Repertoire for dulcians

In the 16th and 17th centuries quite some music has been written where dulcians can be used.

From the 16th and early 17th century polyphonic renaissance repertoire many pieces can be performed on dulcians. This can be done either with a full consort of dulcians or with one or more voices played by dulcians in a broken consort. With this repertoire one in general doesn't find sources where a certain instrument is prescribed. A few sources contain notes by the musicians where can be seen what instruments have been preferred by players of that time for a certain piece, but even that is an exception.

In the 17th century this practice gradually changes. More and more composers give a preferred instrumentation for a piece. And, we start finding solo repertoire for the bass dulcian, a small excerpt of that can be found below. With the 17th century solo repertoire we must realize that it is not always clear when a bass dulcian or when a (early) baroque bassoon was asked for. For instance, some of the De Selma pieces go down to low B-flat, a note not present on the dulcians as we know them. This could lead to the conclusion that this music was written for the baroque bassoon. However, De Selma, as one of the famous dulcian players of his time, could have had a special dulcian with an extended bell to play the low B-flat, what then perhaps could have been a prototype pre baroque bassoon. What leaves us with a lot of questions and almost no answers. The only thing that is relatively sure is that the baroque bassoon as we know it appeared at the end of the 17th century and De Selma most probably can not have had an instrument of that type.


17th Century solo dulcian repertoire

Baroque sonatas featuring one or more dulcians


Remarks and comment to: Hans Mons


© Copyright 2000-2010 by Hans Mons.
Last updated on 11 October 2010