Bass oboe

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The bass oboe or baritone oboe is a double reed instrument in the woodwind family. It is about twice the size of a regular (soprano) oboe and sounds an octave lower; it has a deep, full tone not unlike that of its higher-pitched cousin, the English horn. The bass oboe is notated in the treble clef, sounding one octave lower than written. Its lowest note is B<sub>2</sub> (in scientific pitch notation), one octave and a semitone below middle C, although an extension may be inserted between the lower joint and bell of the instrument in order to produce a low B-flat<sub>2</sub>. The instrument's bocal or crook first curves away from and then toward the player (unlike the bocal/crook of the English horn and oboe d'amore), and looks rather like a flattened metal question mark. The bass oboe uses its own double reed, similar to but larger than that of the English horn.


Early bass oboes were either like bassoons, in that they had a boot joint and bocal (such as Triebert's instruments, which still had a bulb bell) and some holes drilled obliquely, or they were enlarged English horns. The concept of the bass oboe as an enlarged English horn survived, and an hautbois baryton redesigned by François Lorée was introduced in 1889.

During Frederick Delius's time in Paris at the end of the 19th century, this instrument came to his notice, and upon Delius's return to England other English composers also became interested in the idea of a bass member of the...
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