Considering playing the bassoon? The bassoon is a unique, interesting, and fun instrument to play and has important characteristics and roles in music. Watch the video below or keep reading to learn the reasons why you should play bassoon!
1. Range (01:01)
The bassoon has a particularly wide range, wider than many wind instruments, which means it is quite flexible and able to play in a variety of situations. It can match with the tuba in its low range, and it can also play in tandem with high woodwinds like flutes and clarinets in its upper range. Generally, the bassoon is able to play louder in the low register and softer in the higher register, opposite to the dynamic tendencies of many other woodwind instruments.
2. Characteristics (01:46)
While the bassoon can play in a variety of musical situations, it is particularly known for being a quirky, goofy, or mischievous instrument. Simply listen to songs like “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or “In the Hall of the Mountain King” to get an idea of what the bassoon is generally known for. If you listen closely to the background music of many movie soundtracks, you will hear a bassoon stand out when a character is up to no good!
3. Solos (02:25)
When the bassoon is given a solo in any given piece, it is usually a very special moment to hear this low woodwind voice rise above the ensemble. Take for example Igor Stravinsky’s “Berceuse” from Firebird Suite, where the bassoon is emulating a lullaby being sung. There are a lot of different types of bassoon solos: fast, slow, happy, sad, and more. Solos are an opportunity for the player to stand out and for the audience to listen to an instrument they don’t often hear!
4. Role in Music (03:18)
Because of its low range and sound qualities, the bassoon is a great team player in any ensemble. It is capable of playing very soft to support other instruments’ solos, which helps the melody stand out even more. Because of this ability, it is sometimes thought that the bassoon is less important. Wrong! Bassoon is like baking powder in a cake: you may not notice it when it’s there, but you definitely notice when it’s not!
5. Uniqueness (03:58)
The bassoon is an incredibly unique instrument, not only in how it sounds, but in how to play it. There are certain techniques that only bassoonists use to play music, it is one of the only double reed instruments (along with the oboe!), and it is also one of the only low woodwind instruments. Bassoonists are often in a unique position because there are not many of us! There are usually only ever 1 or 2 other bassoonists in any given ensemble, and sometimes we are the only one. This type of uniqueness requires a bit of an independent mindset to play bassoon successfully, as there are not many of us playing the same part!
Ready to Start Playing Bassoon? (04:15)
Did these reasons convince you to want to start playing bassoon? If so, great! However, there are a couple things you need to keep in mind before you invest your time into it. It is not possible to only learn how to play bassoon through band rehearsals alone, it requires practice, patience, and commitment outside of rehearsal. That means you will need to spend a fair amount of time learning it on your own at home. You won’t sound good at first, in fact it may take months or even years before you develop a really good tone and technique, so patience is key. If these things didn’t phase you, then what are you waiting for? Let’s get started! Subscribe to the email list below to access the resources you need to get started playing the bassoon!