Bassoon (14 keys)

Catalogue number: 5.2

Original name: Bassoon.

Type or system: 14 keys.

Maker: Unknown.

Place of origin: Unknown, c.1850.

The instrument has been well used, judging by the grooves made round the finger-holes, and has also been kept reasonably polished. It is possible that the maker(s) could be a) Tourlat (fl. -1850-); b) F. Tournier & P. Goumas (fl. 1855-59); or c) Tournier-Martin (1876-p.1911), although the absence of the low Bb key makes it unlikely to be this late. Another possible maker is Savary.

Overall size: 1240mm.

Bore: Wing joint: crook receiver, 13.5mm av. - 15.5mm; boot: 16mm av. - 23.5mm av.; long joint: 24mm av. - 34mm; bell: 34mm - 34mm.

Technical description: Four sections of light wood, possible boxwood.

Bell: 306mm; long joint: 498mm; wing joint: 462mm; boot: 436mm;and crook.

14 brass keys with round, flat key heads, mounted in brass saddles. Two harmonic keys linked to crook key. Overlapping touches on B, C and D keys. Brass rollers on F and A flat key touches.

Tenons bound with string; this instrument has tuning devices on the tenor and long joints, consisting of a cog mechanism operated by turning a screw. Turning each of these would result in the pitch being kept steady when tuning, as opposed to when pulling out the crook only.

To compensate the resulting change of position of the keys, they too have extensions, and to keep them in the correct place, they each have metal “needles” which are placed into a hole.

Classical styled bell, without the “modern” low Bb key attached to it. Crook key (interestingly, on the inside of the crook, directly opposite the player).

Key work and finger holes.

Left hand thumb:

B flat, B, C, C sharp, D, E flat, harm 1, harm 2.

Left hand, first finger:


Left hand, second finger:


Left hand, third finger:


Left hand, fourth finger:

Crook key.

Right hand, thumb:

T, F sharp.

Right hand, first finger:


Right hand, second finger:


Right hand, third finger:


Right hand, fourth finger:

F, A flat.

Inscription: Stamped on the back of the boot: “A PARIS / [motif: circle with radial lines] / 1814” Stamped on the front of the boot, bell, tenor and long joints: [motif] / [cursive text] / [cursive text] / “A PARIS” / [motif]. The text on all the joints is not clear enough to make a positive reading of a name.

Faults: Cracks: bell (small), long joint (on the lower part: it consists of two placed opposite each other, possibly irreparable), and boot (small). Crook has no number and has been shortened.

Illustration references: See below.

Gallery of Images