We're here to help!
Call for suggestions or assistance
Home > The West Music Blog
The West Music Blog
The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and worldwide customers.

Blogs by Benjamin Coelho

A Guide to the Bassoon
By Benjamin Coelho
12/7/2010 11:27:00 AM  

Benjamin CoelhoBenjamin Coelho, Associate Professor of Bassoon, has been at The University of Iowa since 1998. He has appeared as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, teacher and clinician in several countries including his native Brazil, the United States, Argentina, Bolivia, Portugal, France, Romania, Australia, Canada and Czech Republic. An enthusiastic proponent of new music, Mr. Coelho has commissioned, performed and recorded many works by European, American and Latin American composers. His recordings include: Explorations, New Transcriptions for Bassoon (2007), released by MSR Classics; Pas de Trois (2006) and Bravura?Bassoon (2005) released by Crystal Records; and Bassoon Images from the Americas (2003), released by Albany Records. As a member of the group?Wizards! A Double Reed Consort, Coelho has participated in the recording of two CDs released by Crystal and Boston records in 2000 and 2003 respectively. He has performed regularly at the International Double Reed Society and the Brazilian Oboe and Bassoon conferences. He has also worked extensively as a performer in his native country, Brazil, including principal positions in symphony orchestras in Rio de Janeiro, Campinas, and Belo Horizonte. Currently, he performs as principal bassoon with the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Iowa Woodwind Quintet. Coelho has also served on faculty during the summers at Indiana University, International Music Festivals in Banff, Ameropa Chamber Music Festival in Prague, and most recently at the International Music Festival at Campos do? Jordão in Brazil. Prior to his position at The University of Iowa, Mr. Coelho was the Vice-Dean and Bassoon Professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. For more information visit, www.benjamincoelho.com

Instrument Categories
Buying any musical instrument can be challenging. Perhaps buying a bassoon might be a bit more so due to the high cost and the many different options to consider. To put your mind at ease one must buy the instrument from a reputable store or dealer. At West Music you can be assured that their highly trained sales representatives can help you find a suitable instrument for you.
There are many things to consider when looking to buy a new bassoon. Are you looking for a student or a professional model instrument? Is it going to be used only by you or are you buying it for a school? Do you have access to a good repair shop? What is your budget? Bassoons today are made of either wood (maple) or hard rubber (plastic). Bassoons are expensive instruments, that can cost anywhere from $3,000-$30,000. Professional models are usually hand made and student models are industrially made.

Wooden instruments have a warmer and more flexible tone. However, they need more care and maintenance. They also need periodic adjustments, since the instruments are made of maple, a softer wood, thus more susceptible to weather changes. Wooden bassoons are generally more expensive. If you are buying the bassoon for a school, I suggest the hard rubber bassoons because they are more durable and are a lot easier to maintain. When choosing a hard rubber instrument it is best that the bore (the inside) be hand finished. Molded hard rubber bassoons usually have more unevenness of intonation and sound.

Instrument Materials
Bassoons are usually made of some kind of maple wood (Mountain, Black, and Sugar maples to name a few). Student model instruments are also made of hard rubber or other synthetic materials like polypropylene. The keys on the good quality student and professional models are made out of nickel silver. This material is more durable and holds its adjustments even in the hands of young students. The nickel silver can be either silver or nickel plated. The plating of the keys does not influence the quality of the instrument. Silver plating, however, lasts longer than nickel plated keys.

Parts of the Instrument
The bassoon is divided into five parts: the Bell, Long Joint (or bass joint), Boot, Wing Joint (or tenor joint), and the Bocal. Usually new instruments come with two bocals in different lengths, number 1 and 2. This is to help with the overall pitch of the instrument. The #1 bocal is shorter and therefore it plays sharper than #2.

  Bassoon Bell
Long Joint
Bassoon Long Joint Bassoon Wing Joint Wing Joint

Bassoon Bocal


  Bassoon Boot Boot Joint  

Other Important Features
There could be anywhere from 18 (student model) to 25 (professional) keys on the bassoon. Historically there were several different sized bassoons, as in the saxophone family. Today however, only two members of the bassoon family are commonly used; the tenor bassoon and the contrabassoon, which plays one octave lower than the bassoon. For the younger and smaller player, manufactures developed the so-called “short reach” bassoons. These instruments have a plateau key (see photo) on the third finger in the left hand, instead of a finger hole with a ring. The plateau key makes the distance smaller between the second and third fingers on the left hand.

Bassoon Short Reach Key Short Reach Key Bassoon RingKey Ring Key

Currently rated 0 by 0 people

Tags: bassoon, bassoon guide
Categories: Band & Orchestra
Bookmark and Share

The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and wordwide customers.

