BASSET HORN, a wood-wind instrument, which is not really a horn but a member of the clarinet family, of which it is the tenor. It consists of a nearly cylindrical tube of wood (generally cocus or box-wood), having a cylindrical bore and terminating in a metal bell wider than that of the clarinet. The basset horn has the same fingering as the clarinet, and corresponds to the tenor of that instrument, being pitched a fifth below the clarinet in C.
Among the great masters, Mozart seems to have been particularly appreciative of this beautiful instrument which he em ployed in his Requiem, in the opera La Clemenza di Tito, in Zauberflote, and else where. Beethoven used it in his Prome theus overture and Richard Strauss em ploys it in Die Frau ohne Schatten.
The invention of the basset horn in 177o is ascribed to a clarinet maker of Passau, named Horn—whence the instrument de rived its misleading name.