help instruments

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help instruments

Postby Doronk » Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:10 pm

hey, can someone please tell me what these instruments are:

Bassotti?
corno basso?
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby steltz » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:44 pm

Corno basso can refer to a couple of different things.

In orchestral terms, the horns are divided into "high horns" (the 1st and 3rd parts), and the "low horns" (the 2nd and 4th horns). The reason is that, with a 5-octave range, horn players pretty much have to specialize in one part or the other, unless they are one of those rare people who can play comfortably in the whole range (in which case they generally become a soloist anyway). So "Corno basso" can refer to one of the low horns in the orchestra. By the way, the reason they don't write the two high horns as 1st and 2nd is that the notes are too close together on the staff, so it's confusing to read. Instead, they put the 4 horn parts on 2 staves, and 1 and 2 are on the top staff, with each note a comfortable distance apart, one high and one low. Then 3 and 4 are on the bottom staff, each note a comfortable distance apart, one high and one low. All visually clear.

There is also apparently an organ stop (I'm not that familiar with organs, so i speak under correction) named "corno basso". However, it's a reed stop, so it has no connection to the brass family, but there is a "corno di bassetto", or a basset horn. This is actually a clarinet in the tenor range, pitched in F, and most famously used by Mozart in a couple of operas and the Requiem. This is probably where the name for the organ stop comes from.

Context will be everything here. If there is no other horn part, and particularly a higher horn part, it is unlikely to be the brass instrument, so probably the organ stop?

As to bassotti, in strict Italian, I think it's plural for the basset hound (a dog breed), and I've never seen it as an instrument name. However, I do have an Italian violinist colleague I can ask, and our university library has instrument dictionaries, so maybe I can find it in there.

It would help to know where you got these names from.
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby horndude77 » Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:05 am

steltz wrote:By the way, the reason they don't write the two high horns as 1st and 2nd is that the notes are too close together on the staff, so it's confusing to read. Instead, they put the 4 horn parts on 2 staves, and 1 and 2 are on the top staff, with each note a comfortable distance apart, one high and one low. Then 3 and 4 are on the bottom staff, each note a comfortable distance apart, one high and one low. All visually clear.


While that may be an added benefit I think the real reason is tradition. Horns didn't used to have valves. Composers like Haydn and Mozart used two horns most of the time. Later composers added two more horns in a different pitch and treated them like two separate horn sections. This let the composer get more open pitches out of the horns with out slow cumbersome crook changes. For example we recently played Chaminade's Flute concertino which uses two horns in F and two in E. (There are many other good examples but I can't think of any off the top of my head.) Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique starts with two horns in e-flat and two in c and even goes so far at one point (i believe) to have all four horns in different keys with most crook changes coming in between movements.

(I'd really like to know what a bassotti is also :) )
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby Melodia » Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:08 am

horndude77 wrote:(I'd really like to know what a bassotti is also :) )


The Googles do nothing!
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby steltz » Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:11 pm

My Italian violinist friend only knows the word "bassotti" as a common name for the sausage dog (not the basset hound, as I thought), so I am coming up blank for this so far.

I will look at the obscure instrument books tomorrow, but in the meantime, Doronk, I would really like to know where you found these names. I am driving myself nuts imagining which instruments look enough like a sausage dog to be called "bassotti"!!!

:lol:
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby gacl » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:10 am

"bassotti" as a common name for the sausage dog


Maybe this piece is by PDQ Bach! . .
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby audunsj » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:26 am

Could you provide us with the context of these terms? Is it from a score or a book or something else? If the Corno Basso is tuned in B then this is a fixed term and means that the horns are supposed to tranpose (from written to sounding pitch) down a 9th and not a 2nd like for example B-clarinets. Bassetto would be a metaphor for something long, rather thin and brownish/black and thus a lowtransposing ww-instrument would come to mind. The "sausage" dog (don't you call it a Dachsen in english?) has these qualities, and since it is quite a normal-sounding dog, it would not be because of the timbre. But the context might explain everything.
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby Lyle Neff » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:53 am

That's "dachshund" -- unfortunately it appears that we English speakers couldn't come up with our own word for that breed of dog. :shock:
"A libretto, a libretto, my kingdom for a libretto!" -- Cesar Cui (letter to Stasov, Feb. 20, 1877)
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby Lyle Neff » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:54 am

audunsj wrote:The "sausage" dog (don't you call it a Dachsen in english?)

That's "dachshund" -- unfortunately it appears that we English speakers couldn't come up with our own word for that breed of dog. :shock:
"A libretto, a libretto, my kingdom for a libretto!" -- Cesar Cui (letter to Stasov, Feb. 20, 1877)
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby steltz » Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:20 pm

The instrument books I have access to have nothing on "bassotti", so I am admitting defeat on this word, although not without one last stab at possibilities.

There is a "bassonetti", which appears to be a small bassoon.

And also, my Italian violinist friend, although she doesn't know the word in a musical sense, says it might be a large bassoon (i.e. contrabassoon), and in support of this says it may derive from "fagotti", hence "bassotti". A stretch, perhaps, but then Doronk has never written back as to what context this is in.
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby noqu » Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:53 pm

Lyle Neff wrote:That's "dachshund" -- unfortunately it appears that we English speakers couldn't come up with our own word for that breed of dog. :shock:

Hmm, funny - although the word "dachshund" is probably of German origin, there is actually no such German word in use today. The dog in question is called "Dackel" in German. Literally, "dachs-hund" would mean "badger-dog".

Sorry, not really on topic ...
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby Doronk » Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:36 pm

thanks guys, i was just looking and the rimsky korsakov trombone concerto to see the instruments in a wind band and it has bassotti in F and B, so if you can download the score, than maybe you might be able to figure it out
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby steltz » Sat Jun 06, 2009 4:26 pm

AHa!, that helps a bit.

The Corno Basso is a horn part in Bb, so as audunsj says, this is a horn part where the transposition is 9th lower. This one is definitely now solved.

The "Bassotti" is situated between the clarinets and bassoons, so it could be in either family, but at least we are getting closer -- it definitely is a reed instrument!

Might be a basset horn, but I have never heard of those being used in wind bands. In addition, although they are pitched in F, I've never heard of one in Bb, although I could be wrong.

Let me do some more digging . . . . .
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby horndude77 » Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:29 pm

Looking at the score, corno basso is definitely __not__ a horn.
  • It isn't near the horns in the score
  • It's written in bass clef and unison with the 'Bassi' often. (Are these 'Bassi' tubas?)
  • It's in between cornets and trumpets.

I'm betting it's something related to a euphonium.

Also I agree that the bassotti is most likely basset horns.
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Re: help instrumnts!!!!!!!

Postby Doronk » Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:16 pm

i also thought they were basset horns but aren't basset horns only in F
and I found something about the basso corno basso:

1 website says that it's a horn that transposes down a 9th
and another says it's an instrument called the bombardon

very confused????????????????????????????????????
( couldn't he have just written out the instruments in english ;) )
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