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Out of the bass register - uncovering the organology, pedagogy, and performance practice of small-sized bassoons from the 18th and 19th centuries

English title Out of the bass register - uncovering the organology, pedagogy, and performance practice of small-sized bassoons from the 18th and 19th centuries
Applicant Drescher Thomas
Number 192375
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Schola Cantorum Basiliensis Musik Akademie Basel FHNW
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (without UTE) - FHNW
Main discipline Musicology
Start/End 01.05.2020 - 30.04.2023
Approved amount 878'304.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Material Sciences

Keywords (10)

Fagottino; Historically Informed Performance Practice (HIP); Reconstruction; Historical wind instruments; Tenoroon; Bassoon; Organology; 3D printing technology; Musicology; Music Pedagogy

Lay Summary (German)

Basierend auf Vorarbeiten des Forschungsteams widmet sich das anwendungsorientierte Projekt der Organologie, der Spielkultur und der pädagogischen Verwendung von kleinformatigen Fagotten des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts.
Lay summary

Mehr als 110 kleinformatige Fagotte aus dem 18. und 19. Jahrhundert sind als «fagottini», «bassonetti», «tenoroon» etc. in öffentlichen und privaten Sammlungen weltweit bekannt. Durch ungenaue Bezeichnungen in den Quellen und die Unkenntnis der musikalischen Zusammenhänge blieben viele Fragen zu Merkmalen, Funktion, Repertoire und musikalischer Praxis dieser Instrumente bisher offen. Diese Lücken möchte das Forschungsprojekt schliessen.

Ein ausführlicher Katalog der existierenden Instrumente und der musikalischen Quellen wird erweitert. Als Fallstudien werden vier ausgewählte historische Modelle zunächst mit innovativer 3D-CT- und 3D-Print-Technik sowie anschliessend in traditioneller Bauweise repliziert und miteinander verglichen. Ein besonderes Merkmal der Methodik ist der Einbezug empirischer Erkenntnisse durch professionelle Spielerinnen und Spieler, die dem Forschungsteam angehören.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext
Das Projekt kombiniert technische, historische und musikpraktische Ansätze. Der Einbezug neuer Technologien ermöglicht weiterführende Erfahrungen für den Instrumentenbau und die Forschung. Alle Ergebnisse dienen dazu, die kleinformatigen Instrumente in die musikalische Praxis und die Pädagogik des Fagottspiels zurückzubringen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 29.04.2020

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
173363 Fagottini and tenoroons - small, forgotten giants. Exploring the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century history, repertoire and usage of small-scale bassoons in performance and pedagogy 01.10.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)


The existence of more than 110 surviving small-sized bassoons from the 18th and 19th centuries was established during the recently completed SNSF pilot project (100016_176333), “Fagottini and tenoroons: small, forgotten giants”, practically tripling the number originally estimated. It is compulsory to evaluate the overwhelming amount of new data now gathered in order to completely assess the significance of these important instruments in the bassoon family, understanding how they were used, and in what music they were played. The goal of this proposed second-phase project is to exhaustively investigate the organology, repertoire, pedagogy, and performance practice of small-sized bassoons. The method used is a multi-disciplinary historical overview that brings context to repertoire and organology, together with an empirical research approach based on observation and experience, such as performative viewpoints and experimentation with original and reconstructed instruments. The proposed team of qualified and specialized researchers were engaged in the completed SNSF pilot project. Primary research areas and objectives are: -The continued collection and evaluation of organological data. Reconstructions of four selected models of small-scale bassoons will initially use innovative 3D-CT scanning and 3-D printing technology to create synthetic prototypes, followed by conventionally constructed wooden models, enabling a thorough evaluation of organological and musical qualities of varying sizes and types in performance and pedagogical trials. The foundation for this part of the project is the completion of an open-access catalogue of small-sized bassoons with datasets containing supplementary material, consisting of relevant measurement data necessary for comparisons, evaluations and reconstructions. Datasets for about one third of the surviving instruments have already been published online at the data repository Zenodo; our goal is to document at least 35 additional small-sized bassoons in the scope of the proposed study, enabling an evaluation of data based on a representative number. - The continued evaluation of sources about historical pedagogy, performance, and players. As in-depth historical and musicological research is carried out, pedagogical and performance concepts based on analysis and practical trials will be concurrently and methodically developed, leading to new approaches towards performance and pedagogy including small-sized bassoons, based on historical traditions. As part of the implementation of a reviewing system of repertoire created in the two-year pilot project, newly-discovered titles specifying small-sized instruments and additional suggested repertoire are being published online. The suggested repertoire list will be continuously expanded and updated in an open-access format.