Development of the Heckelphone

8. January 2019 By Comments Off

In October 1879, Wilhelm Heckel was appointed to Bayreuth at the instigation of the Viennese Court Chapel Master, Wilhelm Jahn. There he met with Richard Wagner to present to him his newly constructed bassoon and, for the first time, his newly constructed contrabassoon. Richard Wagner, who was enthusiastic about the Heckel instruments, mentioned at this meeting that he was still missing a final element within the double-reed instruments. He longed for an instrument whose tone lay one octave lower than the oboe and at the same time had the soft and powerful sound of the Alpenhorn. Wilhelm Heckel and his sons then set to work to develop an instrument with such a sound and developed the heckelphone in 1904.

Wagner on Wilhelm Heckel's newly constructed contrabassoon.