines the acoustical consequences of various design
changes to the instrument through later centuries. He also offers
new coverage of the bassoon's social history, including its roles
in the military and the church and its global use during the
European Colonial period. Separate historical chapters devoted to
contrabassoons and smaller bassoons complete the volume.
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