Definition of heckelphone in English:



  • A woodwind instrument resembling a large oboe, with a range about an octave lower.

    • ‘A bass or baritone oboe, an octave below the treble, has always been rare, though composers do occasionally write for it and the wider-bore but otherwise similar heckelphone.’
    • ‘For a while last year they had a heckelphone on their second-hand list for a little over £20 000.’
    • ‘As an oboist, he has performed orchestral, chamber and contemporary music; he also plays the heckelphone.’
    • ‘Perhaps also the bass-oboe or heckelphone come into this way of thinking, although some solo and chamber works for these instruments are coming to be known.’
    • ‘It is thought that there are less than 100 heckelphones in the world.’
    • ‘The heckelphone was developed in response to Richard Wagner's request when he visited the Heckel factory, a German bassoon manufacturer, in the late nineteenth century.’
    • ‘Other unusual instruments such as guitars, saxophones, bass flutes, heckelphones, Wagner tubas, and so on may be used as well, depending upon the music’
    • ‘For example, the heckelphone part in his Alpine Symphony descends to F, four notes lower than the range of any heckelphone ever built!’
    • ‘Casts and orchestras are kept small: no heckelphones or Wagner tubas in his scoring.’
    • ‘The demand for heckelphones is not high…’


Early 20th century: from German Heckelphon, named after Wilhelm Heckel (1856–1909), German instrument-maker, on the pattern of saxophone.