© MIM Photo Anne Deknock
  • IND ?> Inv. number


  • CN/NP ?> Common name / Nominal Pitch

    Bass oboe in C or D

  • TS ?> Type or system

    2 keys

  • MK ?> Maker


    (Facsimile of the I.C. Denner MI94 Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg).

  • PL ?> Place of origin Brussels
  • DM ?> Date of making Late 19th century, before 1883.
  • MATERIALS Maple with brass keys.
  • Body Length c.991mm
  • TJ length (body + tenon) 342mm + 33mm
  • MJ length (body +tenon) 347.1mm + 38mm
  • B length 302.2mm
  • Acoustic Length c.522mm
  • BORE
  • Minimal bore c.9.7mm
  • Reed well diameter 13.0mm
  • Bore at end of TJ 16.3mm
  • Bore at top of MJ 16.3mm
  • Bore at end of MJ 23.6mm
  • Bore at top of B 24mm

    Brass keys with square flat flaps, type Young-A.

    Raised key rings circular.

    SATB (springs attached to the body).

    Very long bell with inner rim and 2 vent-holes.

    3rd and 4th hole single. (H3 ø 4.5mm – H4 ø 7.9mm).

  • FL ?> Faults

    Good condition.

  • PA ?> Playing Accessories

    Mahillon (R1978) Vol.II p.262 depicts this instrument with a crook and reed. These are not together with the instrument any more.

  • UP ?> Usable Pitch

    Pitch could not be estimated accurately lack of an adequate crook, and the depicted crook could not be located. Therefore – using the Mahillon drawing (R1978) Vol.II p.262 as a guideline – 4 different crooks with different lengths and diameters – all more or less matching the reed well diameter – were used from the museum collection (see picture).



    Another indication is the total length given by Mahillon being 121cm, which means including reed and crook with an exposed length of 219mm.


    According to Mahillon “...the effect of this instrument is half a tone below the actual pitch...”, (meaning c.1880, A = c.410Hz, SV). The scale illustrates the instrument notes in F-clef, being one octave below the oboe, the lowest note being a C# in stead of a low C, according to Mahillon.


    Depending on the reed set-up (crook and reed), the playing result can be quite different. Testing with the 4 different crooks mentioned above, it gave in all cases a pitch of an octave lower than an oboe, at various usable pitches and thus various nominal pitches. Best result obtained was:

    A = c.415Hz with crook TL 254mm ø 3.9mm + 8.5mm / total exposure 273.8mm and a bassoon-type reed TL 56.7mm / tip width 15.7mm / scrape 30mm / bottom ø 5.4mm, making it a bass oboe in C at Cammerton.

    A = c.440Hz with crook TL 178mm ø 4.2mm + 9.2mm and the same reed, making it a bass oboe in D at Tief Cammerton or a bass oboe in C at Chorton.


    Bruce Haynes (private communication) believes that with this kind of large bore instruments often different usable and nominal pitches can be obtained depending on the reed set-up. The flexibility of both the embouchure, the reed and the instrument would do the rest to make it a workable combination for oboe band repertoire and basic tonalities.

  • PC ?> Performance Characteristics

    Open bassoon-like and powerful sound. Flexible instrument. Shading for G# is possible. Nevertheless it is not clear if this facsimile instrument was really made to be played, or for display only.

  • PO ?> Previous Ownership

    Ex-Mahillon V. & J.

    The museum acquisition date is unclear, but most probably 1883.

    SU Specific Usage: According to De Keyser & Willaert (2006) pp.82–3 the primary function of the facsimiles made for and by the museum was to fill up the gaps in the collection. In the late 19th century there were museum concerts on the historical instruments, but as far as the author knows, there was no historical oboe involved in these, and certainly no oboe bands.

  • FM ?> Further information on maker

    See De Keyser (1996) Vol.III pp.623–5, and De Keyser & Willaert (2006) pp.88–9 on Franz de Vestibule.

  • SR ?> Specific literature Reference

    MIM 0985:


    Nuremberg GNM MI94:

    • Hailperin (1975B) in GSJ XVIII p.130, amending Young (1967) in GSJ XX p.12, on the instrument type.
    • Baines (1966) picture 564 (‘Bass oboe’) in photo section (no page number).
  • IR ?> Illustration reference

    Mahillon (R1978) Vol.II p.262 (drawing, with a crook and reed).

  • GL ?> General literature (about this type of instrument)

    Finkelman (1998) Teil I pp.278–9, advocating that the member of the oboe-family below the Taille de Hautbois is the Quinte de Hautbois in D.

    Adkins (2001) (about Denner).

  • Comparable instruments

    Nürnberg: Germanisches Nationalmuseum MI94, being the J.C.Denner orginal of this facsimile. See Kirnbauer (1994) pp.159–61.

  • Remarks

    Apparentely a very accurate copy of the Nürnberg MI94 I.C. Denner bass oboe, with identical measures, including the bore.


    Mahillon (R1978) Vol.II p.261: "Hautbois ténor. Facsimilé d'un instrument de C. Denner conservè au Musée Germanique de Nuremberg".

    At the time of Mahillon the French “Hautbois ténor” was synonymous with the ‘hautbois baryton’, meaning an instrument that played one octave below the treble oboe. See Pierre (1893) p.317 (“...hautbois baryton, dit aussi « hautbois-ténor » sonnant une octave plus bas que le hautbois…”).


    It is not certain whether this instrument is made in Brussels or in Nuremberg. According to De Keyser (2006) p.85 the archive notes from Mahillon seem to suggest that this instrument was made in the Brussels museum workshop. In that case the actual manufacturer of this facsimile instrument would most probably be Franz de Vestibule (1849-1920), an instrument maker and repair man, who worked in the Mahillon workshop and later on in the Museum workshop. He made numerous facsimile instruments for the museum and kept the museum instruments in playing condition.


    Possibly pear-wood according to Charles Indekeu.