Comments by conductors caused popularity to tumble?
Until the 19th century, the German-style bassoon and the French-style basson were equally popular as low-pitch woodwind instruments. The background to the decline in popularity of the basson seems to have been influential actions by orchestral conductors. First, in the 1930s, was the influence of Italian orchestral conductor Arturo Toscanini during his tenure as conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. In America at that time the German-style instrument was most common, while in Europe the basson was dominant. Toscanini promoted the German style in Europe for its superiority, in terms of offering more accurate pitch during performances. Then, in 1969 when Herbert von Karajan became conductor of the Orchestre de Paris, he made comments to the musicians such as, "Are you still playing the basson?" When the bassoon is spoken of today it is the German-style instrument to which the term refers, but there are still many who love the basson, and it is still used in French-speaking world.