The Bassoon
My favourite musical instrument!

What is it?

The Bassoon is one of the classical woodwind instruments. It is the deepest sounding of the woodwinds and is played by blowing a double bladed reed fitted to a curved crook. Technically speaking it is an acoustic resonator a little longer than 2.4m tapered from approximately 3mm diameter at the entrance to the crook to a diameter of approximately 40mm at the bell.

The name "bassoon" was first used in the 17th century. Over the years the instrument has been acoustically refined and two different "systems" exist today: The French System (main contributors being Buffet, Jancourt and Triebert) and the German System (main contributors Heckel and Almenrader). Although the German System is more widely played both continue to attract great artists.

The Bassoon has a range of more than 3½ octaves and adds colour and variety to music. Apart from being one of the instruments of the classical symphony orchestra it is also widely used in popular music and in film scores. It has been referred to as the Clown of the Orchestra. ;-)

The sound of the Bassoon

The following short extracts provide a good illustration of the sound of the Bassoon. The audio is presented as MPEG Layer 3 audio at 56 kbps, which gives reasonably good quality stereo. It is not quite CD quality, but is a good compromise offering a manageable file size for those with dial-up modem links.

More bassoon related information

This is a list of some additional sources of Bassoon information on the Web.

Copyright © 1996 -1998 David Bartlett
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