Latest Music :
Home » » Bassoon



The bassoon is the tenor member of the woodwind family. Like the oboe it has a double reed and overblows an octave higher. It is considered to have a tone color similar to that of the human voice, particularly in the central and upper register. The bassoon is slightly over 8 feet long. Playing it is facilitated by doubling the tube back on itself and by closing the distance between the widely-spaced holes with a complex system of keywork. It disassembles into five main pieces: the bell, extending upward; the bass (or long) joint, connecting the bell and the boot; the boot (or butt), at the bottom of the instrument and folding over on itself; the wing joint, which extends from boot to bocal; and the bocal (or crook), a crooked metal tube which attaches wing joint to reed.

The instrument is played either by a seated player sitting on a strap attached to the bottom of the instrument, or held with a neck strap. The instrument, in either case, extends diagonally across the player's body, a bit like a saxophone.

The range of the bassoon begins at B♭1 (the first one below the bass staff) and extends upward a little more than three octaves (roughly to the D on the treble staff); higher notes are possible but difficult to produce and rarely called for (the opening solo in The Rite of Spring is one notable example of the extreme high range). Bassoon music is written in bass clef, untransposed, while the tenor clef is frequently used for the high register and, in rare cases, the treble clef. Its closest relative, the contrabassoon (or double bassoon), sounds an octave lower. The bassoon overblows at the octave (above F on the bass clef) with the aid of a "whisper key" (a kind of reverse octave key) that opens in the higher registers.

The double reed used is 53-58 mm in total length, and made of Arundo donax cane. The bassoon (and contra) are alone in the woodwind family in that they are both fingered with Heckel-system keywork, a descendant of the original Baroque fingering system, as opposed to the otherwise ubiquitous Boehm system. An alternate, unrelated, fingering system is used in France; but in the US and most of Europe the Heckel system is dominant.

Works featuring the bassoon
Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Bassoon Concerto in F major, W75
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Bassoon Concerto in B♭ major, K191
Carl Maria von Weber, Andante e Rondo ungarese in C minor, op. 35
Carl Maria von Weber, Bassoon Concerto in F major, op. 75
Igor Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring (opens with a famously unorthodox bassoon solo)
Sergei Prokofiev, Peter and the Wolf (possibly the most-recognized bassoon theme, the part of the grandfather)
Edvard Grieg, In the Hall of the Mountain King
Paul Dukas, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, widely recognized as used in the movie Fantasia

Jazz and Improvised Music

While bassoon is rather rare in jazz and free improvisation, there have been a few notable players:

Karen Borca
Lindsay Cooper
All lyrics are property and copyright of their owners.
All lyrics provided for educational purposes only.Music Feeders 2011
Template Modify by Creating Website
Proudly powered by Blogger