Tenor Bassoon (Tenoroon)

Tenor Bassoon

tenor bassoon in g range

tenor bassoon in F

The Tenor Bassoon or Tenoroon is like the Alto Bassoon in that it is an old instrument that has recently been revived.  The current instruments come in two flavors; F and G.  The F instrument (also known as a Quart-Bassoon) is pitched a fourth higher than the Bassoon, while the G instrument (also known as a Quint-Bassoon) is pitched a fifth above the BassoonContinue reading “Tenor Bassoon (Tenoroon)”

Alto Bassoon (Octave Bassoon)

Alto Bassoon

alto bassoon range

The Alto or Octave Bassoon is an old instrument that has recently been revived along with the Tenor Bassoon.  It is pitched one octave higher than the standard Bassoon.  As the instrument is currently constructed, it has very limited keywork and range.  Thus, technique is severely limited.  The range is only two-and-a-half octaves, an octave less than the Bassoon.  The bottom range is not fully chromatic lacking the bottom B-natural and C-sharp. Continue reading “Alto Bassoon (Octave Bassoon)”

Bassoons – Introduction

Bassoon

 

Introduction – I have always loved the bassoons.  I have a special place for them being a bassoonist myself, so some of my observation in this chapter may be a little keener than the rest.  The bassoons have an old, almost antique sound to them.  My favorite quote about the Bassoon speaks to this very fact:

 “The bassoon is one of my favorite instruments. It has a medieval aroma, like the days when everything used to sound like that. Some people crave baseball…I find this unfathomable, but I can easily understand why a person could get excited about playing the bassoon.”

It of course was not said by a bassoonist, or a traditional classical composer, but the musician Frank Zappa.  I think Frank’s right.

Traditionally, the bassoon family has the smallest family of any woodwind instrument.  I have never understood this.  Going back to the Renaissance we had a family of bassoons (or more properly dulcians) that included six sizes.  Today, at best we see two.  Why did the other sizes die out?  Best answer I can give here is that composers never (and to this point, I literally mean never) wrote for the other sizes of bassoon.  With no literature, no one played them, and when no one played them manufacturers stopped producing them.  Then, about twenty years ago, a modern manufacturer in Germany started producing small bassoons initially for children to play, but gradually professional players are taking these instruments up.  Here for the first time, I will present the bassoon family as it should be.

Currently, five sizes of bassoon are being manufactured.  We all know the regular Bassoon and Contrabassoon, but above this are three smaller members, the Alto Bassoon, and two sizes of Tenor Bassoon.  Theoretically, a smaller size still, a Soprano Bassoon, could be manufactured (it would be the same as the old Soprano or Descant Dulcian).  I also propose here that one additional member of the family be resurrected, the Semi-Contrabassoon pitched between the Bassoon and the Contrabassoon.

Alto Bassoon

Tenor Bassoon

Bassoon

Semi-Contrabassoon

Contrabassoon