Basset Clarinet

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The basset clarinet, sometimes called the basset horn, is a type of woodwind instrument that was most popular in the 18th and 19th century in classical music. In comparison to the modern clarinet, the basset clarinet is slightly longer, has a lower range and features a curved bell at the bottom to give additional resonance to the instrument.
History of the Basset Clarinet
The inventor and exact origin of the basset clarinet is widely disputed but it appeared in the 18th century to extend the range of a clarinet down to small c. The story goes that a partnership was struck between composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, clarinet player Anton Stadley and clarinet builder Theodore Lotz to create the basset clarinet in Vienna.Mozart famously wrote a clarinet concerto for the basset clarinet during this time but was unfortunately unable to write much more as the instrument fell out of favour shortly after this time. The instrument still exists today after there was a short renaissance in the 19th century for the basset clarinet and old written accounts paired with diagrams allowed instrument producers to replicate this forgotten instrument. Nowadays the basset clarinet is rare to find but there are still producers making this historically-significant instrument. The basset clarinet has also been referred to as a basset horn, bass clarinet and bassinet clarinet.
Inventor: Anton Stadler and Theodor Lotz

Where to Buy

£400 - £8,000

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How to Play

A clarinet with an extended range that includes several additional low notes. It is played by blowing air through a mouthpiece and using finger holes to change the pitch.

In Popular Music

Basset clarinet may have featured in multiple popular songs that use a clarinet sound including: 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' and 'When I'm Sixty Four' both by The Beatles.

Famous Players

Anton Stadler, Karl Leister

Close Relations

Bass Clarinet, Contrabass Clarinet
Video Credit: Classic FM
Understanding the Basset Clarinet
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Small

Size

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Germany

Country

18th century

Year

Woodwind

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