Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The W. Milhouse, c.1800

This post is the fourth in a series under the tag "Baroque Bassoon". Click here to see all of the posts under this tag.

W. Milhouse a415
An instrument with a very interesting history, it landed into my lap soon after I took my first course in the baroque bassoon three years ago. Though it was originally intended to play at a higher pitch, somewhere around a425, the instrument was modified and given a long bocal made by Guntram Wolf settling it at a415. The instrument was owned by Robin Howell, who restored the instrument, before it came into my hands.

Though it is an instrument of the 'classical' era, Milhouse was modeling it on an older instrument, as attested to by graphs produced by Matthew Dart of several English bassoons by the Stanesby and Milhouse families. Though William had made advancements in the design of the wing joint, my instrument came with a copy of a Stanesby Sr. wing which suits the instrument quite nicely.

The original wing and boot joint show markings of keys which were once placed on the instrument. The original holes have been sealed with wax and the posts stripped, their seats glued up.

To many, the instrument looks like it came out of a Mary Shelley novel, but, take it from me, it doesn't play the way it looks.

Note the heavy usage of the E hole
and the markings of what used to be
an F# key
The 'outie' low Eb key

Stay tuned for the next instrument, a copy by Guntram Wolf of a bassoon marked "HKICW".

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