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Virtual Tour of
Muzika! A Celebration of Czech and Slovak Music



Basset Recorder attributed to Arzazius or Hans Schnitzer,
Munich or Imperial City of Nürnberg, ca. 1550

NMM 3606.  Basset recorder attributed to Arzazius or Hans Schnitzer, Munich or Imperial City of Nürnberg, ca. 1550. Right side of basset recorder. Back of basset recorder Left side of basset recorder.

Front, right side, back, and left side views.

NMM 3606. Bass (basset) recorder in G attributed to Arzazius or Hans Schnitzer, Munich or Imperial City of Nürnberg, ca. 1550. One piece, boxwood with brass trim, thumbhole and six fingerholes. Length, 91.8 cm.  Ex coll.: Canon Francis W. Galpin, Harlow, England. Arne B. & Jeanne F. Larson Fund, 1985.

One of a set of instruments built for use by the Rožmberk Court Band at Rožmberk Castle in Český Krumlov, Bohemia, an ensemble established in 1552 and enlarged during the years up to 1599, when a surviving inventory of the Hofkapelle was taken. At that time, most instruments played in Bohemia came from German and Italian makers.

The Rožmberks, in power for three hundred years (1302-1602), were humanists, patrons of the arts, and prominent politicians in the Bohemian kingdom. The castle was sold in 1602 to Emperor Rudolf II von Hapsburg. Five other instruments built for the Rožmberks by the same maker survive at the National Museum of Czech Music (Národní Muzeum) in Prague.

Stamped twice just below the windway exit with the same maker's mark that is also found on five srayffaiff (schreyerpfeife) from Rožmberk Castle, now in the National Museum of Czech Music in Prague. Note: Click anywhere on this image to see an enlargement of the maker's stamps.

Windway and maker's marks

Fontenelle covers swallow-tail key mechanism. Swallow-tail key mechanism

One brass key with swallowtail touchpiece and a flat, round cover with the pad sewn to the cover, a heavy brass spring attached to the wood, all of this covered with a perforated wood fontanelle (sleeve).

Swallowtail touchpieces found on early bass recorders, shawms, and oboes, provided players the choice of placing either their right hand above the left or the left hand above the right, before the latter became the standard hand position.



Schnitzer's basset recorder is played by blowing into a hole in the lip of a cap on the upper end of the instrument.

Blow hole


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