Not currently on display at the V&A

Bass Recorder

1570 - 1620 (Made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

From about 1500 until 1650, recorders were often played in consort, in as many as eight different pitches, ranging from sopranino to great bass: this example, a bass recorder, was the third lowest in pitch. It could have been made in Germany or in Northern Italy, possibly in Venice, where the finest recorders were reputedly made and where Silvestro Ganassi published one of the earliest tutors, or instruction manuals, Opera Intitulata Fontegara (1535).


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Turned and bored boxwood with bronze keys
Brief Description
Bass recorder, boxwood with brass keys, German?, 1570-1620
Physical Description
'Boxwood in one piece, with brass mounts. The holes are steeply undercut, obliquely in the cases of front holes 1, 3, 4 and 6. A fish-tailed brass key, with brass leaf spring and leather pad stitched on with thread, is partially enclosed within a removable boxwood barrel pierced with six rosettes of airholes. At the top of the instrument is a removable cap (probably not original) with a blowing hole not quite in the centre of the top. Under the cap, the upper end of the instrument is partially cut away, presumably to make a space to contain a sponge for absorbing condensed moisture, leaving the full length of the wind-way intact.'



Anthony Baines, Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-Keyboard Instruments (London, 1978), p. 85.
Dimensions
  • Including the cap at the top length: 84cm
  • Without the cap at the top length: 81cm
  • Diameter or bore of top finger hole diameter: 3.1cm
  • Diameter or bore of bottom finger hole diameter: 2.7cm
  • Sounding length length: 75.5cm
Measurements supplied by Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), p. 85
Marks and Inscriptions
\ / (Two 'plume' marks, on the front below the voicing aperture and also on the bottom surface of the foot.)
Gallery Label
BASS RECORDER About 1600; possibly German or North Italian The instrument is made of one piece of boxwood with brass mounts and marked with plume 'marks'. Non-Keyboard Catalogue No.: 20/1 Recorders were played in consort, and came in as many as eight sizes, ranging from Sopranino to Great Bass, the bass being the third lowest in pitch. One of the earliest tutors, Opera Intitulata Fontegara, was published by Silvestro Ganassi in Venice in 1535. Michael Praetorius (1571-1621), the German composer and author of the treatise Syntagma Musicum , said 'a complete set such as this can be procured in Venice for about eighty thaler'. 303-1882(pre September 2000)
Object history
This instrument formed part of the collections of Carl Engel (1818 - 1882) and was sold to the museum for £3.
Summary
From about 1500 until 1650, recorders were often played in consort, in as many as eight different pitches, ranging from sopranino to great bass: this example, a bass recorder, was the third lowest in pitch. It could have been made in Germany or in Northern Italy, possibly in Venice, where the finest recorders were reputedly made and where Silvestro Ganassi published one of the earliest tutors, or instruction manuals, Opera Intitulata Fontegara (1535).
Bibliographic Reference
Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), p. 85
Collection
Accession Number
303-1882

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record createdMay 16, 2001
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