Include comments
Mariachi (11)
Live Sound, Recording & Software (4)
Music Advocacy (50)
Music Education (90)
piano (2)
Band & Orchestra (73)
Classroom Furniture & Equipment (13)
Company Culture (70)
Conservatory (313)
Contests (11)
Pianos, Digital Pianos & Keyboards (20)
Drums & Percussion (24)
Extraordinary Associate of the Month (39)
Guitars & Folk (33)
Kids & Movement (24)
Live Sound & DJ (8)
Music Therapy (55)
Music, Books & Resources (62)
Orff (15)
Press Releases (13)
Recorders (16)
Recording & Software (8)
West Music Cedar Falls (60)
West Music Coralville (133)
West Music Decorah (2)
West Music Marion (96)
West Music Piano Gallery (46)
West Music Quad Cities (75)
West Music Dubuque (1)
Recent Posts
Steinway Extravaganza 2016 Featuring Anderson and Roe
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
West Music Cedar Rapids To Host Grand Re-Opening Ceremony
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Extraordinary Associates of the Month August 2016: Piano Delivery Team
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Coralville September 2016 Musician of the Month: Aubryn Kaine
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Coralville September 2016 Teacher Feature: Miriam Garrett
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Coralville September 2016 Teacher Feature: Mitsuko Yofune
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Decorah September 2016 Teacher Feature: Mark Armstrong
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Extraordinary Associate of the Month July 2016: Ryan Seaba
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Cedar Rapids Gazette Celebrates 75 Years of West Music!
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Cedar Rapids August 2016 Musician of the Month: Octavia Barbulescu
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Recent Comments
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Ryan West wrote: Hey all-
We are working on the comments and mak... [More]
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Kerry Cornelius wrote: Twitter: @songsforsuccess
Instagram: songsfors... [More]
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Darcy Perez wrote: West is Best! If I win, I'll get more sound shape... [More]
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Mike LimBybliw wrote: I Mike LimBybliw, of sound mind and body, plan to ... [More]
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Sara DePaoli wrote: This is such a fun idea! I'm in!

Here are ... [More]
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Carly Litvik wrote: I am planning on entering the #WestistheBest conte... [More]
"It's Time For Discriminate Listening!" Lynn Kleiner Talks Recorder Quality (1)
Michael Bresler wrote: Absolutely! After 40 years of experience, I hearti... [More]
Coralville November Musician of the Month: Grace Huber (1)
Morgan wrote: atta kid Grace... [More]
Coralville September 2013 Musician of the Month: Nathan Stone (1)
Valerie McNally wrote: Congratulations, Nathan! You work hard and it is ... [More]
Urbandale Piano Gallery August 2013 Musician of the Month: Jonathan Ruth (1)
Joe wrote: Nice job Jon James!... [More]
Abbigayle M. Hicks (1)
Amanda Hazelett (8)
Amy Huston (1)
Ann Eisen, Sneaky Snake Publications, LLC (1)
Anne Carley (1)
Artie Almeida (1)
Author: West Music Conservatory (1)
Benjamin Coelho (1)
Cathi Dorr (1)
Cindy Weber (1)
Dan Ehl (The Kalona News) (1)
Dan Jacobi (8)
Deanna Swoboda (1)
Debbie Yarrow (1)
Denise Gagne (1)
Don Muro (1)
Doug Ducey (8)
Doug Goodkin (1)
Dr. Donna Emmanuel (1)
Emilia, MT-BC (4)
Erin, MT-BC (3)
Gavin Wright (2)
Griff Gall and Paul Weller (1)
Janet Stephens (1)
Jeff Taylor (1)
Jennifer Winegarden (8)
Jerry Zinn (1)
Jim Solomon (1)
Joanie Mercy (2)
John Feldman (2)
John Waltz (2)
Jom Van Gelder (1)
Jon Baumgartner (1)
Jordan Wagner (24)
Judy Pine (6)
Kalani Das (1)
Katey, MT-BC (5)
Kathy Bohstedt (2)
Kelly Klemz (1)
Kelly McNichols (1)
Kirk Davis (1)
Kyle Ware (6)
Kyle, MA, MT-BC (2)
Laura Fehr (1)
Lea Ann Huegel (8)
Lindsey - MA, MT-BC, NMT (6)
Lisa Bost-Sandberg (1)
Lisa Sullivan (1)
Lorna, MT-BC (2)
Lucy , MT-BC (1)
Lucy Schipper (2)
Mark Nicolay (1)
Maureen Butler (1)
Melissa Blum (5)
Melissa Raap (5)
Morgan, MT-BC (1)
Nick Janssen (9)
Paige Schneweis (9)
Patrick Downing (1)
Peter Hart (5)
Rachel Federman Morales & Joel Shwartz (1)
Rachel, MT-BC (1)
Randy Hargis (2)
Robbin L Marcus (1)
Roger Sams (1)
Rosemary, MT-BC (4)
Ruben Newell (2)
Ryan West (1)
Sam Marchuk - West Music Education Consultant (2)
Sandy Lantz & Gretchen Wahlberg (1)
Sanna Longden (1)
Sara Roth (1)
Sara Volz (1)
Scott Sandberg (2)
Shannon Price (2)
Sharon Burch (1)
Sol Weber (1)
Staff Music Therapist (3)
Stephanie, MT-BC (1)
Teresa Heitman (3)
Tim Wiegand (1)
Valerie Johnson (8)
Valerie Johnson and Rod Pierson (1)
West Music (12)
West Music Cedar Falls (14)
West Music Company (257)
West Music Conservatory (183)
West Music Coralville (26)
West Music Mariachi (2)
West Music Marion (13)
West Music Ottumwa (2)
West Music Piano Gallery (9)
West Music Quad Cities (13)
 October (3)
 September (4)
 August (5)
 July (8)
 June (9)
 May (8)
 April (8)
 March (10)
 February (15)
 January (10)
 December (10)
 November (8)
 October (8)
 September (11)
 August (14)
 July (15)
 June (19)
 May (18)
 April (16)
 March (11)
 February (15)
 January (7)
Blog Roll
Rhythm For Good

McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams
Buy BoardAdopt a ClassroomReverbClass WalletEbay
NAMM Believe in MusicNational Association for Music EducationNAMM Top DealersMusic Inc Mag Retail Excellence AwardHoopla Now Four Time WinnerIowa's Creative Cooridor
Current DMA Code: '511'