17 July 2019

The Bassoon - Top Facts

By Lark Music

That instrument is always lurking at the back of an orchestra in the woodwind section – the bassoon rarely gets a mention. But, the ​Young Classical Artists Trust’s new artist, Theo Plath, is paving the way for the Bassoon and bringing it to the world’s stages as a solo instrument.

Here are some top facts about Theo’s instrument:

  • Bassoons come in two sizes: the bassoon, and the double bassoon or contrabassoon, which sounds an octave lower than the bassoon.
  • Early bassoons were made out of harder woods, but the modern instrument is typically made of maple.
  • Bassoons are made up of several parts including tenor or wing joint, the double or butt joint, the long or bass joint, the bell joint, and the crook or bocal.
  • The “compact” version of the double bassoon stands at 122cm tall with a bore length of 5.5m.
  • The modern contrabassoon is folded several times to make its great length more manageable.
  • A mute is sometimes used in order to help play the instrument softly. The effect is made either by stuffing a piece of cloth into the bell of the instrument.
  • German bassoon gradually became more universal. The global standardisation of the bassoon types in the 21st century has been brought on by the ever-increasing demands of conductors and recording producers for the power of sound, homogeneity and balance.
“The bassoon is my personal voice to express the most genuine emotions. I love the characteristic sound, changing between jolly, mournful, soft and tender.” ​
Theo Plath

Find out more about Theo, here ​theoplath.de 

Information for this post was sourced from the “Bassoon” entry by William Waterhouse and James B. Kopp in The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 2nd ed.  

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