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Profiles of Musical Instruments

The following are alphabetical order profiles of 27 musical instruments. Information in these profiles includes:

1) The instrument(s family. 2) How the instrument is the same as or differs from others in the same family. 3) How the instrument is made. 4) How it is played. 5) An interesting fact about its history.

BASS CLARINET: Woodwind family. Differs from other clarinets for its lower register and large tone holes that are covered by plates rather than fingers. It compares to the soprano clarinet in its range. Many early ones were pitched in C( as replacements for bassoons rather than as new wind instruments, but with their increased acceptance in the orchestra, bass clarinets in B flat and A register became more popular. It is made of metal tubing with valves. Lip instrument. As a solo instrument, the bass clarinet dates to the 18th century.

BASSOON: Woodwind family. Wooden conical instrument sounded with a double reed, it links with tenor and bass to the woodwinds. It differs from the other woodwinds in being doubled back on its bore like a hairpin. It is this bore conformation combined with wall thickness that tield its tone qualities. It is usually made of maplewood. Until WWII, this wood was seasoned up to 12 years, then machined in stages. Today, a modern drying process is used and the wood is impregnated under pressure to stabilize its inner structure. The fine tuning is done by hand. Thus, the bassoon is a good deal more expensive than most other woodwinds. It is played by holding is obliquely across the body and supported by an adjustable sling around the neck or shoulder attached to a ring on its butt, or by a seat strap latching to the end of the butt cap. Its earliest known use in opera was in Cesti(s (Il Pomo D(Oro( (1668), where it was grouped with cornets and trombones.

Serge Prokofiev used the bassoon in Peter and the Wolf for the character of the grandfather. CELLO aka VIOLINCELLO. String family. This i...

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