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Topic: Bassoon part help

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  1. #1

    Question Bassoon part help

    Are there any bassoonists here?

    I'd like anyone's opinion on the general playability of the below passage. How difficult is it? Any troubling fingering? The tempo is Q=110 and the passage would be very exposed. It's in a pretty high register, so I thought I'd go for any expert advice we might have here.
    Thanks in advance for any help!
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: Bassoon part help

    Maybe this can help. From THE STUDY OF ORCHESTRATION by Samuel Adler: The bassoon is superb in all of its registers...has a tendency to get swallowed up by the sound of other instruments, especially in its higher registers.
    The extreme upper 5th does not project,,if it's accompanied.., the dynamics of the accompanist must be soft...

    Upward slurs can be played with great rapidity, and large skips are easily performed. ...downward skips are very difficult.
    Trills are most effective on bassoon...
    Gary

  3. #3

    Re: Bassoon part help

    Thanks Gary and Jon.

    I'm mostly concerned with fingering and asking for this kind of agility in the extreme upper register. I don't necessarily want this to be on the difficulty level of the solo at the opening of Le Sacre, which some consider to be tough writing.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  4. #4

    Re: Bassoon part help

    Having known a few bassoonists I am of the opinion that they essentially "invent" their own fingering systems (apart from the basic 6 up and down). Input from an actual player here would be of better value than my opinion, but in many years of writing for ensembles which include bassoon I have never had to worry much about their agility (depending on their level of experience of course). Plus they're usually crazy bast*rds that drink alot, read philosophy and will try just about anything once.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  5. #5

    Re: Bassoon part help

    Quote Originally Posted by reberclark View Post
    Plus they're usually crazy bast*rds that drink alot, read philosophy and will try just about anything once.
    Sound like the trombonists of the woodwind section...

  6. #6

    Lightbulb Re: Bassoon part help

    Quote Originally Posted by Skysaw View Post
    Are there any bassoonists here?
    Here's one: I played bassoon throughout high school and college (although I haven't played much in the past decade)

    I'd like anyone's opinion on the general playability of the below passage. How difficult is it? Any troubling fingering? The tempo is Q=110 and the passage would be very exposed. It's in a pretty high register, so I thought I'd go for any expert advice we might have here.
    Thanks in advance for any help!
    Yes, it's a high register, but not the highest. By keeping it below high C, a good first-chair high school bassoonist should be able to handle it.

    The fingerings in that register are seriously perturbed, but this would be playable with a little practice. I'd hate to see it in a sight-reading challenge It also helps that the passage is broken into bite-size chunks
    Here's an idea of the fingerings the passages would require. To decode this, each O is an open finger hole (for the first 3 fingers of each hand, starting with the left), * is a covered hole, "|" separates left from right, LT = left thumb (LT-1 indicates the first LT key, LT-2,3 means press the second and third LT keys), RT = right thumb, "F" is the RH4 F key (as opposed to the RH4 Ab key):

    A: *** | OO* (LT-2,3)
    G: *** | *OO F
    F#: O** | *OO
    D#: O** | ***
    E: *O* | ***
    G: *** | *OO F
    G#: *** | OOO F
    A#: *** | **O F (LT-2,3)

    Bb: *** | **O F (LT-2,3)
    Ab: *** | OOO F
    G: *** | *OO F
    A: *** | OO* (LT-2,3)
    B: **O | **O (LT-1)
    A: *** | OO* (LT-2,3)
    G#: *** | OOO F
    F#: O** | *OO

    I may have to pull out my bassoon when I get home, and double check those fingerings...

    Grant
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

  7. #7

    Re: Bassoon part help

    Grant,

    Thank you so much for the amazingly detailed help. I have several tried and true orchestration books, but nothing can be as helpful as hearing it from an actual instrumentalist.

    Thanks again.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

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