Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The bombardon was the very first bass wind instrument fitted with valves, and it was at first known as the corno basso, clavicor or bass horn (not to be confounded with the bass horn with keys, which on being perfected became the ophicleide). The name was attached more to the position of the wind instruments as bass than to the individual instrument. The original corno basso was a brass instrument of narrow bore with the pistons set horizontally. The valve-ophicleide in F of German make had a wider bore and three vertical pistons, but it was only a "half instrument," measuring about 12 ft. A. Kalkbrenner, in his life of W. Wieprecht (1882), states that in the Jager military bands of Prussia the corno basso (keyed bass horn) was introduced as bass in 1829, and the bombardon (or valve-ophicleide) in 1831; in the Guards these instruments were superseded in 1835 by the bass tuba invented by Wieprecht and J. G. Moritz.