Toot Your Own Horn With a Bassoon

If youre looking for a unique musical instrument, the bassoon might fit the bill. Considered a double-reed woodwind, this instrument provides a deep tone and is commonly used to emphasize the bass sounds in an orchestra or ensemble. Whether youre just beginning or you wish to add to your skill set by switching from another instrument in this family, playing the bassoon can be a rewarding and an enriching experience.

How does the bassoon work?Like other members of the woodwind family, this instrument is played by forcing air across the reeds and into the main tube of the instrument. As the air passes through the curved tube, air holes are opened and closed with the fingers through the use of keys to vary the tone that is emitted. Due to the size, bassoonists typically sit with this musical instrument and utilize certain straps to hold it in place. There are many techniques that may be used to alter the tone from the traditional dark, reedy sound.

Before you start playing your instrument, you will need to soak the reed to get the proper sound. This can be done by placing the reed into clean water in a watertight container, such as a film container or a prescription bottle, and closing the lid. After proper soaking while you put your musical instrument together, you can expect to get the necessary tone and timbre out of your bassoon

How do you choose a bassoon?

There are a few basic considerations before deciding on the right instrument for you. Youll need to decide between the following:

  • Regular or short-reach model
  • Beginner, intermediate, or professional
  • Wood or plastic
  • Heckel or Buffet

Heckel refers to the German system and is the most widely used style of bassoon. Buffet refers to the French style and is preferred in only a few countries.

What clef does the bassoon play in?

As a versatile instrument, bassoon music can be written in bass clef, tenor clef, or even treble clef. You will likely find that most music arrangements are written for the bassoon in the bass clef.

What material is the bassoon made out of?

This body is typically made out of wood while the keys are made out of metal. In some cases, the instrument may even be made out of plastic. Other materials, such as rubber or ivory, could be used on other parts of this instrument. Because there are so many potential options, its important to check out all of the details before deciding on the right one for you. You can find new, used, and refurbished bassoons on eBay.