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The earliest ancestor of the bassoon was the bass pommer, bombard, or bass shawm. The instrument was long and perfectly straight with a metal crook fitted in the small end.

In the early part of the sixteenth century, Canon Alfranio was making instruments called phagotum, in which a long tube was bent back on itself several times. This idea, when applied to the bombard, produced the curtal--the direct ancestor of the bassoon. The phagotum itself was no relation to the bassoon, it being a form of bagpipe, but in it, Afranio was responsible for the idea used in bassoon construction. This instrument is where the bassoon got the name (French)--fagotte.



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