Instrument: Basset horn in F
Source: Demonstrative audio sample from the University of Edinburgh, available at MIMO’s website (2014).
Instruments: 3 (three) basset horns
Work: The Magic Flute. March of the Priests.
Composer: W. A. Mozart
Interpreters: Lotz Trio – Robert Šebesta (basset-horn I), Ronald Šebesta (basset-horn II), Andreas Fink (basset-horn III).
Source: Video originally published by the Lotz Trio Youtube Channel, titled “Lotz Trio Basset Horn trio W A Mozart Zauberfl te Marsch der Priester HD”.
Instruments: Basset horn soprano, basset horn mezzosoprano and basset horn baritone
Work: Due pupille amabili K 439
Composer: W. A. Mozart
Interpreters: Trio Theodor – Lycia Gialdi (basset horn), Massimiliano Limonetti (basset horn), Miriam Caldarini (basset horn) -, Barbara Favali (soprano), Anna Trotta (mezzosoprano), Marco Granata (baritono)
Source: Video originally published by the Heiliger Satyr Youtube Channel titled “Mozart Due pupille amabili K 439 Trio Theodor, Favali, Trotta, Granata KOMOS”.
Simple reed low range instrument of the clarinets’ family. The instrument’s body is made of wood and resembles that of the clarinet, but the upper joint is curved towards the musician, and the metal made bell, opens up to the lower part. Between the instrument’s joints there are ivory hoops. The instrument has seven holes and thirteen keys. There are decorations around the bell. This basset horn is tuned in F; the lowest note the instrument can reach is written C1, sounding F1. The reed fits into the mouthpiece. In order to play, the musician rests the lower lip (which is folded over the teeth), and places the upper teeth on the mouthpiece superior part (bevel), producing thus the air current. The museum’s item does not have a mouthpiece.
The basset horn is part of the clarinet’s family and it is believed to have been invented around 1760 by Anton and Michel Mayrhofers. But the details over its creation haven’t been completely clarified, since it is not possible to know whether it has been developed from a lower clarinet or from a lower chalumeau. On the 18th century, the instrument was often used by Mozart, who included it in works such as the B Flat Serenade and the Requiem; Beethoven used it on the overture of Prometheus (1801), and Richard Strauss in the opera Daphne (1936-1937). Nevertheless, the instrument has never become popular and its manufacturing decreased a great deal from the second half of the 19th century, although it has never been completely extinct. The challenge for the present makers of basset horn is to produce an instrument able to balance the timbers in the modern orchestra and at the same time keep the instrument’s characteristic timber.
BASE MINERVA, 2014.
BETHENCOURT; BORDAS; CANO; CARVAJAL; SOUZA; DIAS; LUENGO; PALACIUS; PIQUER, ROCHA, RODRIGUEZ; RUBIALES; RUIZ, 2012.
GROVE MUSIC ONLINE, 2014.