Friday, May 5, 2017

Beginner's Guide to BASSOONS

Two bassoons made of black maple, with silver-...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A musical instrument that belongs to the woodwind family, the bassoon is a reed instrument that plays below or within the tenor range. It is made of a reed, a bocal, a butt, a boot, a bass, and a bell. 

 The bassoon produces a unique tone color and has a thick and reedy timbre. It is an agile instrument that has a wide range and a variety of character. It is part of the concert band, orchestral, and chamber music literature, appearing in the 1800s.

Bassoons are known in various names for different countries: the Italian fagotto, the German fagot, and the French basson.

Material characteristics

The bassoon was traditionally made of maple wood, but modern versions are typically made of polypropylene or ebonite. Today, bassoons are available in either wood or plastic. Wood bassoons are still the material of choice for most experiences and professional bassoonists. They are tuned in a high D pitch and have silver-plated keys. They also come with accessories, such as a seat strap, a crutch, two reeds, neck strap, and drop swabs. 

Plastic bassoons, on the other hand, are ideal for use by students and amateurs. They are made of durable polypropylene, making them outlast even the most rigorous practices. They have nickel silver or nickel-plated keys and have spring posts secured by screws and epoxy. They have a closed D hole and plateau key to avoid finger stretching.

Use of bassoons

Bassoons are used in wind ensembles, symphony orchestras, and jazz bands. A modern symphony orchestra usually needs two bassoons, with an additional contrabassoon. Some orchestral works may call for four or more players. The first bassoon player can be called upon to perform solos.

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