Little Known Bassoon Facts

     My annual Christmas cantata has ended to thunderous applause and requests for us to return in the spring. Before I, personally perform, I want to clarify some little known facts about the most wonderful instrument in the band.
     Did you know?

English: Range of a bassoon.

1.  The bassoon is indeed the prototype of a bazooka. If you wet tissues, roll them into the size of a golf ball and shove it down the bell joint, when the bassoonist hits a high C, it will easily shoot one thousand feet. I have heard that the designers of the game “Angry Birds” use a bassoon at its highest level.

2.  The bassoon also is the forerunner of an IED. Watch a bassoonist roaming around before a concert and see how many innocent attendees she bops with the horn. Few survive.

Two bassoons made of black maple, with silver-...

3.  The bocal is not a hookah.

4.  The bocal is a good substitute for a water balloon. Innocently look ahead as you blow the condensation out of it at the end of the concert. Your neighbor will be saturated.

5. It does not make the same noise as a dying cow or a moose in heat.

6. When someone points at a bassoonist and says, “das faggott,” they are NOT insulting her. That’s the German name for it and it means those sticks.

7. No ships are ever lost at sea when a bassoon yields its low notes.

8.  The bassoon is not an oboe.

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  1. zedon says:

    Some kits for the car train horns are equipped with an interchanger that enables you to alternate between your car train horns

  2. Linda S. says:

    do you know about the giant spit ball from experience. I am one of those who thought it was an oboe. Thanks for the lesson.

  3. Thanks everyone. I love this instrument and you aficionados would cringe if you heard me play. And I NEVER play the top of the range. It's painful to everyone's ear. And I love the train whistle comment, Andrea. Jan Marie, I knew the bottom piece was the boot joint, but I never heard it called the butt joint. I will never forget–any my sympathies to Mr. Butts.

  4. One of the pieces we played for fun that spring was a medley from the movie Independence Day. I know it's corny, but it was high school and we loved it!

    Anyhow, all these years later, when I watch that movie I still listen for my part when the music plays.

  5. I played the bassoon the last semester of my senior year in high school. I taught myself, no easy feat for a 6 year flute player. I wanted to play in college, but, sadly, I just didn't measure up.

    I loved it SO much! I see so little anywhere about the bassoon I just had to click on this link. Thanks for a great laugh.

    One thing I learned while playing this great instrument…the note played with all the holes open (I think this is F, forgive me it's been many years)…sounds just like a train whistle. One of my trumpeter friends used to "pull the whistle" when I'd play that note during warm ups.

  6. Jan Marie says:

    As a current concert bassoonist and one half of "The Central Indiana Bassoon Team" (the other half is my husband), I have to say that these jokes are typical of the type of "abuse" which we bassoonists are accustomed to receiving. Since I also play the oboe and the clarinet, I have been subjected to a lot of teasing regarding those instruments also, including being a snake charmer and playing a licorice stick. It is, however, the bassoon that is the butt of most of the jokes I have heard. Did you know that the lower joint of the bassoon is the butt, or boot, joint? Since my bassoon professor was named Mr. Butts, he was the target of even more bassoon jokes than I have been.

    Regarding the snippet of music shown above, I would like to add that the bassoon rarely, if ever, (unless it is being asked to double the part of another instrument) plays on the treble clef. The bassoon music is written on either the bass clef or, for the higher notes, the tenor clef.

    Thanks for this fun post about an instrument dear to my heart – it is, after all, responsible for me meeting my husband.

    Jan Marie Newby

  7. I howled at this!! My brother is a musician. He's a master at the piano, organ, violin, and oboe. While he's not a bassoonist, he could most likely play it. But oh how I laughed at this. :o)

    And leave it to Cynthia, another master musician, to catch the note booboo. LOL Thanks, Carol, for a fun post!

  8. As a former bassoonist (that's right!), I could identify with much of this. However, chuckle, the note at the far right is actually an A. A high C would be two lines above the staff. 🙂

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