The bassoon is a long pipe made of wood (usually maple for a beginner) with many keys pressed by both hands to change its pitch. If it were a human voice, its closest comparison is to that of a male baritone, with its warm, dark and reedy timbre.
Bassoons are often played in chamber music, concert band and orchestra, where they are the principal bass instrument in the woodwind family. In wind ensembles, the bassoon plays alongside the oboe, flute, horn and clarinet.
First mentioned in the 16th century, the bassoon developed from the English curtal, GemanDulzian or Italian Fagotto made from a single piece of wood with bores up and down the tube. Bassoon’s modern form was established in the 19th century by a German instrument maker.
The bassoon is played by holding it aslant on a sling, and blowing through the double reed fitted into a curved metal mouthpiece. As the instrument is blown, the column of air inside it vibrates, traveling to the bottom of the instrument and then coming back up to the top, creating low harmonies. The bassoon’s distinctive tone makes it ideal to be played in plaintive, lyrical solos, but in the orchestra, the bassoon disappears into the symphonies, which is perhaps why it attracts modest personalities.
Players who start on the bassoon may have already taken music lessons at home playing other reed instruments like the clarinet or saxophone. Part of the reason is the complexity of fingering the instrument, so an introduction to other reed instruments makes learning the bassoon a lot less challenging.
The bassoon is a big instrument, standing over 4 feet tall, so it requires patience and physical stamina (and others say extraordinarily long fingers) to play. Schoolchildren often start learning the bassoon in middle school (where its length is adjusted to the size of the player), achieving a modest level of proficiency after five years of daily practice.
For those who want to master the instrument, getting in home music lessons via an online music class might prove a better investment in music education, as the shortage of bassoonists makes it highly unlikely to find one. It’s the same shortage of bassoonists that makes them highly sought after by symphony orchestras. Having the opportunity to schedule an online music lesson that is as simple, convenient, and flexible and safe couldn’t get any easier.
Join in today at Live Music Tutor in 3 simple steps; create your profile, select your Bassoon Instructor and start learning today! Live Music Tutor is convenient – schedule lessons 24/7, customizable and user-friendly.