The contrabassophone is a woodwind instrument, invented about 1847 by German bassoon maker Heinrich Joseph Haseneier.[1] It was intended as a substitute for the contrabassoon, which at that time was an unsatisfactory instrument, with a muffled sound due to tone holes that were too small and too close together. Haseneier's design made use of some of the same principles that went into the Boehm system flute, in which keywork was developed based on tone holes with acoustically optimum sizes and positions. The contrabassophone's bore was substantially larger (by about a third) than that of the contrabassoon, and the result was an instrument with a powerful tone. Indeed, it was regarded as too loud for orchestral use, though it was suitable for outdoor use in military bands.[2] Many other European makers produced copies of the contrabassophone, including a lightweight version made of papier-mâché.[1]

Adolphe Fontaine-Besson patented a similar instrument in 1890 but allowed the patent to lapse in 1898.[2] By this time the contrabassophone had been largely superseded by improved versions of the contrabassoon for orchestral use, and by the tuba in wind bands.

External links

  • The Contrabassophone at Contrabass Mania. (Note: The implication that only Haseneier and Morton made contrabassophones, and in very limited numbers, appears to be based on a misunderstanding of Dibley's article.[2])


  1. ^ a b "Double Bassoon History". Vienna Symphonic Library. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  2. ^ a b c Dibley, Tom (April 2000). "A Contrabassophone by Alfred Morton". Galpin Society Journal (Galpin Society) 53: 60–77. doi:10.2307/842317. JSTOR 842317.  Online copy (JSTOR subscription required), retrieved 19 March 2007.